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FOUR COOKIE EXCHANGE COOKIES TO BAKE AND TAKE

When presented with Christmas Cookie Exchange parties I have three go to Christmas recipes, and the fourth is a new addition from a friend. I have tried several other cookies for doubling, tripling or even quadrupling (depending on how many cookies the host has requested) and have had some truly terrible results, so I plan to stick with these four no-fail recipes from here on out, not just for cookie exchanges, but any time I am baking cookies under pressure. 

RECIPE ONE – MAGIC MELTING BARS

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2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 stick butter, melted

1 can condensed milk

1 bag chocolate chips

Topping of either coconut or heath pieces or chopped nuts

Place butter in a microwave/oven safe dish (9×13 or equivalent size) and microwave butter for 35 seconds. Add crumbs, stir to moisten crumbs and press to bottom of pan to make the bottom layer.

Pour can of Condensed milk over the crumbs, pour chocolate chips on top and press lightly into the milk. Top with topping of choice

Bake in preheated oven at 350 for ~25 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool completely before cutting.

RECIPE TWO  – COCONUT CHEWY

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If you keep a stocked pantry then you will have all the ingredients, except possibly the coconut, on hand already.

1 Cup Butter, Softened

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Sugar

2 Eggs

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

3 Cups Flaked Coconut

2 1/4 Cups Flour

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

Sift together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, use mixer to combine butter, sugars, egg and vanilla. Slowly add the sifted flour mixture  to the batter. Once thoroughly mixed, add the flaked coconut. Drop by small rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. I do mean smaller side of teaspoon size as these spread out. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approx. 8 minutes or until lightly browned on edges only. Let cool completely before attempting to remove from cookie sheet or they will mush and tear.

RECIPE THREE – PEANUT BUTTER KISSES

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This recipe is courtesy of my good friend Lisa Queeney, who is a superb cook and baker. A rare combo as most people I know are either a good cook or a good baker, yet she is both. I could easily see her leaving the corporate world (and Northern Virginia) behind to become a successful bed and breakfast owner. If she does I hope I am offered the opportunity to be one of her first guests.

I changed the name from blossoms to kisses because thought might be slightly more christmasy sounding, especially if served near the mistletoe! Oh my goodness, how cute would that be, if you had a mistletoe painted plate to serve these on?

Peanut Butter Kisses

1 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
Cream above ingredients together

2 unbeaten eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 Tablespoons milk
Add above ingredients to the sugar mixture and mix well

3 ½ cup flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Mix above ingredients together and slowly add to the mixture, combining well.  The dough will be stiff.

96 Hershey kisses, unwrapped

To make exactly 96 cookies (4 sheets of 24 cookies, each sheet 6 x 4 rows), divide the dough into quarters (24 cookies per quarter).  Form each quarter into a round disk, and divide into 8 equal slices.  Each slice can be broken apart into 3 pieces and rolled into a ball.  Place 24 cookies on a greased cookie pan.  Bake at 375F for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and press a Hershey kiss in the center of each cookie.  Bake for 2-5 more minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and place on paper towels to cool the rest of the way.

RECIPE FOUR – GINGERSNAPS

This recipe comes from our Grandma Nette’s 1942 Better Homes & Gardens cookbook:

3/4 cup shortening                                                  

1 cup sugar                                                            

1/4 cup light molasses                                         

1 egg                                                                          

2 cups flour                                                               

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp ginger

Cream shortening and sugar; add molasses and egg; beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients; mix well. Roll in small balls; dip into sugar; place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for ~15 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.

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I plan to bake tomorrow so will add pictures of the Magic Melting Bars and Gingersnaps later, but until then MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE, EVE. Hope you have a truly blessed weekend and a splendid Holiday!   ~Kristin

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