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December 20, 2012

Christmas Cookie Thread

Sorry for the lack of bloviation.

Every now and then the Editorial Staff have a massive sense of humor failure, usually generated by reading things that fill us with a most unfeminine urge to put our fist through the drywall. We've tried and failed several times to write about various items in the news, but it's all coming out vaguely rant-ish.

So we thought we might try focusing on happier topics like, "What are your favorite Christmas Cookies?" Or just, "What kinds of cookies are you baking this year?" On good years we like to make 4 or 5 kinds, but working is putting a definite dent in our beautiful and natural urge to bake tiny fat pills. At any rate, here's our list:



Chocolate Rum and Whisky Balls
Lemon Squares
Tiny Ginger Cookies
Gingerbread Men
Swedish Wedding Cookies

Yes, we know: there are no sugar cookies on the list. We usually make them anyway because some random Marine likes them, but they don't make the top 5. Snickerdoodles with cinnamon sugar are pretty good though.

Posted by Cassandra at December 20, 2012 08:43 AM

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Comments

Oooh, the chocolate whisky balls sound wonderful. An aunt usually makes Creme de Cacao balls, and those are frikken deadly. :-)

My wife's forte is Creme de Menthe brownies: a dense brownie made with a full 16oz of Hershey's chocolate syrup, topped with an icing made from nothing but powdered sugar, melted butter, and Creme de Menthe, and that is topped with another layer made of melted chocolate chips and butter.

Bad stuff with bad stuff on it, topped with even more bad stuff. It's great.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 20, 2012 11:16 AM

Snickerdoodles are what we usually make here, because they can be produced start-to-finish in a very short time. The local cookie eating population is very impatient. (Especially the neighbor's two-year-old daughter, who sometimes suckers her mother into bringing her over just so she can ask for cookies to be made.)

Posted by: Grim at December 20, 2012 12:14 PM

Chocolate no bake cookies, or as my son calls them, “Black Cookies.”
Oats, Peanut Butter, Cocoa, Sugar, Butter.

Posted by: Russ at December 20, 2012 12:19 PM

That kind of deception just breaks your heart, doesn't it Grim.

Posted by: Russ at December 20, 2012 12:20 PM

Yeah, it's really so sad. :) She's also really shy about me, but I'm the guy who makes the cookies. So she'll tell her mother she wants to come over to see my wife, and then when she gets here, she'll kind of do this sidelong glance in my direction and say, "Cookies?"

Posted by: Grim at December 20, 2012 12:25 PM

My wife's forte is Creme de Menthe brownies: a dense brownie made with a full 16oz of Hershey's chocolate syrup, topped with an icing made from nothing but powdered sugar, melted butter, and Creme de Menthe, and that is topped with another layer made of melted chocolate chips and butter.

I think I put on 5 pounds just reading that description. They sound heavenly!

She's also really shy about me, but I'm the guy who makes the cookies. So she'll tell her mother she wants to come over to see my wife, and then when she gets here, she'll kind of do this sidelong glance in my direction and say, "Cookies?"

I think little girls are born with that ability. If we ever have a granddaughter, the Unit is toast :p

Russ, I have a recipe for those cookies from years ago when we were stationed in Annapolis. I'll have to dig it out - as I recall, they were wonderful!

Posted by: Cassandra at December 20, 2012 12:59 PM

Wonderful and easy. With easy being the key word.
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/4 lb of butter
pinch of salt
Boil together for 1 minute and pour over
3 cups cooking oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
mix well, then drop on wax paper to set.

Yu-Ain Gonnano, how about sharing the recipe? Your description sounds great.

Posted by: Russ at December 20, 2012 01:33 PM

I think I put on 5 pounds just reading that description.

I think I put on 5 pounds writing it. :-)

Here goes another 5.

1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
4 eggs
1 cup sifted flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 16-oz can chocolate syrup
1 teaspoonful vanilla

Mix above ingredients and pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; cool completely.

Middle layer:
2 cups 10x sugar
2 tablespoons crème de menthe (or to taste: the more you use the looser the icing will be, you may need to add more sugar to thicken. Oh Darn.)
½ cup butter, melted
Mix and spread over brownies; then refrigerate.

