The countdown to Christmas is really on now! If you’re like me you have the shopping mostly done and your menu planned. All that is left to do is some holiday baking. Check out our Pinterest Board Cookie Exchange for some fun holiday recipes. Even though it is fun to whip up a batch of dreidel shaped cookies or maybe even a snowman; when it all comes down to it, what people really like are Chocolate Chip Cookies. Here is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve found. If you want to make them festive for the holidays, sprinkle some colored sugar on top or mix in some fancy sprinkles like Sweetapolita to make them really feel like the holidays.
Makes approximately 36 cookies
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup (one stick) butter, softened
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups chocolate chips
-preheat oven to 375°F
-Combine flour, baking soda & salt in a small bowl and set aside. Beat butter, oil, both sugars and vanilla in a large mixer bowl until creamy.
-Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the flour mixture.
-Stir in the chocolate chips.
-Drop by rounded tablespoon on to ungreased cookie sheet.
This past Wednesday was National Chocolate Chip Day, a holiday I can support without question. If it were up to my children we’d probably sprinkle chocolate chips on everything… needless to say I am a huge fan. It all got me thinking about where Chocolate Chips came from. As you might have suspected, the creation of the chocolate chip came about for a cookie recipe. Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts added cut up chunks of a semi-sweet Nestle chocolate bar to a cookie recipe. They were an immediate success. Wakefield reached an agreement with Nestle to add her recipe to the back of their bags in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate. That was in 1939 and Wakefield lived until 1977. That is a LOT of chocolate. It was around 1941 when Nestle began producing chocolate chips, before that they added a cutter to their larger bars. This creation changed cookie making as we know it.
These days it is difficult to find a traditional bakery that doesn’t have some sort of chocolate chip cookie on their menu. While the Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe is a staple at home, here are some of my favorite chocolate chip cookies to eat when someone else is baking.
Bouchon Bakery Chocolate Chunk – This cookie is crisp on the edges and chewy in the middle. I had my fair share when I worked at Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center for over two years. Sometimes quality control is part of the job and I wasn’t complaining.
Christmas time has always been my favorite time of year. From all of the lights, to the snow frosted trees, to the dancing notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and baked apples, to the love and warmth of being surrounded and sharing in holiday joy with friends and family, the holiday season is unlike any other time of year. The spirit of the season is seemingly alive, finding shelter in nearly all of those whom you come into contact with, which can only be described as an all-encompassing blissful wonderment.
As young children, and even into our late teens and early twenties, my siblings and I would wake up at nearly 3am on Christmas morning and rush downstairs to see what Santa had left for us, carefully tiptoeing past our parents room as to not wake up our mom. As we sat surrounded by stacks of gifts and overflowing stockings, my siblings and I would rifle through the loot in our stockings before trying to guess what each of our wrapped packages contained. My dad, who is the only person that I know who starts his day at 4am, would soon find us downstairs eating candy and eagerly waiting to open our gifts. My dad would put on a movie or TV show for us and we would each find a spot on the couch, and if excitement allowed us, we’d fall back asleep until our mom was awake and ready to document each of us opening up our gifts. I treasure these memories dearly, and I hope to one day create the same magical experiences with my own children.
As per tradition, each Christmas morning before gifts were opened, my mom or I would make cinnamon rolls, pancakes, and scrambled eggs, which, due to anticipation for gift opening, hardly got eaten. Each of my siblings and I would take turns opening gifts, taking turns sitting on a chair positioned in front of the Christmas tree so that my mom could photograph each gift being opened, as my dad sat on the corner of the couch videotaping the madness. This is something we still do to this day, however, as each of my siblings and I get older, the less focused we are on receiving gifts, but we rather appreciate the time spent together so much more. This year, instead of asking for a plethora of material gifts we asked for an experience, so my parents are taking us to the Dominican Republic for a week of fun in the sun!
The older I get, the more and more I love just being present and sharing in love, joy, and laughter with my friends and family, and it’s now my favorite part about Christmas. I love cooking together, sharing in laughter together, eating together, celebrating together, more over, just being together, all encased in the warmth and love of the season. I cherish this time of year dearly.
I hope you all have the chance to experience the magic of the holiday season!
