Million Dollar Cookies…

Chances are, most of you have heard all about these already. The “Million Dollar Peanut Butter Cookies” that won the Pillsbury Bake-Off a couple of years back. It seems crazy to me that a store-bought cookie dough filled with peanut butter could be worth a million smackaroos, but as usual, I’ve been proven wrong. I’d been seeing these cookies pop up all over the food blogging community and every single person that tried them gave the same review: totally worth a million. So naturally, I was intrigued. I decided to try these out on my most willing guinea pigs: my family. The verdict? Yep – totally worth a million bucks. I have to agree. The gooey peanut buttery centers had me at the first bite – I couldn’t stop eating them! They’re so simple and quick to make – all you need is a roll of store-bought peanut butter cookie dough, peanut butter, a little powdered sugar and some cinnamon/sugar. Simple as that! The next time I make these (and believe me, there will be a next time!) I’m definitely doubling the recipe – these disappear mighty quickly!

Carolyn Gurtz’s Pillsbury Bake-Off Million-Dollar Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies
– makes 24 cookies –

1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped (I left these out)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ powdered sugar
1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookies, well chilled.

Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix chopped peanuts, granulated sugar, and cinnamon; set aside.
In another small bowl, stir peanut butter and powdered sugar until completely blended. Shape mixture into 24 (1-inch) balls.
Cut roll of cookie dough into 12 slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise to make 24 pieces; flatten slightly. Shape 1 cookie dough piece around 1 peanut butter ball, covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls.
Roll each covered ball in peanut mixture; gently pat mixture completely onto balls. On ungreased large cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Spray bottom of drinking glass with Crisco original no-stick cooking spray; press into remaining peanut mixture. Flatten each ball to 1/4-inch thickness with bottom of glass. Sprinkle any remaining peanut mixture evenly on tops of cookies; gently press into dough.
Bake 7 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Store tightly covered.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Aaaand, we’re up and running again. Sheesh! What a long couple of days it’s been – our hosting service (WebHost4Life – don’t use them unless you want all KINDS of trouble…along with workers who don’t give a crap about helping you) changed platforms or something and it screwed everything up. Thank goodness for my sweet, selfless hubby, who has spent every bit of his weekend fixing it for me! On top of that, I got beautiful pink tulips delivered to me and a set of Crate & Barrell juice glasses! What a sweetheart! To thank him for such hard work and such wonderful gifts, I made him one of his favorite things on earth – a giant cookie cake. I used to make them for him in high school before our band contests (yes, we were both “band nerds”) and he always loved them! Of course, he loved this one – I made sure to use plenty of frosting and giant sprinkles. Just a small token of my love. ;-)

There’s nothing to making a giant cookie cake…all you need is a round (or in my case, heart shaped) pan, some cookie dough (homemade or store-bought) and a little vanilla frosting. Just press the cookie dough into the pan, bake and decorate. Voila! Cookie cake and happy husband!

I’m really sorry my blog was out of commission for so long…hopefully now that we have a new web hosting service, this problem won’t happen again. I hope you all enjoy a wonderful, romantic evening! The hubby and I are about to enjoy cheese and chocolate fondues with lots of champagne! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

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Happy Things…

I realize that there’s really only so much you can learn about a person through their food blog – what kind of foods they like best, their general age, marital status, kids vs. no kids…basic stuff like that. But is that really enough? I guess it may be for some people, but I want my readers to know me a little better than that, ya know? We’ll have plenty of time along the way for all the details, so for now, let me just share with you a few things that make me happy. Really happy. I realize some of you are just here for the recipes, so by all means, scroll down to the bottom….you won’t hurt my feelings.

The King Arthur Flour website. Not only do I love digging through their recipes (which always turn out great), the site in general is just a fun place to be, in my opinion. Fun things to order, fun things to look at…it’s a happy place.

Pearls. I love pearls – they make me very happy. I wore pearls on my wedding day, I wear them with day-to-day outfits, and I always, always wear them when I’m auditioning (opera stuff).  And for good reason – they never go out of style, they’re ever-so-classy, and they always seem to make me feel happy. Which is why they’re on my happy list. :-)

Izzy. Our sweet, hyper, and always entertaining Cairn Terrier/Schnauzer. Sure, she eats my Girl Scout cookies and occasionally waits until we’re gone then poops upstairs; but by golly, if she isn’t the sweetest, funniest, most lovable dog in the whole wide world. It’s been just about a year since we adopted her, and we both agree that we couldn’t have possibly found a more perfect dog.

