Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Cookies, Part 1

On Sunday, I went on an all-day baking binge. It started as just a couple of recipes, and then snowballed to the point where I washed the bowl of my stand mixer about 10 times, went through a few pounds of butter, and had every square inch covered with cookie sheets, cooling racks, or finished cookies. It was a huge mess and frankly, my kitchen hasn't recovered.

First I made Peanut Butter Cookie Cups and Chocolate Caramel Cookie Cups.



PB and Caramel Cups




These are probably the easiest thing in the world to make. You make your favorite cookie dough - sugar, chocolate, peanut butter. Or you can buy it in a tube a la Pillsbury. You break off chunks of the dough and roll into little balls and place in a mini muffin pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. When you remove from the oven place a candy into each - Reeses peanut butter cups, Rolos (upside down), mini Snickers, etc. Let them cool completely. The candy will re-harden eventually. Use a butter knife to loosen the edges and pop them out of the pan.

The Rolo variety started as a different recipe. The recipe called to roll the dough around the Rolo and then bake. I discovered that they are much easier and successful when baked in the muffin tins.

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Rolo Cookie Cups

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
48 Rolos (unwrapped)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat well. In a small bowl combine the flour, salt, soda, and cocoa powder. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the butter/egg mixture. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 48 small balls and place into a mini-muffin pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a Rolo (upside down) into each. Allow to cool completely. Once cooled, use a butter knife to loosen edges and pop out of the tin.

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I also made Angel Crisps. This is a recipe I found in my grandma's recipe box, and I think was fairly popular a few decades ago, because I have seen similar variations on the web. I mixed chocolate chips into mine, but I wouldn't call them chocolate chip cookies. They are more like sugar cookies with chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Angel Crisps


I also made chocolate mice.

Chocolate Mice 01


I've made these every year for the past few years, and people are always impressed and think that they are really super difficult to make. They aren't. Not at all. You take a maraschino cherry with a stem and dip it into chocolate flavored almond bark (or melted chocolate) set it on a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper and affix the Hershey's kiss. While the chocolate is still melted, slide in 2 sliced almonds to make the ears. Once they are fully set, go back and draw on small black eyes using decorator's frosting in a tube or an edible marker.

Chocolate Mice 02


This poor little guy got a drip on his face.

More cookies tomorrow...

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