Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas means cookies!

While these aren't necessary holiday cookie recipes, Christmas always puts me in the mood for baking and I thought I'd share two recipes with you: My creation of Alex in Wonderland cookies, as well as Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup cookies. The Alex in Wonderland cookies are a little different in their ingredients than most cookies and have a very rich texture to them, and the different types of chips can be easily substituted with whatever you desire!

1 1/2 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/2 Cup Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1-14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 Cup Softened Butter
1 Cup Nestle Chocolate Chunks
1 Cup Nestle Butterscotch Chips
1 Cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes

1. Mix Graham Cracker Crumbs, Flour, and Baking Powder in bowl.
2. In Separate bowl, mix condensed milk and softened butter.
3. Combine two bowls and mix together.
4. Add remaining ingredients and mix with wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.

Spoon onto cookie sheet in about a 1 tablespoon portion. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Depending on size of cookies, they may require a longer baking time. I tend to make cookies a little larger than most recipes call for, usually requiring a baking time of about 12 minutes. You just want to make sure they're just starting to get golden on the top.

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup sugar
1/2 Stick (or 1/2 Cup) Butter Flavor CRISCO stick (or all vegetable-shortening)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup finely chopped peanuts (in separate bowl for rolling)
1 bag miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped.

(Optional Drizzle: 1 cup peanut butter chips)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F, place sheets of foil or wax paper on countertop for cooling cookies.
2. For cookies, combine chocolate chips and chocolate squares in microwave safe container. Microwave at 50% (medium) for 2 minutes and stir until smooth. Full power (Most microwaves typical setting) can be used by microwaving chips 1 minute at a time and stirring in between. Cool slightly.
2. Combine sugar and shortening in large bowl. beat at medium speed of electric mixer until blended and crumbly. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add salt and vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add chocolate mixture slowly. Mix until well blended. Stir in flour and baking soda until well blended.
3. Shape doug into 1 1/4 inch balls and roll in peanut mixture. I really just rolled the top half of the balls and then placed that half facing up, 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
4. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes or until set. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Press peanut butter cup into center of each cookie immediately when removed from the oven, and remove cookies to foil/wax paper to cool.

5. For the optional drizzle, place peanut butter cheaps in heavy resealable sandwich bag. Seal and microwave at 50% (medium) power for 1 minute, then knead bag. Repeat until smooth, or melth by placing bag in hot water. Cut tiny top off corner of bag and squeeze out drizzle across cookies.

(I didn't do step 5, as I did not have any HEAVY bags and the seams kept popping when I tried to drizzle the peanut butter on the cookies!)


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Straight from the Store

I think I'm going to add on a little "Straight from the Store" segment with recommendations of delicious STORE BOUGHT things that require no cooking at all!!!

We'll start with Edy's Peppermint Ice Cream. I almost always forget about this outside of the holiday season, but saw it on a little trip to the grocery with my mom and had to pick it up. If you're a fan of Peppermint, it is truly the best ice cream ever! REALLY light and fluffy, you almost feel like you're eating a creamy, minty flavored, cotton candy!

Another little something we picked up was this $5.99 bottle of The Little Penguin Chardonnay. I was just looking for a cheap white to try out, and my mom actually spotted this. Given my complete obsession with Penguins I had to try it. It wasn't the BEST Chardonnay I've ever had, but it was still pretty good, and definitely worth the 6 dollars. (By the way- a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking expensive wines are better, and that's not always the case!!! Mirassou is one of my favorite whites and not very expensive at all!)