Cheese. Any kind. Anywhere. Heck, I love the stuff so much, my (sweet, adorable) hubby put cheese in my stocking this Christmas! Imagine waking up to a big ‘ol hunk of Manchego under the tree! Perfection. Really.

My piano. When I was getting ready to graduate from college (and soon after, get married), my grandparents gave me some money as a gift. I took that money and bought myself a beautiful upright piano (second hand) – it was the very first piece of furniture I ever bought and I love it (even though my piano skills barely go beyond “chopsticks”…).

My Great-Grandmother’s Peach Cobbler. Very few things in life make me as happy. When my sister and I were little, one year for our birthdays (or possibly Christmas…I can’t quite remember), Baba, our Great-Grandmother, made us our very own dish of peach cobbler – an entire 9×9 dish ALL to myself!! I didn’t share with anybody, and it was blissful. I still have the dish she gave me and I use it all the time.

Funny socks. I can’t wear plain ‘ol white socks. I like colorful socks – ones with hearts or cupcakes or Santa Claus. In my opinion, one can never own too many funny socks. My personal favorites are my Nightmare Before Christmas Jack and Sally socks….perfect for Christmas or Halloween!

And finally….Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have made probably, 10 different recipes or more. Not just because I’ve been on a 3 year quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, but because one of my very favorite things on the entire planet is a warm chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk. I ask you, is there anything better??? I’ll take just about any kind – I’m an equal opportunity chocolate chip cookie eater. Maybe even an addict, but hey, I can stop anytime I want, ok?

But here’s something big. I mean really big. Are you ready? I’ve found it. The perfect chocolate chip cookie. Yep. It does exist. In fact, it exists in a little plastic baggie in my kitchen right now. Beckoning me. Calling out to me. Sure, I’ve already had 17 ½, but when you’ve found the perfect chocolate chip cookie, all rules and etiquette go out the window. I bet you’re wondering which recipe it is…well, chances are, you won’t be a bit surprised. Yep, the NYTimes Chocolate Chip Cookies. Last July, the New York Times published this recipe, and since then just about every food blogger on the planet has tried them and declared them to be the best. I’m officially joining the bandwagon. They make me very, very happy.

THE NYTimes Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate chips (I threw in some milk chocolate chips too)
Sea salt

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

*I didn’t make huge cookies – I used a small cookie scoop and got somewhere around 40. I baked them for about 9 minutes and they were perfectly crisp on the edges and gooey and chewy in the center. Perfect, in my opinion.

So, there you have it. A few silly things that make me happy. And one step closer to getting to know a little more about the weird lady who’s blog you read. Thanks for humoring me! And obviously, my husband, Joel makes me extremely happy. The most happy I could ever hope to be. But I figured you all probably knew that, so I didn’t list him. :-) Plus, I was trying to keep the list “non-human”.

Oh and by the way, if you’ll look over to your right (and up a ways), on my sidebar, you’ll notice now you have the option of “Becoming a Fan” of Sing For Your Supper on Facebook. Just a little fun thing those of you Facebookers can do if you want! Happy baking!

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Tuesdays With Dorie…Almost Candy Bars

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Yikes! It’s been WAY too long since my last TWD post…I apologize to the TWD gods! But here I am, back on the wagon, ready to sing Dorie Greenspan’s praises once more! And these cookies are the perfect way to start. Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars (doesn’t that sound amazing?), chosen by Lillian of Confectiona’s Realm. Oh man, let me tell you..these were outstanding! They start with a layer of oatmeal-peanut cookie dough (delish on it’s own!), then you top it off with a chocolate-sweetened condensed milk-peanut layer and crumble a little more of the cookie dough over the top of that. Bake it off and you have sticky, crunchy, chewy cookie/candy bars! YUM!

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Just look at that gooey chocolate center….oh man…. This was such a great recipe to get me back on the TWD wagon- a great treat! I can’t wait to take these babies to work with me sometime! If you’d like the recipe (trust me, you do), head on over to Lillian’s blog and she’ll have it posted for you.

