Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yummy.... Time for Baking....

This is the first time in years that I have looked forward to baking Christmas cookies. I will admit it... these past few years, I've been quite lazy about it. I've made a batch or two of a basic cookie, but that's been about it. Some years, I've completely cheated, and bought a few rolls of refrigerated dough, rolled it out, let the kids cut out and sprinkle colored sugar on them... and voila, 10 minutes later, we have "Christmas" cookies.

But this year, I am excited about baking. I've been wanting to find a "signature" cookie for several years now, and I am experimenting with several different ones this year.

Last week, I made a double-batch of sugar cookie dough, and we've already eaten our way through half of it. We'll roll out and make some more sugar cookies this afternoon.

This morning, I made Chocolate-dipped Butter Cookies (recipe below).... oooooh, yum! My bunco group is doing a cookie exchange this Friday, and I am bringing these. They took a little time to roll out and curl each one, and then to dip each in chocolate, but... YUM!

I am also planning a double-batch of my Oatmeal-White Chocolate-Cranberry cookies, as well as the Chocolate-Peppermint Canes I made last year for the cookie exchange. The kids may talk me into a gingerbread cookie as well. They made gingerbread men with Dad when I was out of town last month, and have talked of making more again soon.

And I will make a Cranberry-Apple Pie for Christmas Eve dessert (maybe two, one to bring to my sister-in-law's on Christmas Day).

It's so fun to be enjoying baking again!

Chocolate-Dipped Butter Cookies
2 C. Butter
1-1/2 C. white sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
4-1/2 C. flour
Confectioner's Sugar (for rolling)
1-10 oz. bag chocolate chips
2-3 Tbsp. shortening
Preheat oven to 400 F. Cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour, a little at a time. You may have to knead the dough by hand at the end. Take a teaspoon of dough, and roll it out in confectioner's sugar until it makes a log about 6" long. Roll into itself to make a round cookie. Be sure to stick the end against the other dough so that it stays together. Set on cookie tray, about 1-2 inches apart.

Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

In a microwave-safe bowl, pour half a bag of chocolate chips and about 1-1/2 Tbsp of shortening. Microwave in short bursts (about 30 seconds), stirring between, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Dip cookie bottoms into chocolate and set upside down on wax-paper-lined cookie sheets. Set cookie sheets in fridge to set for about 1 hour.

This double-batch made about 7 dozen cookies.

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