Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Cookies

Each Christmas, like most families, we make Christmas Cookies.  Almost every year, these are part of the gifts the kids give to their teachers. This year, I also bought some very cute tins and gave them out as Holiday Gifts to my friends.

I decided to make a few different cookies this year. Of course, I ALWAYS start off with the Hammie's very favorite: No Bakes!




We all absolutely LOVE these and when I make them, you better get 'em while you can because they go FAST! But oh, are they such a stinker to make at times! If the culinary Gods are not aligned, then you might as well kiss your cookies goodbye.
This year, the Gods were definitely laughing at me. I think I attempted at least 3 or 4 batches of these bad boys before I got a good batch. They would come out too thick and be crumbly piles of dust. Or they just plain wouldn't set up and I would have to toss the whole batch. I went through so many sticks of butter, jars of peanut butter and oatmeal that I swear, I might as well of bought stock in them. No bakes are a lot like fudge. You have to make it when the weather is just right, the kitchen temperature is just perfect and you have to be able to have a good attitude or you'll end up flinging solidified oatmeal chunks, in a fit of rage, at the nearest object. Whether it be man, woman or child.
After about 4 batches, I had to give up for the day. Obviously, it wasn't meant to be.

But, the Spirit of Christmas stayed with me and the next day I tried again. Perfect-O! After that, I had no problem whipping out batch after batch of these yummy chocolate peanut butter creations of baking delight.

I also decided to try a new recipe for cookies this year. I made White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies.



These are not an overly sweet cookie. The sweetest part is going to be the White Chocolate in them. But they are so delish when dipped in ice cold milk. I ended up making two batches of these. The adults seemed to like these much more than the kids did, so they made it past Christmas before being completely wiped out. They are a good cookie, but I'm still debating on whether or not they'll become a Christmas staple in our house.

Every year, I also make a version of Christmas Crunch.





Now, I've heard this called a couple of differnt things: White Trash Chex Mix, Chex Mix M&M's.... I've also seen different ingredients used in it: Peanuts, coconuts, Honey Nut Cherrios.....

To each their own! That's what's so great about cooking. Everyone has their own style and flavor they can throw into it to make it work for them!

In mine (which of course, I got from my Mom), I use Corn, Wheat, and Rice Chex Mix, regular Cheerios, plain Holiday M&M's, and pretzels (the twisty, knot kind). I then melt down a whole package of Almond Brick(which I added red and green sprinkles once melted). Dump it into dry mix, combine and then spread out on wax paper to let cool and harden. Break off into chunks and store in air tight containers (Holiday Tins are AWESOME for this!).

An old school favorite of mine are Holiday Wreaths. It's just one of those cookies that I can remember my mom making and what can I say? They bring out the kid in me.


They're made a lot like Rice Krispy Treats. Melt down marshmallows, add green food coloring, dump in corn flakes. Then on wax paper, drop in rounded spoonfuls and working quickly and with buttered fingers shape into wreathes. Add Red Hots for the berries and Pull-n-Peels for the bow. This is a great cookie to have the kids help with. They love putting the berries and bows on. At least Cassie did. ;)


This next cookie has MANY names. Crescent Cookie, Mexican Wedding Cookie, Italian Wedding Cookie....My Mom has always called them Christmas Crescent Cookies and so shall I.


But this year (and don't yell at me mom) I actually used a *slightly* different recipe. For some reason, being in the south with the higher humidity it took a lot to get these stinkers to come out right. And I mean, honestly. They are an EASY cookie. My recipe came from my Gourmet Club I'm in. Back in November, the theme was Mexican. I was assigned Mexican Wedding Cookies and Mexican Hot Chocolate. I noticed how similar these cookies were to my mom's. There were slightly less ingredients too. So because of the easy nature and less amount of ingredients to these cookies, I decided to make 'em this year. I think they turned out FAB! But they definitely were not my Mom's cookies. Similar. But just not the same. Next year, I will be making Mom's recipe. It just isn't Christmas without it.

Finally, the last cookie I made are the ever classic Ginger Bread Men Cookies.


I decided to make these just a few days before Christmas. Because, honestly? What will Santa eat if there are no Gingerbread Cookies??
This year, I had a few extra helpers. Besides Jason and Jack, I also had my friend Erin's girls, Carly and Maddie.

Here's Carly, Jack and Maddie hard at work:




Jason with one of his creations:


And Maddie with one of hers:


Here's one of Carly's. All I can say is....Yup. It definitely is a Carly Creation. LOL




All in all it was a GREAT Christmas Cookie season. My waistline my not of forgiven me yet but oh! How my taste buds loved it!

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