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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weekend Cooking- Christmas Cookies

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.

When I lived in upstate New York, I used to look forward to Christmas cookie baking day. I would take the entire day, put on some Christmas music and bake away. Usually I made six to eight different types of cookies to give away to family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Once I got going, there was flour flying and by the end of the day there were cookies cooling all over the house, dozens of empty holiday tins waiting to be filled and my Kitchen Aid mixer was worn out from use.

Now that I live in NYC, I don't bake Christmas cookies anymore; there just isn't enough room to do it and no one is here to eat all the goodies. I was looking through my old Christmas cookie recipes today and reminiscing about some of my favorites.

Every year the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper would ask people to send in their favorite cookie recipes and the best ones would be printed in the paper. I got some really good recipes there, including Rich Cutout Cookies (made with sour cream), Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies (my older son's favorite), and Pistachio Thumbprints (my favorite).

My sons' school, St. Joseph's School, sold a cookbook one year and from that I got a recipe for Italian Fudge in the Middle Cookies from my friend Debbie and one for White Italian Cookies from my friend and neighbor Barbara.

My younger son loved the Chocolate & Peanut Butter Truffles and my husband enjoyed the Mississippi Mud Bars, both of which came from a Hershey's holiday recipe booklet.

I always made Chocolate Rum Balls for my mom, and the one gift that everyone got was Killer Brownie Fudge. That one had homemade brownies on the bottom and a layer of gooey fudge with marshmallow creme and walnuts mixed in. This one was so decadent and rich, just a small one-inch piece would be more than satisfying.

I found all of the recipes except for the Killer Brownies and Googling the recipe has been unfruitful. It came from this huge cookbook (I can't remember the name of it!) and I gave it away when we moved. I thought I made copy of it, but I guess I didn't, much to my disappointment.

I will share with you the recipe for
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Truffles
1 cup Reese's Peanut Butter Chips
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Coatings: finely chopped nuts, unsweetened cocoa, graham cracker crumbs, sprinkles, and confectioners' sugar

Directions: In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chips with butter. Stir in cocoa until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Cook and stir until thickened and well blended, about four minutes. Remove from heat; chill two hours or until firm enough to handle. Shape into one inch balls and roll in various coatings. Chill until firm, about one hour. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Do you make Christmas cookies? What is your favorite? Let me know is comments.


  1. I used to bake Christmas cookies but, like you, I don't have enough people around to consume the bounty and I sure don't need to eat very many myself. Fun reminiscing through your post, though.

    These days, I do better with bread puddings. I'm thinking about putting up some of those recipes this month. Not too sweet or decadent and they keep well in the fridge so I can eat small servings.

    1. My family loves Irish Bread Pudding from Cooking Light that I make every year for St. Patrick's Day. I'd love to see your bread pudding recipes.

  2. The Post Standard still does that Christmas Cookie feature and I'm already looking forward to it! I don't make as many cookies these days, but we still have a baking day when the girls get home… probably the Sunday before Christmas this year.

    1. Oh I am very envious! I hope you find some good new recipes in this year's P-S.

  3. Add me to the club that doesn't bake as many cookies as before during the holidays. Loved hearing about your favorites. My repertoire included jam thumbprints, refrigerator coconut cookies, neopolitans, butter wreaths, spritz, fudge, gingerbread teddies, and linzer.

  4. Truffles - fabulous treat! Cheers

  5. I don't bake many cookies but my Dad was a baker before he left Scotland so every year he makes a batch of Scottish shortbread that we all enjoy over the holidays. The recipe is deceptively simple - the trick must be in the technique!

  6. Bummer on losing that recipe. I hope a version shows up eventually. The truffles look awesome and I have a source for fake peanut butter cups, so I could make this! I baked cookies for a cookie exchange today. Even though we certainly don't need to have so many cookies in the house, I love the camaraderie of sharing cookies with friends.

  7. How disappointing that you lost the recipe for the brownie fudge. They sound like a great "wow" recipe to keep in a holiday baking repertoire.

  8. Oh, don't you hate that, losing a good recipe? Maybe you will find in an archives online one day :-). I made plain old chocolate chip but your truffles sound like a good plan to me.

  9. This is our first gluten-free holiday year, and I've definitely noticed that reading new Christmas cookie recipes isn't as much fun as it used to be. I have yet to dive into gluten-free holiday baking, but I need to, because I've purchased a million new ingredients and two cookbooks!

  10. I'm nursing a broken ankle this year, so I don't think I'll be able to do Christmas cookies (or more importantly, Christmas fudge!). Sad! Ah well, it's good to have a change of pace every now and again...