I’m sure that it’s no surprise to any, but I love baking. At times, I find myself dreaming about sugar and sweet creations. Seemingly infatuated by the all-encompassing world of pastry, I find the combination of sugar, flour, fat, salt, heat, and other flavor components to be something of a magical science. As a child, instead of watching Saturday morning cartoons, I found myself enchanted by the cooking shows on the Food Network, and nurtured by a family of wonderful cooks and bakers, I find much comfort and joy in creating in the kitchen. The realm of pastry is vast and endless, and I quite love exploring it.
During the holiday season in general, more over as soon as the weather begins to cool, my urge to bake begins to intensify. Cold weather plus the joy of the holiday season creates the perfect baking environment, as being surrounded by friends, family and warmth makes the experience all the better. Sugar cookies are by far one of my favorite things to bake for the holidays, with gingerbread cookies following in close second. My grandma makes the best cut-out sugar cookies, which are thin and crisp, yet they surprisingly still melt in your mouth, that she decorates with vibrant holiday colors — which I attribute to the reason why I love to bake them. I recently purchased a rolling pin embossed with a holiday scene that I’m so excited to try out on this years cookie creations.
Every Christmas morning, I find myself baking cinnamon rolls for my family and myself. On occasion, they come from the Pillsbury can, other times they are scratch made. I made cinnamon rolls the last time I was home in Minnesota which I plan to recreate this Christmas. This time, however, I plan to add more of a pecan pie element to the rolls — I’ll let you know at a later date how they turn out. I also recently made lemon scented Belgium Waffles which were quite fluffy and airy due to the addition of a high quality Italian lemon soda that I can’t wait to make for my family!
Since the holidays are soon approaching, and since both National Cookie Day and National Brownie day were celebrated this week, I wanted to share with you two amazing recipes that you can wow your friends and family with! The fi-rst recipe is my take on a traditional peanut butter blossom cookie — which my grandma always makes for Christmas as well — in which I subbed Jacobsen Salt Co. Salty Caramels for Hershey Kisses. These cookies are so moist and pack a serious peanut butter punch! The second recipe is for fudge brownies featuring Rococo Chocolates Organic Drinking Chocolate and a Gus and Grey Spellbound infused cheesecake swirl. The combination of rich chocolate and blueberry and lavender cheesecake is truly irresistible!
If you’re anything like me, you love baking with friends and family for the holidays. My wish for you is that you’re able to find some time in the kitchen surrounded by those you love and together create your favorite holiday treats. The recipes below are a great place to start! I wish you all a safe and happy holidays!
And most importantly, happy baking!
Classic Peanut Butter Blossoms with Jacobsen Salt Co. Salty Caramels
Yields 2 dozen cookies
1/2 c granulated sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/2 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c creamy peanut butter, I prefer natural
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 box Jacobsen Salt Co. Salty Caramels, unwrapped and cut in half
-preheat oven to 350 degrees
-cream butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, roughly 3 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated
-Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Add to the wet ingredients, stirring just to combine. Be careful not to over mix
-Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, scoop the dough, roll into a ball, roll in granulated sugar, then place the dough onto a parchment lined sheet tray approximately 2 inches apart
-Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and set. Immediately place a Jacobsen Salt Co. Salty Caramel in the center of each cookie and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Fudge Brownies with Rococo Chocolates Organic Drinking Chocolate and Gus and Grey Spellbound Infused Cream Cheese Swirl
Yields 1 8×8 pan of brownies
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 c Rococo Chocolates Organic Drinking Chocolate, plus additional for dusting
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Cream Cheese Swirl Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c Gus and Grey Spellbound Jam
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Butter an 8×8 inch cake pan, then lightly dust with drinking chocolate, making sure to tap out any excess
-Combine melted butter, which has been allowed to cool slightly, with sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, drinking chocolate, and salt, whisking to combine. Gently fold in flour and baking powder until just combine, be careful not to over mix, then pour into prepared baking pan
-Meanwhile, make cheesecake swirl by combining cream cheese, sugar, egg, and Gus and Grey Jam, whisking to combine. Dot the surface of the browning batter with the cheesecake mixture, then using a wooden skewer, swirl the cheesecake mixture and brownie batter together