Cookies and a Start on Christmas goodies

I don’t make cookies very much any more. I’m not sure why, because I usually have lots of cookie ingredients on hand and they are so quick. I had some leftover oats from a breakfast I cater at my church every now and then (oatmeal for 160 women!) and I was inspired to make chocolate chip cookies – with oatmeal of course. I used a recipe from the biggest book of cookies possibly ever published and changed it a bit to suit my taste. The recipe made so many I had to send a bunch to work with M and myself. Always a hit. I think people just love baked goods, or possibly just sugar. 

I’m going to try and make some fun Christmas cookies this year and I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the progress. I probably won’t come close to the amount of cookies M’s aunt makes (tradition for her to make at least 10 probably more – varieties for their Christmas party each year). I think I’ll include some favorites for you all to try. Candied Pecans, Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies, and Candied Orange Peel – they make a great gift and they will disappear before you know if left out for holiday guests to enjoy.  

What are you making for Christmas this year? 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 C butter 
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 C flour
2 C rolled oats
1 C semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375˚. Cream butter for 30 seconds, add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add baking powder, soda, and spices. Beat in eggs one at a time and then the vanilla. Add in as much flour as possible with the mixer. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Drop onto cookie sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes. cool on sheet for one minute before moving to a wire rack (or a sheet of parchment). Makes a ton of cookies! about 5 dozen cookies. 

Candied Pecans
1 egg white
1 T water

one 1 lb bag raw pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1 C sugar

Preheat the oven to 250˚ and center the rack. Whisk the egg white and water until frothy. Add to a large ziplock bag. Add all pecans to the bag, close, and shake vigorously until all of the pecans are coated. Whisk together the cinnamon and sugar and add to the bag. Shake again until pieces are coated evenly. Spread onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours stirring every 15 minutes. 

Candied Orange Peel
I used the step by step ingredients from Use Real Butter and the recipe below adapted from the food network.

6 thick-skinned Valencia or navel oranges
4 1/2 cups sugar, plus extra for rolling
1 1/2 cups water

8 oz dark chocolate 

Cut tops and bottoms off of the orange and score the orange into quarters, cutting down only into the peel and not into the fruit. Peel the skin and pith of the orange in large pieces, use the orange for another recipe. Cut the peel into strips about 1/4-inch wide. Put the orange peel in a large saucepan with cold water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat. Then pour off the water. Repeat 2 more times. Remove the orange peels from the pan.
Whisk the sugar with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 9 minutes
(If you took the sugar’s temperature with a candy thermometer it would be at the soft thread stage, 230 to 234 degrees F.) Add the peels and simmer gently, reducing heat to retain a simmer. Cook until the peels get translucent, about 45 minutes. Resist the urge to stir the peels or you may introduce sugar crystals into the syrup. If necessary, swirl the pan to move the peels around. Drain the peels, roll the peels in sugar and dry on a rack, for 4 to 5 hours. Melt Chocolate in a double boiler and dip orange peels in chocolate if you wish. If you roll them in sugar first be ware that some of the sugar will fall into the chocolate. You can also dip just the end in the sugar and the rest in chocolate if you like the look. 

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies
These are one of my favorite! 

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 C butter
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C peanut butter
1 egg
1 T milk
1 tsp vanilla

3/4 C sifted powdered sugar
1/2 C peanut butter

sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350˚. Combine flour, cocoa and soda and set aside. Cream butter, sugars, and peanut butter until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in milk and vanilla. Add as much flour as possible and beat any remaining with a wooden spoon. If the batter is too sticky to roll add in more flour until you can roll a ball without it sticking to your hands. 

For the filling, beat powdered sugar and peanut butter until it also can be rolled into balls. 

Dive each of the doughs into 32 equal pieces and roll into balls. Take a ball of chocolate and flatten it out into a nice round patty. Add a peanut butter ball to the center and close the chocolate ball around it sealing up the edges. place on an ungreased cookie sheet. dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar bowl and slightly flatten each cookie. Bake for 8 minutes or until the surface just starts to crack. Cool on cooke sheet for one minute and cool on a sheet of parchment. 


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