Five Things Friday: Family Tradition, Baking Cookies

TGIF!

I enjoy cooking, but even more than I enjoy cooking… I love baking and my kids love to help; it’s a fun way to spend time together and will hopefully instill in them the skills and desire in them for a long time, that way when they get a little older and are sufficient in the kitchen alone they can bring me breakfast in bed! πŸ˜‰ And… since my daughter has been asking everyday since the day after Thanksgiving if we could make Christmas cookies, and today just might be the day I thought it would be fun to share 5 of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes! So, make sure your printer is full of paper and ink so you can try these treats out for yourselves this year! πŸ™‚

{Photo: 2009}

1. The basic roll-out sugar cookie, I know everyone has recipes for these already, but there are so many different versions out there so, I thought I’d share my favorite. This one is my favorite for three reasons… 1) they are super yummy, 2) It includes almond extract… love… that’s one of my favorite flavors, 3) It’s no chill, so you don’t have to wait… my kids aren’t very patient and guess what neither am I, we just want to hurry up and get the baking out of the way so we can get to the fun part… the decorating! πŸ™‚

{photo: 2008}

2. Peanut Butter Nainamo Bars, these were on Food Networks 12 days of Christmas cookies emails a few years back, I LOVE them… they bring out the chocolate + peanut butter lover in me. They take a bit of time because there are 3 separate layers to put together, but they are easy and no bake and oh so worth it.

3.Rudolph Treats, these don’t require any baking skills, just a desire to have some fun… perfect for the kids to do and oh so cute! For an alternative, I found these cute Santa ones that look to be pretty fun & simple too.

4. Gingerbread Men, another classic and this recipe is actually for Gingerbread Sandwich Trees, but last year we just made little men & a few trees without being sandwiched. I’m not normally a big gingerbread fan, but these are good… they aren’t the hard crispy kind, they are soft and chewy and yummy.

{photo: 2008}

5. Ok, so these aren’t Christmas cookies, but they are a family favorite and hands down the recipe I’ve been asked the most for… Chocolate Chip Cookies. We use and love Alton Brown’s recipe from his “I’m Just Here for More Food” cookbook. I cannot find this recipe online, although he does have 3 other chocolate chip cookie recipes (the thin, the puffy & the chewy) on foodnetwork.com, none of them are this one… so, here it is.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled

2 large egg yolks, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 c chocolate chips (I only use 1 cup… unless you like more chocolate than cookie)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (the recipe says 375, but over time we’ve tweaked the baking to our liking)

Mix the flour, baking soda & salt then set aside while you mix together the sugars, butter, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Slowly add in the flour mixture while continuing to mix. Add chocolate chips.

Now, I use a little cookie scoop and scoop onto a parchment lined baking sheet. At this stage you can freeze the cookies on the pan and then move to zip top bags; they’ll keep up to 3 months.

Bake for 10 mins (recipe says 15-17 mins, but we like ours a little softer). Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Then, once they are mostly cool… gobble them up! πŸ˜‰

{Photo: 2009}

Now, one last thing about baking… only true cooks make messes right?

No one will tell if you throw flour on yourself so you can brag that you’ve been in the kitchen all day… slaving over a hot stove.

Or… maybe you prefer the grab and press method instead of throwing… the result is a little more dramatic looking.

{Photo: 2010}

After all, a bag of flour is pretty cheap entertainment! πŸ™‚

So, which recipe do you think you’ll try? What’s your favorite Christmas cookie recipe? Do you plan to get messy in the kitchen this weekend? Let us know, but don’t tell me how you got that flour on your face! πŸ˜‰

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