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Adventures in Decorating…

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This weekend, we had a our friends Michael and Andrea over for a little while and Andrea and I decided to get in the kitchen and do some cookie decorating (a first for both of us!). Luckily I had some gingerbread dough already chilled in the fridge, so we set out to decorate gingerbread men – so much fun! I used Katie’s recipe for her Soft and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies – SO good!! I’m only sorry I didn’t double the batch…these were the best tasting gingerbread cookies I’ve ever had! Here’s the recipe:

Soft and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies
-seen on Good Things Catered, adapted from Allrecipes.com

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. molasses (I didn’t have enough molasses, so I used half honey)
1 egg
4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg.
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth.
Cover, and chill for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Let cool for 10 minutes on pan. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
Frost or decorate when cool.

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I’m quite proud of my little gingerbread boys!

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So is Andrea! Hers were super cute – she actually made little outfits for her cookies; including a cute little bikini! I decided to play it safe (and boring) and keep all mine the same (snoooooooooze….).

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I do love the pearl buttons, though – we had a ton of fun with those pearl non-pareils!  And no, these aren’t the most professional-looking gingerbread men, but I thought it was pretty good for our first try!

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All of Andrea’s cute little outfits…

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And Michael destroying it….. ;-)

We had a really fun time, and I can’t wait to learn more about decorating cookies and hopefully get better one of these days! This will probably be my last post before Christmas, so I want to go ahead and wish everybody a happy and wonderful Christmas! Enjoy your time with your family and friends, and don’t forget the reason we celebrate – the birth of our Lord! Merry Christmas!

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Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies…

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I love chocolate and peppermint together! That’s why I’m willing to try any cookie/brownie/ice cream recipe that calls for chocolate and peppermint – you just can’t go wrong with that combination. And yes, I know I’ve been doing a lot of desserts (mainly cookies) lately, but hey, that’s what I DO at Christmastime…I bake. I bake a lot. Those extra 10 holiday pounds aren’t gonna put themselves on, you know?? And I have my Christmas fat-pants just waiting for me in the closet…so bring on the sugar, butter and flour!

I found these cookies on Two Peas in Their Pod (and I must say, theirs look waaaaay better than mine!) and knew I had to try them. That day. I mean, just listen to that title – Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies….ahhh, beautiful. Doesn’t that sound like heaven? Well, it tastes like it, too – and that’s not just me saying that; I took them to work and all the other voice teachers, choir directors and choir students loved them. Really loved them! For me, it’s the crunchy outsides and the soft, chewy insides, followed by the flavor of deep chocolate and the coolness of the peppermint. A delicious cookie! However, I will say that these are the messiest little buggers I’ve ever worked with. Talk about a sticky dough! But worth it in the end.

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These are absolutely beautiful before baking – lovely little balls covered with chunks of candy cane, but after baking, unfortunately, they lose some of their outer beauty. Mine really spread a lot, which I can’t figure out, because I chilled the dough thoroughly; oh well. They still taste good, though, and that’s all that matters in my book! Happy Baking!!

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies
-Two Peas in Their Pod

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
4 ounces 99% unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 candy canes-crushed up

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the oil, chocolate and granulated sugar and blend on medium speed. With the mixer running, add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. There may be some small clumps of sugar in the batter at this point. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed, stopping once to scrape down the sides. Mix until just incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes. The dough will be sticky.
Gather the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Position the racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.
Pour the crushed candy canes onto a plate or into a shallow bowl. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and roll each ball into the candy cane pieces, so that all sides are covered. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes for soft, chewy cookies, or 12 minutes for crisp cookies, rotating the pans halfway through baking. The cookies do set up, so if you want them soft, take them out at 10 minutes. Let cool completely on cooling racks. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.

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Party, Party, Party!

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Last night we had the family over for a big Christmas party. I love having people over during the holidays – I get to show off my Christmas decorations, serve my favorite snack foods, and most importantly, have a good time with the people I love. There were 16 people total, so of course there was lots and lots of food! I made 2 big batches of my toasted oatmeal cookies, a batch of M&M cookies, spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and peppermint bark (to name a few).

Toasted Oatmeal Cookies

Toasted Oatmeal Cookies

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

M&M Cookies

M&M Cookies

My sister brought her famous “soggy sandwiches” (you assemble a bunch of turkey and cheese sandwiches, put them all in a big jelly roll pan,  pour melted butter over the tops, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, and bake for 5 minutes until the cheese melts – sinful!!), my Aunt Josie brought a chocolate roll-up cake, and Nana brought crockpot cocktail weenies. And my sweet Grandaddy brought me a big, beautiful Poinsettia! Some of my favorites from the party include:

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Sausage balls – SO good! It absolutely would not be a party in our family without these babies! Recently, my sister found that adding milk makes them a lot more moist. We love to use maple sausage – it adds such great flavor!

