12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 12!: Haystack Cookies

haystacksSo I hope you’ve been paying attention to the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies for the past few weeks- But maybe not too closely!   If you were, you might wonder about those meringue cookies that were going to be Day 12…well, no cream of tartar put the kiebosh on that one for us, and now my next favorite and very weird cookie (if you can even call it that) is the Haystack- Day 12.

My family loves these.  But be warned: they don’t freeze well.  They freeze, but they break apart a bit.  So I left them for the last  cookie, so you can package up all your neighbor gifts and put these in at the last minute…or you can keep them all for yourself, because your family will attack the boxes if you try to get them out the door and not in their bellies!  Your choice.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 12!: Haystack Cookies

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 12!: Haystack Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (not the natural kind)
  • 2 cups chow mein noodles

Instructions

Melt the chips and peanut butter in the microwave in a safe bowl. Stir.

Mix in the chowmein noodles, crushing them up a bit as you mix.

Drop by the spoonful onto waxed paper. Let cool until set. Keep in the refrigerator.

http://hardlyagoddess.com/12-days-of-christmas-cookies-day-12-haystack-cookies/

Seriously?

Seriously.  That was easy, right?

If you’ve enjoyed reading the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies, please share with all your people!

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 11: Spritz Cookies

Spritz Cookies

Welcome back from a great weekend! I didn’t bake once, so today, I am excited and renewed to share this classic cookie with you: the Spritz cookie.

I had always admired the classic Christmas-ness of this little fragile cookie: In a pretty petite package, with just enough sweet and crisp, it is not show-offy or overly done.  It is an understated little cookie that if it was a person, I’d probably like a lot!

Now to make these, you need a cookie press like this:

spritz3

Cookie press from Pampered Chef

If you don’t have one, just bookmark this recipe for later, and ask Santa or the Hanukah-guy to grant your next present request!  I got mine from Pampered Chef years ago, and it is a cinch to use and clean.  It has lots of little patterns to use like a butterfly, pumpkin, or basic shapes, but for today I wanted classic Christmas; a tree…but, I ran out of green sprinkles -so, now my classic tree cookies are more like George Costanza’s Festivus Trees (Seinfeld)!   But to be completely honest here, that is more in line with the way I roll anyway, right my friends?

Okay! Let’s go make ourselves some lovelies:

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 11: Spritz Cookies

Yield: 6 dozen

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 11: Spritz Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks of butter (! Yes, I know)- this is 1 ½ cups, softened
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°.

In a mixing bowl (or stand mixer) mix the softened butter and the sugar until fluffy- scraping the sides when needed. When this is mixed, add the egg and vanilla until just combined. Add in the flour and mix until just combined.

Place in a cookie press and press out your cookies, one inch apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Decorate with sprinkles.

Bake for 10 minutes watching to see the edges brown just slightly.

Cool on rack.

http://hardlyagoddess.com/12-days-of-christmas-cookies-day-11-spritz-cookies/

And I can’t say it enough: Let them do the sprinkles! It was a beautiful thing to watch: Two young girls who don’t know eachother well, found themselves in my kitchen, finding a common interest by doing what they enjoy: they like to bake (and also talk “interior design”!) So I put them to work, doing the whole batch! They got on, like old friends after that.  Leave it to me to create bonding opportunities in child-labor.  Good fun!

The kids also got a kick from my “cookie machine” (the cookie press) and all the possible designs.  I have to say, it is such an easy recipe, but the pressing can be tricky, so make sure you are in a mello mood and have a steady hand.  Just keep the failed pressed dough aside, and reload the press when it empties, repeating until all the dough is gone.  This also proved to be a bonding opp; that is laughing at my mistakes!  Enjoy – the simple ones can be fun too.

For other cookies see the whole 12 Days of Christmas Cookies.

spritz cookies

Nothing bonds, like sprinkles!

