Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year! The lights, the spirit, the snow, and the food! I don’t know about you guys, but I got bit by the baking bug this year and there was no stopping me! We moved into a new house this year and I got the idea in my head to make cookies for all our new neighbors…you know, so they all know how domestic I am! Ha! 😉 So, I went to Pinterest, obviously. I typed in Christmas cookies and began narrowing down what type of cookies I wanted to attempt this year! I wanted to make sure I had a variety. Nothing too complex or messy (ie. frosting). I found one new recipe, one recipe I had pinned a long time ago, and one that I had pinned and made before. I’m happy to report, that as usual, Pinterest delivered. All the cookies were amazing!
These cookies turned out perfect. If you do make these cookies though, get ready for an all day event. The dough alone needs to chill for at least 3 hours. These cookies are a bit of a labor of love. Though, being a stay at home mom in Minnesota in the winter, lets just say, I had the time.
The original recipe suggests using instant coffee for a more mocha taste, but I didn’t have any on hand. Leaving it out didn’t seem to change the cookies in any way. I also used white chocolate chips instead of straight up white chocolate. I’m not sure if that changed the appearance in any way, but I think next time I would buy higher quality white chocolate. Overall, a success, and my husbands favorite out of the bunch.
These ones were my favorite! Bite sized, buttery, and mixed with subtle almond flavor = perfection. These guys also take a little bit of time, but that was mostly due to a fit of perfectionism that came over me when cutting them into cubes. There are multiple suggestions on the best way to cut these bites up. I opted for the pizza cutter method. It worked…pretty good. I think I rolled my dough a little thin and I ended up shaping a lot of them by hand to get more of a “cube” look (read: completely unnecessary, self-inflicted step). I do love the way they turned out though, so maybe it was all worth it! Let me know if you find a better way to cut these cute little bites up!
The only thing I changed in this recipe was the type of sprinkles I used. The recipe calls for nonpareil sprinkles. I had to google what that even meant. As far as I can tell, it’s just the name for describing a genre of sprinkles (ie. crystal and cylinder). The “Christmasy” sprinkles I had didn’t look quite like the pictures in the original recipe, but I figured they fell into the same genre, so I’d be safe. Also, don’t wait until they turn golden brown, because they won’t, and by then you’ll have shortbread bricks, not bites. It definitely took some tweaking between batches, but they all tasted great!
These were the cookies that I had made before. They are surprisingly easy and relatively quick, especially compared to the other two. One of my favorite things about these cookies is how the caramel center stays soft and chewy. I also like the balance of all the flavors, the salty/sweet combo is always a hit with me.
I changed this recipe on accident by forgetting to add the buttermilk (oops!). Luckily, it didn’t seem to affect the cookies very much. They were probably a tad more delicate to handle then they would have been, but once I added the caramel, that pretty much solved the problem. I also skipped the chocolate drizzle on the top. To be honest, these were the last cookies I was making and my baking itch had been pretty thoroughly scratched. It would have been a nice touch, but more decorative than anything.
This year I tried a new gingersnap recipe and fell in love with it. Actually, to be honest, I ate it up so fast I had to make another batch. This recipe takes some love but it’s so tasty it’s definitely worth it. I can take no credit for this recipe it is 100% Smitten Kitchen and it is 100% delicious. They are perfect with coffee in the morning or milk at night. I love ginger flavor and how it just seems to taste like the holiday season, wrapped up in one little cookie.
Peanut Butter Star Cookies
The final type of cookie I made this year is a classic in our home. These cookies are so nostalgic for me! My mom would bake literally dozens of these every Christmas (they are my Dad’s favorite)!
Now, maybe I’m just partial to my Mom’s cooking, but I swear, this really is the best peanut butter star recipe out there! Not to sound ungrateful, but whenever I go to holiday parties, and people have these cookies, they do not compare. Here’s why I think that is. First, in my Mom’s recipe, the dough balls are rolled in sugar. This is a must. The second reason I believe this recipe is superior is, that the chocolate in the center is not a Hershey kiss! Instead, it is a chocolate star! The chocolate star route is better because you get a better chocolate to peanut butter ratio. Also, the point at the top of the kiss doesn’t poke the roof of you mouth! All around, it’s a win. So, here it is, the best peanut butter star recipe.
½ cup butter softened
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 ¾ cup flour
1tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375. Cream together butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Should take several minutes in an electric mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla to creamed butter and sugar mixture. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt). With the mixer on low, gradually add in the flower mixture until combined. Place about a cup of sugar into a wide mouthed shallow bowl. Roll cookie dough into balls about an inch in diameter. Roll balls into sugar and place on baking sheet. Bake for 8 min and then place chocolate star in the center. You will have to work quickly. Then bake 2-5 minutes more until browned and finished ( will depend on the oven I usually cook mine for 3 minutes more). Place on a cooling rack until cooled and enjoy!
I hope you get to try some of our favorite cookie recipes this holiday season! Have a Merry Christmas and God Bless!!