Christmas Countdown with Cookies

Growing up, Christmastime was my favorite time of year.  Like every child, I loved opening presents, but Christmas in rural Ohio was much more than that.  There was the annual tree-tagging extravaganza, the decorating of said tree (once it was finally sitting slightly lopsided in the tree stand), and of course, the baking (and eating) of endless Christmas cookies.  My mother baked every kind of cookie known to man around Christmas and my sister and I hovered over the counter like stray dogs looking for scraps.  We decorated cut-outs with way too many sprinkles and red-hots and slathered on the frosting because no one wants to really taste the cookie, right?!

My mom would put the delicacies in air-tight containers (old holiday tins) and place them in the deep freezer, thinking they would be safe until Christmas.  Unfortunately, she was mistaken, as every member of the Baker household would occasionally sneak cookies.  I was sure to arrange them after sneaking a few.  I think I was hoping mom wouldn’t notice.  But of course, she did and every year we’d listen to her yell at us for taking the cookies when really, Dad was the biggest culprit (we found this out years later).

Nowadays, mom doesn’t make as many cookies (but Dad is still stealing them from the freezer).  In keeping with cookie-making tradition, I decided to make a few this year.  Okay, so I made more than a few. Actually, I’m rather obsessed with baking Christmas cookies.  I blame my mom for creating the Cookie Monsterette in me, but seriously, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without a boat-load of various types of Christmas cookies!

I began my baking extravaganza with Peppermint Chocolate Crinkles.  I LOVE peppermint, especially around the holidays.  I took a regular chocolate crinkle cookie recipe and added some peppermint and candy canes.  In hindsight, I would have mixed the crushed candy canes in with the batter instead of putting them on top, but they were still soft, chewy and delicious!  photo (3)

Peppermint Chocolate Crinkles

Adapted from: Budget Bytes

3 c. powdered sugar

3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

pinch of salt

1 tsp. peppermint extract

1 large egg

2 large egg whites

1 c. chocolate chips

crushed candy cane pieces (mix in the batter or put on top after cookies finish baking)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the first four ingredients together until evenly combined.  Add the egg whites, whole egg and peppermint extract to the powdered sugar mixture.  Mix until a thick-ish batter forms (my batter was not super thick, so depending on the actual size of your eggs, this may vary). Add chocolate chips and crushed candy canes (if using).

*At this point, if your batter is not very thick, throw it in the fridge for a bit.

Place cookies on cookie sheet or parchment paper and bake for about 12-14 minutes.  Top with crushed candy canes (if you desire).


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