Dec 23, 2010

Gooey Chocolate Chip Filled Cookies, Peanut Butter Kisses, & Iced Sugar Cookies

Christmastime is here. Now for some traditional recipes to fill your cookie tray.  We decided to pick three of our favorite cookie recipes and share them with you.  They are traditional recipes with a bit of a twist (for example, in our Peanut Butter Kisses recipe, there is no shortening...yay!). Luckily, we were able to get together and bake this week, since Caitlin is visiting family in the OC and LA area. Enjoy these recipes - we think they are worthy contenders to add to Santa's plate.

Caitlin & Monica: Who doesn't love traditional holiday cookies?  We chose our top three favorites to share with you and we hope you enjoy them.  The chocolate chip cookies are so decadent and would be fantastic served warmed with a scoop of ice cream.  The peanut butter kisses taste like a Reese's peanut butter cup in cookie form (what's better than that?!).  And, if you are looking to bake with family, specifically with the little ones, the iced sugar cookies are a  perfect option.  The cookie dough rolls out easily, allowing you to use your favorite holiday cookie cutters.  Merry Christmas!

Gooey Chocolate Chip Filled Cookies
Ingredient List
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened (for about 30 minutes)
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large cold eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chocolate chips

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth.  Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix until blended.  The mixture may look slightly curdled. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.  Mix in 2 cups of chocolate chips.

Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball, flatten slightly to make a disc. Place on baking sheet, and continue making approximately 20 discs.  Make sure to place the disks 3 inches apart.  Leaving a 1/4 inch edge, lightly press 1 tbs of remaining chocolate chips onto each disk. Using the remaining cookie dough, make 20 more disks and place one on top of each chocolate chip topped disk. Press the dough disks gently so it covers any of the chocolate chip filling.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are slightly browned approximately 15 minutes.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes,then with a wide spatula, transfer them to a wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an even more decadent treat!

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.  But, they probably won't last that long!

Peanut Butter Kisses
Ingredient List
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 1 large egg
  • 40 chocolate kisses

  • Method
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat peanut butter and butter with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add sugars, and beat until pale and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients, and mix until combined.

    Scoop level tablespoons of dough, and form into balls. Roll each ball in granulated sugar, and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.

    Bake until cookies are puffy, about 12 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and gently place a chocolate kiss in the center of each cookie. Transfer sheets to wire racks, and let cool completely.

    Iced Sugar Cookies
    Ingredient List
    2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup cornstarch
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 cup sugar
    1 large egg
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    Powdered Sugar Frosting (recipe follows) or Decorating Icing
    Sprinkles & Sparkles
    Crushed Peppermint

    In a medium bowl, stir the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt together. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium, beat the butter, and sugar until smooth and slightly lightened in color, about 1 minute.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing it just to incorporate. The dough will be soft and smooth.

    Divide the dough in half and form into 2 smooth disks about 6 inches in diameter. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll without sticking, but not so hard that it is difficult to roll out, about 1 hour in the fridge.

    Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    Lightly flour the rolling surface and rolling pin.  Unwrap one piece of dough and roll it out to about a 12-inch circle that is roughly 3/16 inch thick.  Using a cookie cutter, cut out cookies.  Use a thin metal spatula to transfer cookies to the baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Continue the process for each cookie.  Should make about 24 cookies.

    Bake one sheet at a time until the edges and bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned, about 14 minutes.  Cool the cookies for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

    To decorate use your favorite decorating icing.  Here is one we recommend:
    Powdered Sugar Frosting
    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 tbs heavy whipping cream, plus up to 2 tbs if needed
    In a small bowl, stir the powdered sugar together with enough cream to form a thick, firm frosting.  Spoon the frosting or use a pastry bag to make a design. Add your favorite decorating sprinkles or goodies and have fun!

    You can infuse your powdered sugar frosting with peppermint oil to make it even more festive.

    Caitlin & Monica:  Some of our favorite holiday songs were playing while we baked.
    1)  White Christmas - Otis Redding
    2)  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love
    3)  Baby it's Cold Outside - Willie Nelson & Norah Jones
    4)  O Holy Night - Al Green
    5)  Greensleeves - John Coltrane

    Drink of Choice
    Caitlin & Monica:  Milk and cookies are a classic combination...or possibly a vanilla chai latte.

    A Recipe to Remember?
    Of course, how can you mess with tradition?!


    1. Great ideas for the last-minute baking. The Linzer cookies took us two days between the chilling and cutting and the baking and assembling, and the kids (who snuck dough from the edge of the table, and "why are there suddenly an uneven amount of tops and bottoms?" lol). But soooo worth it! Merry Christmas!

    2. Thanks! Merry Christmas to you!!! We will have to try the Linzer cookies...even after Christmas :)

    3. the cookies look great (and i'm not even a cookie person) -- but i want to know about that awesome light fixture in the first pic! where's it from?

    4. thanks ivy! the light fixture is from pottery barn (a few seasons back). they may still have them, because their holiday stuff doesn't seem to change too much over the years.