I love to bake. If I haven’t said that on this blog yet I’ll say it again: I love to bake. I grew up looking forward to the holiday season as a chance to make cakes, cookies, and candy for friends and family. I loved sharing the kitchen with my mom helping her prep all the dessert for family get-togethers and baking them in her antique oven.
So last year I was super excited to have my own kitchen and beautiful blue kitchen-aid mixer to bake my own holiday goodies with .But as I mentioned last week (see Tis the Season) I had very few events/people to bake for. This year I feel like I am making up for that. The cooking baking started extra early for our post-Christmas parade event (see Post-Parade Cookies and Cocoa).
I bought dollar store tins and filled them up with cookies for friends and family. I have also brought cookies to our small group, to Luke’s work, and for a cookie competition at Luke’s work. To add to the list I have supplied several christmas parties and get togethers with an assortment of baked treats, and bagged up goodies for our neighbors, mailperson, and waste disposal workers.
Let me share with you my top Christmas cookies from the baking list this year.
Easy Favorites: The Drop Cookies
1. Christmas themed funfetti cheesecake cookies: I first made these cookies for Luke’s work to for the 4th of July and they were a big hit. (see 4th of July Funfetti cookies). These colorful, soft, and chewy cookies taste like birthday cake batter meets cheesecake with a cookie twist.
They are easy to make using a holiday themed cake mix, white chocolate chips, cheesecake pudding mix and decorations like sprinkles and/or food dye. For Christmas I split the batter into two:half dyed red and the other green. If you want to make them extra festive you can add some praline sprinkles on top before they bake.
2. Baker’s Chocolate Sugar Cookies: I have been making these basic chocolate cookies since I found the recipe in college. They are simple to make, not too sweet, and are perfect for those chocolate lovers in the group. To me they are like a good thick brownie, meets a sugar cookie. They require some extra fridge time to get a good consistency but using baker’s chocolate, butter (not margarine), and sugar as your base they make a perfect twist on a sugar cookie.
3. M and M pudding cookies: This is my Christmas version of the basic chocolate chip cookie. They are not the fanciest goodies I’ve made but I’ve probably eaten the most of this kind so far . This is because they have perfect soft centers, those red and green M and M’s you grew up eating, and a little extra salt (that’s what makes them so addicting.) Plus I add in vanilla pudding mix. It is a wonderful “secret” weapon for any cookie recipe making my cookies so wonderful chewy and soft in the center .
1. Eggnog Chai Cookies: I got this recipe from my mom from I believe Betty Crocker. My husband is a huge eggnog fan and my newest sister-in-law is a lover of chai so I thought I’d give these a try. Eggnog Chai cookies require a little more TLC but the batter is easy using a base sugar cookie mix/recipe. The recipe included vanilla pudding mix, eggnog, and half the contents of a chai tea bag (yup you put the spices/leaves directly into the batter!)
The cookies are flattened with cinnamon-sugar coated glass before baking. (If you leave the cookies like this they would be a great holiday twist on a snickerdoodle.) I did change the icing recipe slightly using a cream cheese based (which makes them easier to stack if they stay cold). Although I’m not a huge eggnog fan these cookies tasted like a creamy mild spice cake with just enough Christmas flavor.
2. White Chocolate Peppermint Sugar Cookies: So I actually don’t prefer using a box mix for making cake, cookies etc, the only reason I do around the holidays is that it tends to save on time. This cookie was a completely new experiment, not from a book, not from pintrest, nowhere. I made them from scratch not really sure how they would turn out. Using my base recipe for the baker’s chocolate sugar cookies I melted 4 oz. of baker’s white chocolate with butter and white sugar. I then added the dry ingredients and Andes peppermint crunch pieces.
White chocolate can be extremely finicky so I had to be cautious in melting the chocolate and not over cooking the cookies. But they are worth it. These cookies have a perfect creamy texture, with the right hint of peppermint. So I have submitted them to Luke’s work cookie competition and we shall see what feedback I’ll have for another year.
What are your favorite holiday sweets and treats?