Thursday, December 01, 2011

Christmas Cookie Exchange

  Every year around Christmas time Mom and her four sister's get together for a brunch and cookie exchange....This year Grandmother has a quilt in so all the daughters and granddaughters went to my grandparent's house on Tuesday to have a brunch, help on the quilt and exchange cookies. I always look forward to this!  Spending  the day with family is always nice and it is also such a great way to get a good variety of cookies without baking them all yourself. =) 
  We usually bake two dozen for each family unless they only want one dozen. This year  with the five sisters and two married granddaughters we each needed to bake 12 dozen cookies. I most always like to try new recipes for the exchange {probably not the smartest thing I know, especially if they don't turn out very well, but so far I've had good luck} I had found two recipes that were similar, but I couldn't decide which one to go with so I ended up making worked out good I thought.
  So for the first kind....are any of you fans of Starbucks Peppermint Mocha? These cookies are inspired by this delightful seasonal drink.....

Peppermint Mocha Blossoms
 yield: Approx. 4 dozen
 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp instant espresso powder*
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
about 1/2 cup sugar to coat cookies
approx. 4 dz candy cane kisses, unwrapped 

Cream together butter, sugar and espresso powder until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add the extracts. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture until the dough comes together. Drop the cookies into a bowl of sugar and coat. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake @ 350* for 9-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then press a kiss into the top of each one. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
* I had a hard time finding this so I just used instant coffee, but ground it very fine, almost a powder 

  The second kind I made are one of my and Daren's favorite cookies, but with a twist......{after Daren had tried one and I asked his opinion, he said they were good but that he prefers the original version=) }

Peppermint Chocolate Crinkles
yield: approx. 4 dozen
 1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 (1 0z.) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together oil, chocolate and sugar, beating well. Add eggs one at a time beating after each addition, then mix in the extracts. sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the first mixture. Chill dough several hours or overnight. Drop into powdered sugar and roll to coat well. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake @ 350* for 10-12 minutes. Do not over bake! 
 Instead of the usual cinnamon heart; press a peppermint gem into the center of each cookie when they come out of the oven. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

  I must say I was ready for a little break from cookies until I got these all baked, on plates and ready to go.....

The cookies all plated and ready to hand out
   May we never forget the true Reason for the Season!

♥ Sheila

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE Starbucks peppermint mocha drink so I really need to give this recipe a try!!