 

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 10: Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

Otherwise known as “Peanutbutter Kisses”, to my people, this recipe is straight from the chocolate experts at Hershey’s.   My only real change was to substitute butter for shortnening, because I am healthy like that (LOL).  Like many of the best recipes around, it came from the label on the product; In this case it was the Hershey Kisses bag.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 10: Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen cookies- Hurrah!

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 10: Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. bag of Hershey®Kisses Brand Milk Chocolates
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup smooth peanut butter (not the natural kind)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Additional sugar (for rolling the cookies in)

Instructions

Heat the oven to 375°.

Unwrap the Kisses.

In a stand mixer or hand mixer and large bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add the sugars and mix until blended. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and combine.

In a separate bowl whisk to gether the flour, baking soda and salt. Add this to the mixture until combined.

Shape dough into 1-inch little balls. Roll in sugar and place 1 inch apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Immediately press a chocolate in the middle of each cookie, and remove all to a cooling rack. Cool completely until the chocolate sets firm.

http://hardlyagoddess.com/12-days-of-christmas-cookies-day-10-peanut-butter-blossom-cookies/

Once again, my kids love to help with this one.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Little Hands Moving Fast

It’s a good bribery family learning activity.

Them: (Constant)Can we have a Hershey Kiss? Mom? Mom, can we have a Hershey Kiss?
Me: You can have one Hershey Kiss when you are done rolling.
Them: I am done rolling.
Me: Here’s one.  You can have another when you are done with putting the kisses on top.
Them: I am done putting Kisses on them.  Can I have more than one?
Me: No.  Do your homework quick, and then, Yes.  (It goes on…and on, this one little activity).

See? This is the awesome parenting that makes thoughtful and kind children.  It is called bribery and it works every.single.time. Yup. Heard it here first folks. Please tell all your friends~ the rewards are delicious!

peanut butter blossoms

 

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 9: Surprise! Stuffed Chocolate Chippers

This is your day off {from making cookies from scratch that is}.

Mine too!

Let’s go shopping!

Hoorah! I haven’t done ANY shopping yet!

Ugh.  Seriously. I haven’t.

This is your day off from making from scratch too!

Using just a tube of your favorite pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough, stuffed with yummy candy and then finally baked:

stuffed chocolate chippersYou have now made Day 9 of the “12 Days of Christmas Cookies” with Hardlyagoddess!   If you really need a recipe, here it is:

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 9: Surprise! Stuffed Chocolate Chippers

Yield: 16 cookies

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 9: Surprise! Stuffed Chocolate Chippers

Ingredients

  • One tube of ready-made chocolate chip cookie dough, or make a batch of your favorite recipe.
  • Leftover Halloween candy or any candy cut into pieces. (For a miniature peanut butter cup- cut in half. For a miniature candy bar, cut into 4 pieces).

Instructions

Open the tube. Cut a 1/2 inch of dough off, and press into a flat, round shape in the palm of your hand. With your thumb make a dent in the middle, and place a piece of candy inside. Wrap the dough around a candy completely. It makes a round ball, not a flat one.

Bake at 375* for 8 minutes or until done.

Let cool on the pan for two minutes, than transfer to a cooling rack. Once completely cooled you can freeze for later, or keep at room temperature for one week.

Notes

If you need to make more, use two tubes of dough, or using a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe, the yield is usually for two dozen.

http://hardlyagoddess.com/12-days-of-christmas-cookies-day-9-surprise-stuffed-chocolate-chippers/

You are done.

Now go shopping  (or take a nap-  your choice!)

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 8: Gingerbread Cut-Outs

Some recipes are classics.  This is one, and in a case of a classic cookie, I went to the expert:

Yes, I did.