Sausage Balls
3 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 pound maple pork sausage
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
pinch Cayenne Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl (it’s easiest if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer – use the dough hook), roll into 1 inch balls and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the balls are golden brown. Cool completely.

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My mom’s Christmas Wassail – just like the sausage balls, it really wouldn’t be Christmas without this wassail. My mom’s been making it every single Christmas since the  ’80’s and every year we look forward to it! It simmers for 2 hours, so the entire house smells heavenly! Keep the container that your apple cider came in to store any leftover wassail; then just pour yourself individual cups and microwave anytime you want hot wassail!

Christmas Wassail
2 quarts apple cider
1 46-oz. can pineapple juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon allspice
15-20 cloves, stuck into an orange or apple
3-5 cinnamon sticks

Combine all ingredients in a large pot or crockpot on high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.
*You’ll notice all kinds of stuff floating around in my picture – I added some Williams Sonoma mulling spices that I had on hand; it’s not needed, though.

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And finally, my favorite – Granna’s Green Stuff. This is seriously the best stuff ever – fluffy…creamy…….green. Originally, my great-grandmother would always make this every Christmas, now her daughter-in-law, my grandmother (Granna), makes it a lot, as we request it a LOT! It’s GOOD!! This recipe is as close as I can get to my great-grandmother’s recipe – she never would tell anyone what was in it! I’m pretty sure this is it, though…

“Green Stuff” (It’s really called Lime Jello Salad, but we’ve always known it as green stuff)

1 (3 oz.) pkg. lime Jello
1 c. hot water

(Heat up drained pineapple juice for part of liquid.)
Mix. Stir until well dissolved. Set until jelly-like consistency then carefully whip with electric mixer.

1/2 pkg. (4 oz.) cream cheese
1 can (15 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 c. whipping cream

Whip cream until stiff. Add cream cheese. Mix in Jello and blend thoroughly. Fold in pineapple and nuts. Put into a serving bowl and chill for at least 4 hours.

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Just look at that fluffy green goodness!! Anyway, we had an absolutely delightful party last night – thanks to everyone who came and brought delicious food and great company!


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Winning Feels Good…(really good!!)

I’ve been holding onto a little piece of news for a couple of weeks now – about a month ago, I entered a cookie contest for a newspaper in the DFW area. A week went by and I got an email saying my cookies (Toasted Oatmeal with Golden Raisins, Pecans and Coconut) made it onto the Semi-Finals! Woo-Hoo! Honestly, I never expected them to even get that far. The next step was for me to take a plate of my cookies to the newspaper office for more judging. Shortly thereafter, I got another email – onto the Final round! Oh YEAH! This time, professional pastry chefs and bakery owners would make my cookies following the recipe I provided (um, talk about nerve-wracking!). Then, I got a call from super-sweet Stephanie saying I WON! Holy cow, this was a total and utter shock! What an awesome surprise…my humble little oatmeal cookie won a contest; now that will brighten anyone’s day!

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This is an awesome opportunity because my cookies are going to be sold at a bakery in Fort Worth for 2 weeks this month! How cool is that?! They can even be shipped nation-wide; and all the proceeds go to charity – really cool! I got to have my picture in the paper and everything (that’s a big deal for ‘lil ‘ol me!) – the photo shoot was so much fun…the photographer had me make all kinds of fun poses/faces! I’m just glad they chose a semi-normal looking picture for the article!

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Just for fun, here is the article, which includes the recipe (sorry, it’s no longer online!). Thanks again, Stephanie, all the other Fort Worth Star Telegram employees and pastry chefs who chose my cookie and gave me a really fun treat this holiday season!!

Toasted Oatmeal Cookies with Golden Raisins, Coconut and Pecans

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (one stick) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp.
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 – 1 cup (however much you want, really) shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oats, coconut and pecans and spread on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the coconut becomes fragrant, stirring frequently. Let cool. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, cream both sugars and butter until light, fluffy and smooth. Add egg, half and half and vanilla and blend until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture, the toasted oat mixture, then the raisins. Drop dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in rounded spoonfuls (or you can use a cookie scoop) about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 12 -15 minutes or until edges of cookies are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack for cooling.

