Tis the season for making Christmas cookies! I am not an avid baker, but this time of year, it seems like you should be participating in the baking fun! This year I am a little more inspired since I have two cookie exchange parties to go to :)
Am I the only one that stresses over which cookies I should make?!? I’m gone on to so many sites and looked at so many recipes. I assume I’m not alone in secretly wanting to have THE BEST cookie of the whole party…and what does it really earn me other then bragging rights and the thought that everyone thinks I’m an incredible baker! Nevermind…it’s worth fighting for!!!
So, Cookie Exchange number 1 was with work friends. Registrar ladies seem to have the tradition and I got an invite this year :) Thanks to Jeri Price for organizing it for all of us. It was a really fun time to connect and get excited about the food of the season. I loved having a bin of cookies to take away and a few recipes at that. Definitely something I hope to be apart of in the years to come.
So, I decided on this recipe this year since it’s a nice combination of all the flavors I like in a cookie…chocolate, toffee, and peanut butter! They ended up being really good so I highly recommend this recipe! You can find it here: Salted-Peanut-Butter-Toffee-Thumbprints. Something you should know about this recipe is that you will need to refrigerate your dough for 1 hour. I didn’t read that in the recipe but got lucky (since I did them the night before) and had an hour to refrigerate while I went to church last week. Score :)
Here we go…
Step 1: Mix together your dry ingredients…flour, salt, baking soda. Sadly, this is one of those recipes that requires a lot of dishes. The end product is worth it but make sure you have a few bowls ready to go.
Step 3: While waiting for melted butter, use a separate bowl and measure out your brown sugar and granulated sugar. When butter is melted, that can be poured in on top and mixed up.
HINT: I used one of the tips that I posted earlier about how to get sticky ingredients out of a measuring cup…..the tip was to run your measuring cup under hot water before adding the sticky ingredient. Ideally it just slides right out of the measuring cup.
I am happy to report can IT WORKS! See how clean the cup is after just one little spoon-out of encouragement?! It was way less mess to clean up in the measuring cup. I will be doing THIS again!
Step 5: Mix together you wet ingredients mixture with the flour mixture a little at a time….key work here is MIX! Don’t do what I did and try to WISK the ingredients togehter. I know better and had quite the time banging out the wisk. I got it cleaned out and was able to continue mixing but…just thought I would give that word of wisdom.
Step 6: The next thing to do is refrigerate our dough. The recipe calls asks that you put it in for an hour to 1 day. I think mine was in for 3 our so hours which was great. It firmed up and was easy to work with when it was time to roll and bake. While the dough is refrigerating you can start in with prepping your peanuts.
Step 7: So if you’re anything like me…there is always that one appliance that you love to use, but also hate to pull out because it’s in that obscure place in your kitchen.
Our counter tops are full with knife blocks, toasters, blenders, etc. so my food processor will not fit on the counter top at all times. It’s just too big. You can see in this picture that mine is on the VERY top shelf of our pantry and I am way too short to be reaching up there! So, here is my solution…I think everyone needs this in their kitchen if you don’t already…especially for the shorties out there!
But I digress….
Step 8: The toffee peanuts that these cookies get rolled in is what makes them different from normal peanut butter cookies. I think I would like to try this with chocolate chip cookies! Right?! Wouldn’t that be yummy. Something to do in the future.
So onto chopping…You’ll notice that the first picture here looks very clean and put together…however, there was a lot of work to get to it looking like that. For the life of me, I couldn’t get the top on the stand.
I kept trying to turn it on and it was not being friendly because I didn’t have the cup on there correctly.
So, I’m mostly putting this little picture below as a reminder to myself since I don’t use this kitchen gadget that often….JESSICA…LINE UP THE ARROWS. It will snap on if you do this! Don’t forget!! Below is the handsome result if you snap everything on correctly…imagine that. I used the tin that the peanuts came in to save the pieces till it was roll time.
You’ll notice two containers that and I’ll be candid and say I had to buy the second because I had started eating out of the first tin and quickly realized I did not have enough to do this recipe. Thankfully they were cheap at Ralphs the week I was making these :)
Step 9: When your dough is cool and ready to work with you will begin making the dough balls and rolling them in your toffee peanut pieces you have chopped up. My recommendation is that you push the pieces into the dough balls like I’m showing here. I was not as generous as the recipe pictures show they should look like so next time I’ll possibly roll the tough with some toffee pieces in the middle and outside. There can never been too much toffee! They don’t really spread out on the baking sheet so don’t worry about there only being an inch between your cookies. You’ll put them in the oven for 13 to 15 min at 325 degrees. I kept them on the longer side which did the trick.
Step 10: At some point you will need to do your thumb print part of the cookie making process. I decided I would do them when there were still about 3 min left on the timer. This ended up being a good way to start the process. When you pull them out, they have basically puffed up again in the last 3 min. However, you’ve already started the depression in the middle and helped spread out the cookies by doing it in the oven. So, when I did it again when they came out it was prepped. The recipe says to do differently, however, this worked well for me. You can see in the oven picture how the cookies have not really spread out like chocolate chip cookies do. The picture to the right shows that by doing them in the oven, they end up being a little bit rounder and less like a drop cookie.
Step 10: I have mentioned in my Oreo truffle recipe post that I STINK at melting chocolate to pipe on anything. It is SO not my forte in when it comes to baking and if I ever see it in a recipe I get nervous about giving it a try. That has changed! This recipe gave instructions on how to end melt chocolate. Most recipes say…melt your chocolate…with no help on how to go about the process. I love this recipe for educating me and not assuming I already knew how to do it. This tip is officially the way I will melt chocolate I am wanting to pipe chocolate.
The instructions say to put some hot water in a bowl and place your piping bag (AKA plastic bag) in the bowl and let the chocolate melt. This works amazingly well and I’ll be translating this tip the next time I make those Oreo truffles. When your chocolate is melted…you may need to work the bag a big with your fingers to feel if you have it completely smooth. I pulled it in and out of the water a few times to feel it and make sure it was melting correctly. I think it took a total of 10 min to get it ready for pipping. And I have to say that when you get chocolate to melt well it is fun to do :) I ended up having to make two bags of chocolate chips up to pipe in the thumbprints of all my cookies, but it was still way easier then I’ve done in the past. HURRAY for learning a new trick!!
Step 11: Finishing up the cookies can be your choice..I thought of a few ways to top the cookies since they were needing something extra to stand out. I had a lot of broken up peanuts that I ended up placing on top of the cookies to doll them up a bit. I liked the look since it kind of appeared that a reindeer had left it’s hoof print in the chocolate…or at least I liked to think so ;) I had some festive cupcake holders that I put the cookies in which made them easier to store and very easy for people to grab…..Anyways I hope that you give these a try and got a few tips for your cookie making this season! Enjoy :)