Top layer:
1 cup chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter
Melt and then cool slightly (Don't want to melt the icing). Spread on top of middle layer. Refrigerate.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 20, 2012 01:45 PM

And here are the Creme de Cacao Balls:

2 1/2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (approx. 1 large package of Oreos)

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1/3 cup Creme de Cacao liqueur

2 tbsp dark corn syrup

Additional sifted powdered sugar

Combine crushed cookies, walnuts, and 1 cup powdered sugar. Add creme de cacao and syrup. Mix well; shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar. Chill in airtight container for several hours or overnight before serving. Store leftover cookies in airtight container.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 20, 2012 01:48 PM

Wow, I just popped a button reading that.

Posted by: Russ at December 20, 2012 01:48 PM

I'm not actually making any cookies this year. I made a box mix of "Hot Chocolate Cupcakes" (with a marshmallow "frosting") for the Legion Christmas party this past Monday. For coworkers' and neighbors' holiday goodies, I made peanut clusters (I roasted the peanuts, melted the Ghirardelli chocolate [something from my grandmother's freezer that we inherited with her passing], combined them, then spooned them out into clusters), chewy pecan pralines and those wonderful cinnamon-candied almonds like we always used to get in Germany, which were surprisingly easy to make (and only requires 4 ingredients). Christmas will be a smaller affair this year, so no need to lots of goodies none of us really need to be eating...; with Grandma's passing at the end of April, the extended family won't all be gathering at her house like we had for years and years and years...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at December 20, 2012 03:52 PM

Oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips and raisins. The recipe on the old Quaker Oats cylinders makes a fine base. To that, add a couple of cups of 90% chocolate bars (Lindt® makes a fine bar) that have been chunked up. Or three cups. Four won't hurt. Do the same with the raisins. Maybe stop after 3.5 (precisely) cups.

The problem is that, once a certain threshold has been reached, each added ingredient demands that the result be sampled to ensure I got it right. Several times, for statistical significance. Our daughter has grown and left the coop; when she was little, I had to split the dough-sampling chore with her.

My 96 cookie recipe batches generally produced around 30 cookies.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 20, 2012 05:23 PM

I made some cookies today. They called for brown sugar, which I didn't have, so I caramelized some regular sugar over the stovetop.

This worked great, up until I added it to the cookie mixture and it cooked the blended eggs before I could get it stirred up. The cookies are a little strange in terms of texture for this reason. But they do have a kind of nifty caramel flavor. So far everyone seems to like them.

Posted by: Grim at December 20, 2012 05:55 PM

I just found out that you can caramelize sweetened condensed milk by boiling it in an unopened can for 3 hours. It is tasty.

Posted by: Russ at December 20, 2012 06:08 PM

I'm so sorry about your Grandma, MLB. Y'all need to find someone to continue the tradition!

The Unit loves oatmeal cookies, Eric. I used to make them all the time when the boys were small but I don't think I've made them in ages. Now that the kids are gone we don't keep many sweets around the house.

I'll have to try all your recipes - my youngest son and his wife love to cook, so maybe we'll have CookieFest 2012!

Grim - I put brown sugar in my coffee so we run out a lot. You can make a good substitute by adding a large tablespoon of what my boys used to call "Mole Asses" :p

But I'll bet the carmelized sugar is good, too!

Posted by: Cassandra at December 20, 2012 06:11 PM

Understand: the oatmeal cookie recipe really is just a carrier for the chocolate and the raisins, and to add some flavor variety.

As to coffee, we occasionally put a dash of cinnamon in the grounds before brewing--and I mean a dash. Cinnamon is strongly flavored, and it's easy to get too much. I learned this trick in a mom and pop Italian restaurant my wife and I frequent.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 20, 2012 06:44 PM

[M]aybe we'll have CookieFest 2012

Do you take orders? What are your shipping rates?

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 20, 2012 06:45 PM

I made a batch of tiny carrot-cupcakes, just bite-size. It's the first time I've tried them this way, but I like the result: a very high crust-to-inside ratio, and the chewy crust is the best part. With cream-cheese icing, of course.

