Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Cookies

My mother and I have a tradition that every year, usually the weekend before Christmas, we bake cookies together. Most years, it is around 80 degrees here in sunny Florida, and we are constantly having to adjust cooking times for the heat outside the oven. This year, it was a cool 60 degree day, perfect for baking. We turned on the Christmas tree, some classic holiday tunes, and got to work!

Every year, we try new recipes, but there are some that are staples. The peanut butter cookies with Hershey Kisses are certainly my brother's favorite (and my husband's too!). The cinnamon swirls are my favorite, especially when warm right out of the oven! My mom is a fan of the classic sugar cookies with sanding sugar on top, and my dad usually samples them all.

Here are the recipes for our favorites:
Peanut Butter Cookies with Hershey Kisses
2 Cups Peanut Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
20-30 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

Combine ingredients and in floured hands, roll into 1" round balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees, until a little golden. Remove from oven and immediately press unwrapped Hershey Kisses into the center of each cookie. Let cool and then remove to baking racks.

Cinnamon Swirls
Package of two Refrigerated Pie Crusts
Melted butter or Smart Balance

In a shallow pan, roll out a pie crust and cut in half, setting one half to the side. Brush on some melted butter or spread, and then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top (as much or as little as you like). Roll the pie crust until it makes a roll, and slice vertically. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until cinnamon and sugar are bubbling and pie crust is flaky. Remove from oven and cool on baking racks. Repeat with the remaining pie crust halves. Even enjoy a few while they are warm out of the oven with a cold glass of milk!

For our classic sugar cookies, we use the go-to recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. You can find it here.

And this year, we tried a new one, McCormick's EggNog Truffles, that will definitely be made again next year! They were to die for!

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