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Cookies For Santa…

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Here’s something sort of weird about me (one of many): I love M&M’s in my Christmas cookies, but I’m not a big fan of them by themselves. It always kind of baffles me when people say their favorite candy is M&M’s. I mean, there are so many varieties of candies out there…why M&M’s?? To each his own, I guess. Now, when it comes to cookies, however, I love to bake with M&M’s (but only if they’re red and green, of course!). Whether it’s my Monster Cookies, chocolate chip cookies with M&M’s, or these yummy, simple drop cookies, they’re always delicious and they always make me feel a little “jollier” around Christmastime (it’s very important to feel jolly at Christmas! :-)). When my sister and I were little, we always left Santa M&M cookies on Christmas Eve, so naturally, this kind of cookie just screams Christmas for me.

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Speaking of Christmas-y things, what color lights do you prefer on your Christmas tree?? Me, I love the colored lights – they’re much happier and cheery looking. Oddly enough, this year we have a white-lighted tree….just not the same… Anyway, back to business. I went searching for a good ‘ol drop cookie recipe and decided to check the King Arthur Flour site, which is quickly becoming my favorite online resource for baking recipes, and found this recipe.  It’s totally simple, straight-forward and really, really tasty. The thing I loved most was that the cookie part wasn’t too buttery and sweet; it was nicely balanced and let the M&M’s be the star. These are just plain ‘ol, simple M&M cookies, but just seeing a plate full of them makes you feel warm and fuzzy…and of course, jolly! If you have kids, these are perfect cookies to make for Santa – they’re easy enough that the kids can help, and they end up looking very Christmas-y and fun! Enjoy!

M&M Christmas Cookies
-King Arthur Flour

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, light or dark, packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons milk, optional
2 cups Holiday M&M’s

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment. Beat together the butter, sugars, salt, vanilla, baking soda, and baking powder until well combined. Add the egg, beating until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and beat again until smooth.
Add the flour, mixing it in completely.  Stir in the milk, then carefully stir in the M&M’s.
Drop the cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2″ apart. A cookie scoop works well here.
Bake the cookies for 14 to 16 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, and a bit darker around the edges.
Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the baking sheets.

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You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this time of year to get here! I absolutely love the Holiday season….and more importantly, the baking adventures it brings. I’ve already been baking all kinds of cookies and having tons of fun trying new recipes. Like these Pfeffernüsse – German spice cookies, traditionally made at Christmas.

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I first fell in love with these in college while taking a German course. My professor had just gotten back from Germany and brought us a whole array of German Christmas cookies to try. These were among them, and ooooh boy, were they good! Since then, I’ve been searching for the perfect recipe for Pfeffernüsse, so I can make them at home. This recipe is a Martha Stewart, and while it’s close….it’s not exactly what I’m looking for. However, the cookies were delicious (sort of like a molasses cookie) and my co-workers seemed to really enjoy them.

Pfeffernüsse
-Martha Stewart

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place confectioners’ sugar in a brown paper bag (I used a bowl).
In a medium bowl, combine flour, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda. Set aside.
Place butter, brown sugar, and molasses in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture; beat until just combined. Pinch off dough in tablespoon amounts; roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Arrange balls 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. (Dough can be frozen at this point, covered tightly with plastic wrap, up to 1 month).

Bake until cookies are golden and firm to the touch with slight cracking, about 15 minutes. Transfer sheets to a wire rack to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Working in batches, place cookies in paper bag; shake until well coated. Let cool completely on wire rack. Store in airtight container.

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And now here’s the part that I’m most excited about: my first giveaway!!! It being cookie season and all (and because they started playing Christmas music on XM radio!), I thought it only fitting to give you a little something to get you started.

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I recently saw this book reviewed on The National Cookie Network blog and immediately bought one. Great tips and pictures showing you how to perfectly decorate cookies for any occasion (with an entire section dedicated to Christmas cookies!). Perfect for a cookie decorating idiot like myself. And since it’s so fantastic, I decided to get an extra copy for you!! AND since you can’t make great holiday cookies without some fabulous cookie cutters: this Holiday Linzer Cookie Cut-Out set is yours as well. Woo Hoo!!

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All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment on this post answering this little question:

What Holiday cookie are you dying to try this year?

RULES:

1.) Only one entry per person, please

2.) You have until midnight Friday, Nov. 20. I’ll post the winner on Monday.

Good luck!!

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