I love to bake. That’s no secret to followers of this blog. At Christmastime, I have a particular need to outdo myself. Thankfully, longtime friend Pat Conn shares this passion, and together we spend many hours over two days mixing and baking. This year, we tied the 2015 all-time high of thirty cookie varieties. We certainly would have broken the record, but other obligations pulled us away. Again this year, Pat’s daughter Ashley Scully and daughter-in-law Christina Conn shared the fun along with grandson Edward Conn who’s barely 3 years old and already helping.
As we mixed and baked, we wondered what total quantities of flour, eggs, sugar, etc. . . we’d use. I had some idea because, after choosing my recipes, I’d tallied the basics to ensure I’d have adequate supplies. My rough estimates: seven pounds of butter, eighteen eggs, ten pounds of flour, five pounds each of granulated sugar and brown sugar, and sundry additions of spices, extracts, and more. Pat likely used equal amounts.
Of the fifteen recipes I baked, three were family favorites. Pat typically re-creates most-liked cookies, adding one or two new types to her assortment. I have this need/desire to have an eye-pleasing presentation – go figure. I choose recipes featuring cookies of differing sizes and shapes. I’m definitely attracted to varieties with taste-tempting flavors, and an assortment of colors is a must.
I haven’t sampled all the cookies yet, although most of the dough was tasty – I can hear the “yucks” as I type this.
I had a difficult time choosing a recipe to share, but – of those I’ve tasted – Snickers Chocolate Cookies are my new favorites.
Yield: 18-20 cookies
1/2 cup butter + 2 tbsp
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped snickers (about 9 mini bars)
1/3 cup chocolate chunks
1/3 cup peanut butter chips
1/3 cup caramel pieces, chopped (about 8 caramels)
- Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Mix in peanut butter, egg, and vanilla extract.
- Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, and cornstarch and mix until combined.
- Stir in chopped Snickers, chocolate chunks, peanut butter chips, and chopped caramels.
Dough will be thick and sticky.
- Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Make balls about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons in size. Flatten out a bit and place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Because of the cornstarch in the recipe, the cookies will not spread much.
- Bake for 8 minutes, or until the edges look firm but the center is still soft.
- Cool for 1-2 minutes on cookie sheet, then finish cooling on a cooling rack.
Each family has its holiday traditions. I grew up with Grandma Ella and my mother, Helen, who loved to bake and include as many family and friends in the process as possible. So, thanks to them for instilling in me their passion to pass on our cookie-baking tradition. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.