I've also been baking up batches of gingerbread men from this excellent triple-ginger recipe:

3/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt; stir into the molasses mixture using a wooden spoon. Mix in the fresh and crystallized gingers. Cover, and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Shape dough into 1 inch balls, and place about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

These are good for Christmas baskets, but I also like to keep a batch on hand in the freezer to crumble up on top of a baked ham.

Posted by: Texan99 at December 21, 2012 10:35 AM

She's also really shy about me, but I'm the guy who makes the cookies.

Sheepish requests from two year old little girls can weaken even the strongest spine.

You should ask her if she would like to help you.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 21, 2012 10:55 AM

Maybe I will, now.

Posted by: Grim at December 21, 2012 11:02 AM

I made a batch of tiny carrot-cupcakes, just bite-size.

Yikes - I forgot Tiny Pecan Pies! I make those most years. Same idea but I never thought of doing it with carrot cake :)

I like very spicy cookies. The tiny ginger cookies are like that - full of clove and ginger and mole assess.

When I break out my recipes, I'll put a few up.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 21, 2012 11:15 AM

"When I break out my recipes,...."

Why not just have them post bail?

Posted by: Snarkammando at December 21, 2012 12:39 PM

"When I break out my recipes,...."
Why not just have them post bail?

City Girl has no baling wire?

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 21, 2012 01:00 PM

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all,
and a huge thank you hug Cassandra for returning this year.

Posted by: tomg51 at December 21, 2012 02:40 PM

Mexican Wedding Cookies (like Swedish??)
Thumbelinas (with icing instead of jelly)
Buckeyes
Pepper cookies
Macaroons drizzled with dark chocolate
Cappuccino Flats (a coffee-flavored cookie with one end dipped in chocolate)

Posted by: Susanamantha at December 21, 2012 05:43 PM

Triple chocolate peppermint bark is my current rage, thanks to certain Persyns online who shall remain nameless.

We do truffles flavored with sin.

Peanut Butter Blossoms
Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peppernuts
Gingerbread
Pumpkin cookies

Posted by: Cricket at December 21, 2012 06:44 PM

Grim,
If you need brown sugar, and have molasses and white sugar, you just add a tablespoon of molasses to a cup of white sugar. Stir it well.
I honestly have no idea if it will caramelize, but it makes a very acceptable substitute for brown sugar.

I am madly cutting, pasting and copying as I read this.

Grim,
You are ever the gentleman, even to a tiny lady. Ask her if she would like to help you. The Princess gently rules the Ninja contingent with kindness and looking at them with large, helpless eyes. They cave every time.

Posted by: Cricket, Again, As Usual at December 21, 2012 06:50 PM

Thanks, Cass. I'm sure we'll figure out some new traditions. It was easier this year with fewer places to be Christmas Eve and not having to pack up a bunch of food for the 15-20 minute drive to my Grandma's on Christmas Day. It also made it easier for my sister and future BiL who hit the road to Corpus Christi once we finished exchanging gift Christmas Eve, to go see his mother. They were able to get on the road a bit earlier this year without my parents needing to take Grandma to the 4pm Mass (went to Midnight Mass instead).

I have a very good friend at work who I couldn't give the normal goodies to: she's following the paleo diet (which she says has done a great deal to help alleviate symptoms of some chronic issues she has to deal with), which means no processed foods - no sugar/chocolate - and no legumes - no peanuts. She can, however, eat "real" nuts and honey. Found a recipe for honey roasted almonds and delivered them Christmas Eve. Just needed raw almonds, honey and a selection of spices to use in place of the "Chinese 5 Spice" the recipe called for...

I'll be making some more banana nut bread from a yummy recipe Fbl gave me a while back here in a bit. Need to use up more of that buttermilk (since I don't use it in anything but the banana nut bread...).

Did make my traditional Chocolate Dream Whip Pie for Christmas (Dream Whip mix, instant chocolate pudding mix, a graham cracker crust, milk and Cool Whip for garnish) again, but in the future, I'll skip the Dream Whip mix and just use heavy whipping cream in place of the milk. I did experiment with using half milk/half whipping cream, and that was almost perfect, so I'll try again with all cream...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at December 29, 2012 10:39 PM

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