10 Holiday Cookies

IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!!! Okay, so it’s not quite Christmas… but it’s the Christmas Season. Capital ‘S.’ Oh, how I love it. I love the colors, I love the snow, I love the time with friends and family, I love the warmth, I love the food… and cookies.

 

Yes, my friends, it is officially Cookie Season. Capital ‘S.’

 

In honor of said season, I present to you a list of cookies that give this time of year such wonderful magic.

 

  1. Pretzel Hugs: These might not technically be cookies… but what is a Christmas cookie plate without these morsels of deliciousness? They’re stupid easy to make and only 3 ingredients. I totally recommend them.
  2. Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies : in keeping with the Hersey’s theme, here is another classic! I suggest trying the caramel or candy cane ‘kisses,’ because they’re delicious, but nothing beats the old-skool milk chocolate.
  3. Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies: We love the biscotti. We love the scone. Now it’s time to love the cookie! Add a little modern twist to your holiday by incorporating these in the festivities!
  4. Holiday Confetti Cake Batter Cookies: You could probably make these for any random day in the year. Just tailor them for the season with different colored sprinkles. I think it’s a fantastic and so simple idea! Work smarter, not harder 😉
  5. Frosted Peppermint Brownie Cookies: Brownies + Peppermint + Cookies?? Ah, yes please. Need I say more?
  6. Peppermint Bark: And while we are on the topic of peppermint, why not throw some of these bad boys into the mix?? You are seriously just eating chocolate. Who can say no to that??
  7. Christmas Tree Meringue Cookies: Confession time: I haven’t actually made these. They just looked super cool!! Meringue cookies are mouthwatering already… but ones shaped liked trees? How perfect!
  8. Spritz Cookies: What’s Christmas without The Spritz?
  9. Thin Mint Truffles: So much work but so much deliciousness. Girl Scout Cookies are an American staple. Truffles are just freakin’ amazing. So much work, but so good.
  10. Russian Tea Cakes: My absolute, all time, unquestionable favorite cookies. Call them Mexican Wedding Cakes, Snowball Cookies, or Russian Tea Cakes (as I call them). They melt in your mouth. I have so many memories that accompany these cookies.

 

There you go, friends!

 

My family (read: me) is planning on giving out plates of holiday cookies as gifts and these are the ones we are planning. In the spirit of the sharing season, I’ve decided that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to help other readers/bloggers who are cookie-gifters, too!

 

Happy baking!

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Salted Pumpkin Seeds

It’s still October… and that means I’m still obsessed with pumpkins! I had saved the seeds from our carving pumpkins to roast them.

People seem to be hesitant to roast their owns seeds. Oh, but if only they knew how stupid easy it is… All you need: pumpkin seeds, water, salt, and olive oil. Boom.

Right off the bat, you need to separate the seeds from the pulp—this may take quite a while, but it is completely worth it. You don’t want pieces of the pumpkin meat cooking with your seeds. Take your time.

just gorgeous!
just gorgeous!

Rinse those bad boys off. Then, in a medium size pot, fire up some water, salt, and the seeds. We want them to heat up to a boil and them simmer for 10 minutes. Easy, right?

I had a picture, but it sucked. So, no picture. But boiling seeds really isn’t rocket surgery.

Drain out the water. DO NOT RINSE! Otherwise you’re washing all that delicious salt off. Sadness.

before beautification
before beautification

Dump your olive oil onto the baking sheet. Plop your seeds on the pan. Swirl around to coat the seeds with oil. Finally, spread the seeds out into a single layer.

Bake at 400°F for 5-20 minutes—depending on the size of the seeds. You want to see some golden-brownness going on in there. BUT don’t let them get too dark… or you will have burnt them to a crisp. Trust me.

after beautification
after beautification

Remove them from the oven. Immediately sprinkle a just a little more salt on top of the seeds. If I did this over again, I think I would bake them just a little bit longer. That’s just my preference, though.

OMG.
OMG.

Voila! You have yourself a delicious, mildly healthy snack!

BONUS: You can make Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds, too! Instead of salt, use sugar. Then when you’re rolling your beautiful seeds around in the oil, sprinkle cinnamon and let that join the party. Continue Mission from there!


Confession time… mine totally sucked. BUT I know why! I didn’t cook them long enough. The were not crunchy. They were sad. I would have put them in the oven again to cook some more. But when I went to go make my pizza a couple hours later, I ended up with an oven fire…. so… that happened. ANYWAY, I don’t want my failure to cause hesitance in your culinary exploration. The recipe works. I’ve made it before. However, this time, dear readers, I sucked monkey butt.

Not Your Mama’s Cookies

These are my absolute favorite cookies—and I’m not a huge fan of cookies! LoverMan and I made pumpkin cookies a few entries back. While those were okay… these are far and away SO much better.

