Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cookie exchange

Last weekend, Cara hosted a “baking day”. She has hosted this day for many years. There are usually at least 4 people. This means… lots of goodies!!

We all bring 2 or 3 pre-made treats and make 1 more at the actual exchange. I have never left a “baking day” and felt disappointed. I guess that’s not true. I’m disappointed that I have to share the goodies with my family. My family turns into leeches as soon as I walk through the door. Their eyes grow twice the size and they begin to drool like they have a hole in their lip. All for good reason.

Here are just some of the cookies and goodies…

Almond Sugar Cookies:

I found this recipe on this blog. I wanted something different and more… sophisticated, if you will. I absolutely love a good sugar cookie. It’s probably my favorite. They must be soft though. These cookies meet my requirements. They are soft and delicious with a flare of almond flavoring. 

1 1/2 C white sugar
2/3 C unsalted butter (cold)
2/3 C shortening (room temp)
2 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
2 3/4 C cake flour
1 C all purpose flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
sugar in the raw (*My thought… I used regular sugar. A course sugar would have made it better. Hindsight… wish I would have used colored sugar*)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking sheet with parchment or silicone baking mat.
  • Cream sugar, butter and shortening. Stir in eggs and almond extract.
  • Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Add to butter/egg mixture.
  • Use electric mixture to ensure dough is thoroughly combined.
  • Chill dough in fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Roll about 2 tsp of dough into a ball and roll in raw sugar. Place on prepared pan.
  • Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and gently press the tops of the cookies flat with the back of a spoon while they are still warm and pliable (not totally necessary).
  • Return bowl of dough to fridge in between baking batches.
  • Move cookies from cookie sheet to cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely.
  • A tip: DO NOT bake cookies longer than 7-8 minutes (*Mel’s thought: I baked mine for about 10 minutes because my oven must be different than the original blogger’s. Use your own discretion. You do want the cookies to appear slightly under baked. This is true for most cookies, IMO. They will firm up as they cool). 
Almond Sugar Cookies

Holiday Cake Cookies

These cookies looked yummy and very kid friendly! I could tell as I was mixing the ingredients together this would be a very rich cookie. I was right. Too rich for my taste buds. I was not a fan. My kids… not a fan either. The recipe calls for an entire box of cake mix. IF I was to make these cookies again I would use about half of the box and substitute flour for the other half.
You are probably wondering why I am posting this if I didn’t like them. Even if I didn’t enjoy them, maybe a reader will. With the half box/extra flour adjustment, I think they might be pretty good. 

Original recipe: here

1 box (18.25 oz) vanilla/white cake mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable/canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sprinkles
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to form a dough- stir vigorously until all of the pockets of dry cake mix are gone.  Gently mix in the sprinkles – you do not want to dye the cookie dough by over stirring the sprinkles.
  • Drop rounded 1-inch balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet.  
  • Bake for 9 minutes – do not let the cookies get brown.  Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes; they will be very soft at first. As they cool, the tops will settle down so you will not have to press the cookies down yourself. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Holiday Cake Cookies

Saltine Toffee:

These were all the rage at my son’s school fundraiser (bake sale) back in October. Chocolate, saltine crackers and homemade toffee. Hmmm… I was quite intrigued. I knew it would make my Christmas baking list. This goodie is pretty tasty. One thing I would do differently is boil the brown sugar/butter mixture a bit longer (until sugar dissolved more). 

1 cup butter (no margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
Enough crackers to fill a cookie sheet
1 bag of chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray then cover with foil. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Spread saltines on cookie sheet, creating a flat layer.
  • Mix brown sugar and butter together in a saucepan, stir frequently, once the mixture begins to boil reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until mixture has reached a nice thick consistency.
  • Pour thickened mixture over saltines.
  • Spread toffee evenly over crackers.
  • Bake until toffee becomes bubbly (about 5-10 minutes).  
  • Remove from oven and let it sit for 5 minutes.  
  • Shake chocolate chips on top and let them melt.  
  • Spread chocolate evenly over crackers/toffee.  
  • Let cool or put in the fridge to harden.  
  • After about an hour, break off a piece and taste. Yum!
  • Break into a bunch of pieces. Some small, some large, it’s up to you.
  • Freeze or refrigerate leftovers… if there are any

Saltine Toffee
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheese Crackers

Yum, yum and yum! I didn't make these at the exchange, but I feel the need to share them. These are so kid (and adult) friendly. They are also very cute!

Box of cheese crackers (Cheese Its, Cheese Nips)
Peanut Butter
Chocolate chips 

  • Prepare parchment paper on table or cookie sheet.
  • Spread PB on crackers and top each one with another cracker (sandwich... cracker, PB, cracker).
  • Melt chips in a double boiler.
  • Dip cheese cracker sandwich into melted chocolate.
  • Place chocolate covered sandwich on parchment paper and add sprinkles.
  • Let sandwiches harden.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheese Crackers


1 comment:

  1. Two batches I would make if everything was equal - Holiday Cake Cookies and Saltine Toffee!!! Now very hungry, thank you Mel!


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