Wednesday, December 19, 2007

CookiesCookiesCookies

Being a stickler for tradition, I can only make the classic Peanut Butter Blossoms at Christmas although there's nothing really inherently Christmasy about them. It's chocolate and peanut butter, you know? Alas, it's a Christmas Cookie in our family so when the month of December rolls around, it's one of the first things I look forward to. The light peanut butter cookie, the melty chocolate Kiss... Heaven.

I got kind of ambitious with the many things on my list of Christmas Foods this year so I started early. The first week I made four batches of cookies alone. (This week I'm on the more intense cakes and candies but I'll get to that later.) I made two batches of the blossoms then wanted something that would travel well and wasn't chocolate. I settled on Coconut Macaroons which turned out really good but, as my mom says, what with Eagle Brand isn't good?

Last, I knew I was going to make cut-out sugar cookies later but still craved a sugary cookie without all the work. I found a Soft Sugar Cookie on All Recipes that took a few tries with the shaping but finally came out quite nice. Simple but with a good taste. My Christmas color theme this year is red and light blue (like the former Houston Oilers! Holla!) so I rolled one set of the sugar cookies in blue and sprinkled a little more in the center just for pop.


PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOMS

Cream together:

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light)

Mix in:

1 egg slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 level tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Stir in:

1 1/4 cups of flour (watch for consistency; should look shiny but hold together. Add less if needed)

Roll into balls, coat w/sugar, bake 375 degrees for 10 min. Remove from oven, press chocolate kisses into each center spreading ball so edges crack. Bake additional 1-2 minutes until chocolate melts.




COCONUT MACAROONS
Source: Ina Garten

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or two teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.




SOFT SUGAR COOKIES IV
From AllRecipes.com, Submitted by Laura Stearns


2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the creamed mixture until dough comes together. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in sugar. Place them on an unprepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Press gently with bottom of a glass to make into evenly thick discs.

Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottom is light brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

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