Growing up, we had plenty of Christmas traditions: the trek to the Christmas tree farm to chop down the biggest darned tree that would fit in our house, decorating gingerbread houses baked by my mom, eating all the almonds from the bowl of mixed nuts in our living room, sampling the sweet, crispy rosettes my mom deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar to give to our family and friends, and, finally, walking through the snowy streets to Midnight Mass, full of the joy and excitement of the holiday. Now that I have my own family, we've created our own traditions...but making sweets for our dear neighbors is one passed down from my parents.
I have a list of tried-and-true cookies and candies that I package in cheery, holiday boxes: caramels, English toffee, fudge, and white chocolate peppermint bark...plus chewy gingersnaps, butterscotch cookies, cherry chocolate chunk cookies, Star of Bethlehem cookies, and coconut macadamia nut bars.
I know exactly who wants extra toffee or extra gingersnaps. In fact, I had a sweet phone call earlier this week. A friend's elderly dad is dealing with dementia. They had put a wreath up in his home and he realized Christmas was approaching. He asked one of his other daughters about his gingersnaps...confused, she ran to the market and purchased some. The dad was most disappointed...they were not what he wanted. I found out that my friend has shared my Christmas cookies with him each year, so once the sisters figured this out, I baked a fresh batch of my chewy gingersnaps for their dad.
I love when one of my recipes travels from family to family or friend to friend, to be enjoyed by so many. The joy of the season can shared with a simple batch of delicious cookies...and it's not too late to start your own family tradition.
When asked to create a holiday cookie for the BlogHer 12 Days of Cookies series, I had to think long and hard. My daughter loves peppermint. My husband does not. One son loves the chocolate-peanut butter combo, the other does not. I love putting toffee or caramel in any buttery or chocolate cookie; the hubby is not a fan. So it all came down to chocolate...and for the holidays, it had to be a rich, melt-in-your-mouth, unforgettable chocolate cookie.
I decided on a simple truffle cookie with a few chocolate chunks and red and green M & M's to make them extra festive. I have a feeling these will be added to my holiday baking list next year, too.
Holiday Truffle Cookies
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped in chocolate chip sized pieces
1/2 cups red and green M & M's, plus more for garnishing
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the 6 ounces of chocolate with the butter, stopping and stirring at 30-second intervals, till melted and smooth.
Whisk together eggs and sugar in another bowl. Slowly whisk in the warm chocolate till well combined. Add vanilla, then stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Let dough rest for a couple minutes. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate and M & M's. Chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
Scoop out rounded tablespoonfuls of dough and place on baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Use damp finger to pat dough into round balls if misshapen. Bake for 7-8 minutes, till crackled and glossy. Middles may look slightly underdone. Remove from oven and carefully press about 3 M & M's onto surface of each cookie. Let cool on baking sheet 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack.
Makes about 24 cookies.
For more recipes in the 12 Days of Cookies series, follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #BlogHerCookies.
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