Christmas Cookies 2012

Whew, what a busy day!  I started out with a workout at the gym – warmed up on the treadmill for 20 minutes, followed by a Muscle Definition group class.

My breakfast consisted of one of my favorites, a yogurt bowl.  Plain greek yogurt on the bottom, topped with a crumbled whole wheat cinnamon chip muffin that I had left from a week ago, plus a scoop of peanut butter, Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter, and a sprinkle of chia seeds.  Whoa, this was incredible!

Shortly after breakfast, my parents arrived and the holiday baking began!  The first two types of cookies we tackled are recipes my mom and grandma used to bake together.  Molasses cookies and spritz cookies.

The molasses cookies are soft in the middle with a slightly crispy crust and an added crunch from the sugar rolled on the outside.  The dough includes molasses, cinnamon, and ginger which all give it that deep, warm flavor.

My mom did a fabulous job with the cookie press and made several different shapes – wreaths, angels, Christmas trees, and pinwheels (pictured above).  I have to say these spritz cookies might win for the best tasting raw dough!  I’m sure it has nothing to do with the amount of butter… 😉

The next few treats we chose this year were chocolate pretzel rings, Reese’s cookie cups, and chocolate mint chip pudding cookies.

Chocolate Pretzel Rings

The ones on the lefthand side are made with candy cane hug Hershey kisses and the ones on the right with mint truffle Hershey kisses.  I love how festive these are!  And super easy too.

Chocolate Pretzel Rings

Ingredients:

Pretzel rings

Hershey kisses (any flavor)

M&Ms

 

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

2,  Place pretzel rings on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

3.  Add unwrapped kisses in the center of each pretzel and bake for 3-4 minutes.

4.  Immediately after taking out of the oven, add an M&M to each center.

5.  Cool completely before removing them from the pan.

These next ones have to be my all-time favorite recipe year round – not only are they a perfect peanut butter and chocolate combo but they are so stinkin’ easy to make and sure to be a crowd pleaser every time.  Can’t beat it!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies 

Ingredients:

Chocolate chip cookie dough

Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups (frozen & unwrapped)

 

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  In a mini muffin tin with liners, add about a tablespoon of any type of cookie dough you choose.  (I like to use the ready-to-make Nestle’s chocolate chip cookie dough.  This time I used the kind to make mini chocolate chip cookies and put a tiny square in each tin – worked great!)

3.  Bake for about 8-9 minutes until the edges just start to turn golden.  (The rest may seem under-done but trust me, it’s okay.)

4.  Immediately after taking out of the oven, insert a frozen mini Reese’s in the center.  (I’ve found it really helps to use frozen Reese’s, otherwise they get too melty.)

5.  Let cool completely before removing from pan.

While I was shopping at Target a couple weeks ago, I had to check out the baking section and somehow a package of dark chocolate and mint chips ended up in my cart.  It was weird. 😉 But not to worry, I found them a home in these chocolate pudding cookies.  The recipe is so versatile as you can play around with different flavors of the pudding mix and baking chips.

Finally, we rounded out the holiday baking with a sixth cookie.

Aren’t these guys cute??  I shaped a rich peanut butter cookie dough into balls, pinched the bottom and flattened them out a bit to get a reindeer shaped head.  Once the dough baked for about 10 minutes, I immediately added the antlers (chocolate covered pretzels), eyes (chocolate chips), and red nose (M&Ms) and let cool.

As my mom and I carried out our holiday baking extravaganza, my dad hung out with us, worked on his computer, sampled some dough, and napped with Mac.  He also helped take some of these pictures!

Today was such a fun day but now I’m pooped!  Time to kick back, relax, and enjoy some cookies.

-Lauren

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