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A Tasty Trio of Christmas Cookies

"Three cookie recipes that are sure to impress any crowd at any party or serve as the perfect last minute gift."

'Tis the season of frantic gift shopping, decking the halls, and of course, holiday baking! As we get down to the wire on holiday baking, here are three cookie recipes that are sure to impress any crowd at any party or serve as the perfect last minute gift.

Before getting started here's a quick kitchen tune-up to make sure you're ready to go:

  • After selecting the recipe, read through it carefully to make sure you have any equipment needed.
  • Take stock of the ingredients and make a thorough list of what you need to buy and what you already have—there's nothing worse that taking extra trips to the store this time of year!
  • Are the ingredients you have relatively fresh? Some ingredients (such as spices or sprinkles) are ok to sit on your shelf for a while, but others, such as baking soda or brown sugar, can actually become stale.
  • If your baking soda or baking powder has been on your shelf for more than a year, replace it.
  • When you're ready to start baking, begin by wiping down all the surfaces you will be working on in the kitchen and getting out all the ingredients and equipment that is needed.
  • Read the recipe all the way through one more time before starting.


Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

Ingredients
1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Hershey Kisses to top cookies

Using a stand or hand mixer beat together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well combined. Next add the egg to the mixture. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon). Once all the ingredients have been combined chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

After the dough has been chilled preheat the oven to 375. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes. After taking the cookies out of the oven place a Hershey Kiss in the center of the cookie while still warm.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz. unsweetened baker's chocolate, melted
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c confectioner's sugar

Using a stand or hand mixer beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla until well combined. Next add the melted chocolate to the mixture. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Slowly add in the flour and baking powder. Once all the ingredients have been combined chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

After the dough has chilled preheat the oven to 375. Pour the confectioner's sugar into a medium-sized bowl. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and generously coat in confectioner's sugar by rolling the dough balls in the bowl of sugar. Place the dough 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

Peppermint Swirl Cookies

Ingredients
3 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c butter
1 egg, beaten
Red food coloring
Green food coloring
2 tsp mint extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To create a tri-colored, swirled effect the dough needs to be made in three batches. In a bowl beat 1 egg until it is frothy and the yolk and white are combined. Using a measuring cup, separate the egg into 3 equal parts (to be used for each batch).

To make the first batch start by sifting together 1 cup of the flour and 2/3 teaspoon of baking powder, in a medium sized mixing bowl. Next, using a stand or hand mixer, in a separate bowl beat together 1/3 cup of sugar and 5 1/3 tablespoons of butter.

Once the butter and sugar are combined add one of the parts of beaten egg that was set aside and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the dough and mix just until the ingredients are combined. Scrape the dough out onto a sheet of wax paper and set aside.

For the second and third batches of dough follow the instructions in the paragraphs above with the following exceptions;

For the red dough; after mixing in the egg add drops of red food coloring until the desired shade of red is achieved. Instead of vanilla extract use 1 teaspoon of mint extract.

For the green dough; after mixing in the egg add drops of red food coloring until the desired shade of green is achieved. Instead of vanilla extract use 1 teaspoon of mint extract.

Once all three batches of dough have been made it is time to roll them out. Starting with the vanilla dough, roll out the dough so that it stays on the sheet of wax paper. The dough should be rolled out so that it is longer and in an oval or rectangular shape about 1/8 of an inch thick. Set the vanilla dough aside.

Next roll out the red or green dough in between two sheets of wax paper into a similar shape as the vanilla dough. After rolling out the colored dough remove one of the sheets of wax paper and place the dough on top of the vanilla dough. Remove the remaining layer of wax paper.

Repeat this step for the other batch of colored dough so that you have all three rolled out and on top of each other. Keeping the dough in one sheet of wax paper, roll the dough into a narrow log to create the spiral effect of the three colors. Chill in the freezer for 1 hour.

After the dough has been chilled preheat the oven to 350. Take the sheet of wax paper off of the log of dough and place on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife slice the log of dough into cookies that are 1/4 inch thick and place 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

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