You either  love her or hate her, but there is no denying the cookie making talent of this lady. Quite realistically, it is probably a recipe from her entourage of chefs and “people” who surround her, and are extremely talented, so to judge the recipe by the maker would be just too unfair.  So I had no problem adapting this recipe from Martha Stewart’s, Cookies (2008).  Note, that my recipe has no ginger for the “gingerbread.” Not a problem, as the allspice substitutes well in its place.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 8: Gingerbread Cut-Outs

Yield: Depending on the size of your cut outs this makes 24-36 cookies or 12 very large gingerbread people!

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 8: Gingerbread Cut-Outs

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup molasses
  • Decorator Icing (see my sugar cookie recipe for this)
  • Decorating sugar for sprinkling, or other candy to decorate

Instructions

Whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and molasses until combined.

Add in the flour mixture until all combined. Place dough on a sheet of waxed paper, and form into a flat round. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for atleast one hour.

After one hour, remove the dough.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a generously floured surface (dough is kind of sticky), roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness.

Cut out your shapes and place 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, watching for the edges to just turn brown.

Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. When cool decorate with icing and other candy decorations.

To store or freeze, wait until the icing has set before stacking to freeze or keep at room temperature for up to one week.

http://hardlyagoddess.com/12-days-of-christmas-cookies-day-8-gingerbread-cut-outs/

Cut-outs are fun: you get to pick the shape, and then decorate with your own creative talents- or enlist the kids to do it for you.  A little continuation of the fun of the cut-out cookies!

If you decide to buy the wonderful cookbook from Martha, by clicking on a link here, I will receive a teenytiny portion of the sale, but your price is never affected. 

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 7: Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

sugar cookies

One of my favorite things during the holidays is watching my kids make their memories of the season:

Picking out the perfect tree, untangling the lights, unwrapping all the fragile decorations from the HUGE box in the attic (a mysterious place on its own), wrapping the little gifts they have gotten for each other and us- trying to keep it very secret, and baking of all the goodies for our friends.  With the cut-outs the kiddos get to make them, shape them, decorate and finally eat them.

Now,  they’re not the prettiest, I will admit. In fact, some are downright ugly! And the process isn’t always a smooth one (spilled eggs, sugar everywhere); But it is the best to see your kids see the process from start to finish and love it!  The kids had so much fun this year now that the boys are old enough to really get their hands messy.

sugar cookies

My basic recipe is from a contributed recipe from Amy Atlas, in the November 2011, People Magazine if you can believe it.   I have used others, but this one seems to work well for making flat, easy to shape cookies.  It makes only 2 dozen, so you can double it if you are looking for more.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 7: Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

Yield: 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp.pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

Using a hand or stand mixer, mix the butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until combined.

Mix in the egg and vanilla until just combined.

Reduce speed to medium-low, and add the flour. Mix until all is combined again.

Scrape all the dough onto a sheet of waxed paper and press into a flat circle. Cover with the paper or some plastic wrap and refrigerate for atleast one hour.

After an hour, remove the dough and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350*. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut-out with shapes of choice!

Re-roll the scraps until all the dough is used.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, watching to make sure that they are just brown on the edges.

Cool on pan for 2 minutes, and remove to rack until cool to tough.

Decorate with your favorite icing. **see notes.

Notes

*If you want to not use a glaze frosting, but just decorating sugars, you need to put them on before baking, or they will slide right off. I press them in a bit with the back of my hand to really make sure!

**Easy & Quick Setting Decorating Glaze: In a large bowl, mix 1 cup confectioner sugar with 1 Tbsp. of milk. Add in 1 Tbsp. of light corn syrup and 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract. Stir until combined. If it is too watery, add more sugar- if too thick, add more corn syrup- not milk. Separate into small bowls, and add food coloring of choice- or keep white and add decorating sugar.

http://hardlyagoddess.com/12-days-of-christmas-cookies-day-7-sugar-cookie-cut-outs/

These will definitely not make it to my Christmas cookie plates or win any Pinterest Beauty Prizes I don’t think!  But the kids had a blast making a mess…and memories, all while devouring their awesome creations. Love it.

sugar cookie cut-outs