Friday, December 9, 2011

Cuckoo for Christmas Cookies!

Sure, I love the lights, the tree, the presents, the carols and the joy of spending time with friends and family at Christmas time. But what really spins my spurs is CHRISTMAS COOKIES!

My friend L'il Pinky makes the best Christmas cookies over at her Rumblin' Tummy Bakery, and I asked her pretty please with sugar on top if she would share some of her favorite recipes with us so I could post them here for you! So here they are, just in time for baking for the holidays!

REMEMBER: It's important to ALWAYS have a grownup around when you're cooking and working in the kitchen, especially with the hot oven. So partner up with a parent and get your cookie on!

Chocolate Mint Crinkles
* 3/4 cup finely chopped layered chocolate-mint candies (about 4 ounces or 24 candies)
* 1/3 cup shortening
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* Layered chocolate-mint candies, chopped

- In a heavy small saucepan, heat and stir the chocolate candies until melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat and let cool about 15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.
- Add sugar, baking powder, salt; beat until combined. Beat in cooled chocolate, eggs, vanilla. Beat or stir in flour.
- Cover and chill 3 hours or until dough is easy to handle.
- Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
- Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are set (tops should crackle).
- Sprinkle candy pieces on top of each cookie; don't press candies into cookies.
- Bake 1 minute more.
- Cool on wire racks.

Makes about 36 cookies.

Peanut Butter and Banana Drops
* 1 16 1/2 ounce package refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough
* 1 cup dried banana chips, coarsely crushed
* 1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
* 1/4 cup turbinado sugar, demerara sugar, or colored coarse sugar

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine cookie dough, banana chips, and chocolate pieces in a large resealable bag and seal.
- Knead mixture with hands until dough is well mixed. Remove dough from bag.
- Put sugar in a small bowl.
- Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll balls in sugar to coat.
- Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten balls slightly.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
- Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.

Makes about 40 cookies.

Super Chewy Sugar Cookies
* 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 cup softened butter
* 1 1/2 cups white sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 to 4 tablespoons buttermilk
* Sprinkles or colored sugar, for decorating

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
- Gradually blend in dry ingredients.
- Add enough buttermilk to moisten dough and make it soft, not wet.
- Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
- With a brush or fingers, moisten top of each cookie with remaining buttermilk and slightly flatten top of each cookie.
- Sprinkle with raw sugar or colored sprinkles.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
- Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to cool on a rack.

Ask a parent what his or her favorite holiday cookies are and bake them! Find a recipe (or use one from above) and team up to make cookie history. When you're done, share them with your friends and family, and be sure to seal some up fresh and save them for Santa!

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