I must admit though, that I’ve also heard these cookies called “monster cookies”. However, I’ve never had a cookie quite like this. Bonus: they’re super easy to make. You don’t need 7 different bowls! Just one. SO, I finally weaseled the recipe and decided the love needed to be share. Without further adieu, I present to you…

Not Your Mama’s Cookies

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Here are all your supplies! 🙂

First, cream butter & the sugars. Add vanilla & eggs. Mix it all up nice and good.

Look at that beautiful KitchenAid mixer!!
Look at that beautiful KitchenAid mixer!!

Add flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt. Combine that with the mixture.

We don't want normal rolled oats.... we want this fine, ground powder.
We don’t want normal rolled oats…. we want this fine, ground powder.

Now, for the important parts: finely grind the oats. A traditional food processor, magic bullet, ninja shredder, coffee grinder… pick your poison. I used our ninja…the appliance…not LoverMan 😉

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Add those bad boys into the cookie gloop. Time for the fun!! Fold in the chocolate chips and mini M&Ms. This part is up to you: how much of each you desire. I prefer a little more of our multi-colored friends than boring (albeit delicious) chocolate chips.

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Scoop of the dough—I use a tablespoon to measure. Drop them on our phenomenal parchment paper. Put them in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. (I cooked them for 12.)

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Perfect. Let them set on the paper for a few minutes. Then shovel them onto a cookie rack to finish cooling.

Even when they’re cooled, the middle with be moist and delicious. I will warn you now that if you decide to share, you’ll need to make a double or triple batch so there’s enough to go around!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

It is officially fall!! I love fall. I love the colors. I love the weather. Sweatshirts and shorts? Yes, please! The apples and the pumpkins and the corn… so wonderful. I could go on for days. I mean, come on! There is certain magic in the air.

Most of all, I love pumpkins. Pumpkin flavored everything most things. I’ll admit that it may be getting a little out of hand. Pumpkin + baking = heaven. And I love cooking real pumpkins and making my own puree than buying cans of it. (I included the How-To of making your own pumpkin puree at the end of this post.)

Today, I want to share with you a delicious recipe that I found: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Divine. The LoverMan and I made it together on our Stay@home date night.

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Gather up your supplies: flour, quick oats, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, baking soda, vanilla extract, butter, 1 egg, chocolate chips.

You will also need two bowls: medium and large, baking sheets, parchment paper, & cooling racks. And the obvious stirring utensils. Maybe some moral support; I had LoverMan.

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Both bowls, all mixed up and ready to combine!

In the medium bowl, mix together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

In the large bowl, whisk together butter and the two sugars until creamy. Add the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin.

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Look at that deliciousness!!

Slowly add the flour/oats mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Stir until the well combined. Add in the chocolate chips—we used milk and white chocolate chips. I totally recommend that decision.

Now, set aside the bowl for 5-15 minutes—we want the oats to soak up some of the liquids so the batter isn’t too runny.

Perfect cookies for the perfect fall
Perfect cookies for the perfect fall

The rest is history: drop spoonfuls onto your lined baking sheet. Bake at 350° F for 13-15 minutes. When they are good to go, place on the cooling rack to, well, cool.

LoverMan deems the mission a success!
LoverMan deems the mission a success!

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BONUS!!

Here is how I make my own pumpkin puree:

Step 1: cut your pumpkins in half—this is hard(ish) to do. They are pretty tough… but a big knife, some elbow grease, and determination will get it done. Also, set your oven to 300° F.

Step 2: gut it. Take out the seeds and strings as best you can. If you want, this is a perfect time to save those seeds to roast later! Yumm.

Step 3: in a 9×13 inch pan, place the pumpkins rind up (meat down). Pour ½ inch of water into the pan (keeps the pumpkin from drying out and burning while they cook).

Step 4: throw them bad boys in the oven for 1 hour (or until tender). I gauge their doneness by a fork—does it easily slide through the rind into the meat? Yep! Okay, they are good to go!

Step 5: take those beauties out and let them cool. Then take a spoon and scoop the meat out of the rind. If you still have some strings, they won’t mess up the puree. We just don’t want too many of them.

Step 6: put the meat into a food processer. Add some water to make the blending easier (not too much!). Have at it… you will end up with, well, a puree!

Perfection.
Perfection.

Quick Q&A:

Q: But why does my pumpkin puree taste different from canned pumpkin?

A: Simple, surprising answer: your canned pumpkin is not just pumpkin!! Here is more information. Companies commonly use pumpkin and squash in their products. Because certain types of squash fall into the same genus (think: taxonomy) as pumpkins, it’s technically not a lie. The added squash enhance the color and sweetness of the pumpkin.

Another note: pumpkin pie filling is pre-seasoned. Manufacturers do the dirty work for you by adding the cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. into the pumpkin.

Lastly, enjoy the fall and all of its pumpkin-y glory!