From Family Circle, December 2013, makes 3 dozen.

Sugar Cookie Layer

  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Brownie Layer

  • 3/4 cup All Purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp mint extract
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 10 starlight mints, crushed

Heat oven to 350°.  Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil.

Sugar Cookie Layer.  Whisk flour and salt in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar for two minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add flour mixture and beat to combine.  Stir in white chocolate chips.  Press firmly and evenly into a foil-lined pan.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Brownie Layer.  Whisk flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt.  Beat in melted butter, egg, milk, and mint extract.  Stir in semisweet chocolate chips.  Dollop evenly over sugar cookie layer.  Spread brownie batter with a spatula dipped in warm water.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Let cool and then remove from pan by lifting foil.  Melt white chocolate chips and drizzle over bar cookies.  Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies.  Once white chocolate has hardened cut bars into squares.

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From Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweet via Smitten Kitchen, makes 3 dozen cookies.

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips (I used Ghiradelli’s Bittersweet Chocolate Bars)

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour mixture, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Working with a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about one inch between them.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Do ahead: Packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 2 months. They can also be frozen in log form for months, and can be sliced and baked directly from the freezer, adding a 1-2 minutes to the baking time.

Dani's Cookies
From Two Peas, makes 2 dozen.

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, sliced
  • 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup caramel squares, cut into 1/4’s

For Rolling the Cookies:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling on top of cookies

In a medium bowl, Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

To brown the butter, heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced butter, whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter until melted. The butter will start to foam and browned specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan. The butter should have a nutty aroma. Watch the butter carefully because it can go from brown to burnt quickly. Remove butter from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the brown butter and sugars. Mix until blended and smooth. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt and mix until combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Form the dough in a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can chill the dough overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Measure about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Flatten the ball with the palm of your hand and place a piece of caramel in the center of the dough. Wrap the cookie dough around the caramel, making sure the caramel is completely covered with dough.

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place dough balls on a large baking sheet that has been lined with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Make sure the cookies are about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the cookie tops with sea salt.

Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. The centers will still be soft. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, or until set. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Aunt Gina's Peanut Butter Blossoms
From hersheys.com, makes about 48 cookies.

  • 48 HERSHEY’S KISSES Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Additional granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Pidgie's Rugelach

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 (10 oz.) jars Apricot jam
  • 1 1/4 cups raisins
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts
  • Powdered sugar

BEAT butter and cream cheese together in medium bowl with electric mixer. Add 2 cups flour, one cup at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Flatten dough into disk. Wrap with plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour.

HEAT oven to 350°F. Combine cinnamon and sugar in small bowl. Dust work surface with remaining 1/2 cup flour. Divide dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 9-inch circle.

SPREAD each circle with 2 tablespoons fruit spread, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture, 2 tablespoons raisins and 2 tablespoons walnuts. Roll filled circle into a log shape, seam side down and tuck ends under. Place strudels 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

BAKE 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut each log into 8 pieces, about 1 inch wide. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Place in small paper baking cups to serve, if desired.

Andrea's Lemon Bars

  • 1-1/2 stick salted butter
  • 1-1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Zest from one lemon

Blend first three ingredients with pastry cutter.  Spread in an ungreased 9×13 pan.  Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over hot crust.  Bake at 350° for another 20 minutes.  Cut into squares and cool.

Meagan's Cookies

Makes about 30 Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 candy canes or 16 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir 2 cups chocolate chips in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Measure 2/3 cup melted chocolate; transfer to small metal bowl and reserve for drizzling.

Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Add sugar and both extracts; beat until smooth. Add eggs; beat to blend. Beat in melted chocolate from medium bowl. Add dry ingredients; beat just to blend. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Measure 1 level tablespoonful dough; roll dough between palms to form ball. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies 11/2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until cracked all over and tester inserted into center comes out with large moist crumbs attached, 8 to 9 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment paper to racks to cool completely.

Rewarm reserved 2/3 cup chocolate over small saucepan of simmering water. Using fork, drizzle chocolate over cookies. Sprinkle crushed candy canes over, arranging some pieces with red parts showing. Chill just until chocolate sets, about 20 minutes.

 

We are looking forward to hosting the 2013 Holiday Cookie Exchange!