Friday, December 23, 2011

A Tempting Trio: Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies, Egg Nog Cookies and Peanut Butter Blossoms

A plate of extreme yumminess.
I cannot believe it will be Christmas in FOUR DAYS. The holidays have totally crept up on me and I’m definitely NOT prepared. I will be that girl on Christmas Eve, scrambling to get the rest of her shopping done. Why I torture myself yearly with this ritual is beyond me.

I may be behind on my shopping, but I never get behind on my baking. I was especially excited for Christmas this year because I knew I wanted to do something special. I remember when I was little our neighbors would always bring over baskets filled with homemade goodies. I looked forward to this every year. (I told you, I’ve been a sugar addict ALL my life.)  Popcorn, cakes, cookies and fudge. You name it, it was on the plate. In honor of that fond memory I wanted to start my own tradition by doing it for my neighbors and loved ones.

Only one slight problem. My brain was overwhelmed with ideas and recipes I thought I’d never be able to narrow it down. I’d pick up all the stuff for one recipe and be in the grocery store the next day picking up more crap.  Before I knew it, I had 10 things I wanted to bust out in one baking day. Insane, I know.

I was however, able to cut myself off to a reasonable number and ended up with a baking roster anyone would be proud of.

Here was my line up…

·        Mint Chocolate Chip cookies  (click here for recipe, I have made these before!)

·        Peanut Butter Blossoms

·        Egg Nog cookies

·        Chocolate Chip M&M cookies

·        White Chocolate Pretzel Treats

·        Apple Toffee Blondies (you will have to wait for my next post for this recipe!)

I'm a baking MACHINE.

My goal for this mission was to create easy, yummy treats that would remind people of the holidays. Nothing too fancy, just some lovin’ from my oven. I spent about 9 hours total in the kitchen this past Saturday and I had an absolute ball! I was a hot mess by the time it was over. Covered in flour, chocolate and food coloring! But the end result was so worth it. I came out with a wonderful plate of love that I was so eager to deliver to my friends. And I’m sure I can safely say they were happy when I showed up on their doorsteps J

Today I’m sharing the recipes for 3 of the cookies I made. Super simple and delicious! My two favorite things about a cookie recipe!

Stacy's yummy pretzel treats.

You will be able to find the pretzel recipe on Stacy's blog, Delightful Dish. She has been making these for years and I owe her a million times over for letting me borrow the idea. The mint cookie is feature on a previous post, and the Apple Toffee Blondie? Well, you will just have to wait for that one. And trust me, it’s worth it. These things are little bars of HEAVEN.

Click on "more" to get my recipes! :)

Chocolate Chip M & M Cookies

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
6 oz. milk chocolate chips
8 oz. M & M candies  (I used the holiday red and green ones!)
Red dusting sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix sugars, butter and shortening until light and fluffy.  Next add the eggs and vanilla until combined.  Slowly add the flour, baking soda and salt.  Be careful not to overmix the dough.  Fold the chocolate chips and M&M candies into the batter by hand until well combined.

Using a small ice cream or cookie scoop, drop the cookies onto ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through.  Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely on the cookie sheet.  Sprinkle red dusting sugar over cookies to give them a holiday feel. Makes about 3 ½ dozen cookies.

Egg Nog Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large egg yolks

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together sugar and butter until it resembles a grainy paste. Add eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks to sugar mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat a low speed until blended. Do not over mix.

Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheet 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with nutmeg and bake for 23-25 minutes. Transfer from pans immediately to cool.

Peanut Butter Blossoms
(recipe from Hershey’s)

48 chocolate Hershey kisses
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I used JIF)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

  1. Cream together shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well. Oven should be preheated to 375 degrees.
  2. Sire together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until stiff dough forms.
  3. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Top each cookie immediately with an unwrapped chocolate piece, pressing down firmly so that cookie cracks around edge. Remove from cookie sheets to cool.

After baking and cooling the cookies and chocolate completely, I took red Royal icing and decorated the base of each cookie (where the kiss meets the cookie) with a red ring all the way around the cookie. I added little sprinkles all along the red circle so they would look like festive little Christmas wreaths. This is totally optional, I just wanted to give the cookie a little something extra.

the finished product. my cookie gifts.

I hope this post will inspire you to get into the kitchen and do some baking for you and your loved ones! Merry Christmas! J
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