I may be a little obsessed with Christmas cookies. I wrote about them last year for the paper. And again this year. I think I even used cookies as a topic for my college application essays.
So of course, when my roommates wanted to host a cookie party last year, I was all for it. The tradition continued this year, with about a dozen women coming to our house with tins full of cookies.
There were chocolate mint oreos and gingersnaps. Nutella bites and black bottom cupcakes. Lemon ricotta cookies and peanut butter cookies topped with Hershey kisses. So many cookies, I can’t remember them all now.
The cutest may have been the “Goodbye Frosty” cookies, sugar cookies topped with large marshmallow.
We even had a competition where all the cookie-bakers judged the rest of the cookies. Dana presented prizes to various winners — I’m proud to say my Almond Crunch Cookies were named the cookie that everyone wanted the recipe for. (And of course, I didn’t have copies. But you can find it below!)
Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the drinks I made: hot spiced cider (apple brandy optional) and cranberry bourbon sours.
In a pot, combine 1 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries and 2-3 cinnamon sticks with 1 1/2 cups water and heat on stovetop until sugar dissolves and berries are soft. Remove cinnamon sticks, and blend the mixture until smooth. Strain through a sieve and refrigerate. When ready to make drinks, mix the cranberry liquid with 1 1/3 cups bourbon, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and serve over ice. Add simple syrup if you want, and/or top with ginger ale. Makes about 8 drinks. Enjoy!
I also want to share this cool centerpiece that I put in our kitchen, on the snack table. Because you’ve gotta have some salty with the excessive sugar you’re about to consume. The idea came from Simple Bites, but I had to scale it down for the number of jars. I like the author’s idea to mix the jars with pinecones, or clementines, or any other seasonal items you have around. I had some glittery snowflake ornaments.
And one more, just because everyone loves puppy pictures. After so many cookies, this is what many of us may have looked like this morning:
Almond Crunch Cookies
From Mrs. Fields
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup almonds, ground in food processor (I like to do this with a scoop of the flour since they’ll get mixed together anyways)
- 1 cup almonds, sliced (4 oz)
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer or hand mixer until mixture forms a grainy paste. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add egg and almond extract. Beat at medium speed for several minutes until light and fluffy.
Add the ground almonds and flour, and blend at low speed just until combined.
Form dough into small balls and roll in sliced almonds, coating each ball thoroughly. (Try to handle the dough as little as possible to keep the cookies light when baked, so don’t press the almonds onto the sides. I like to put the balls of dough into a bowl of almonds, and then toss them very lightly in my hands with the almonds.)
Place balls on ungreased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cookies are slightly brown along edges.Immediately transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Move them onto a cool surface, covered with waxed paper.
To make the chocolate gaze: Scald cream in a small saucepan, then remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips and corn syrup; cover and let stand for 15 minutes. With small wire whisk or wooden spoon, gently mix glaze until smooth, being careful not to create bubbles in the chocolate.
When cookies are completely cool, drizzle patterns on them with the warm chocolate glaze (I like to use a fork that I swing across the trays of cookies), or dip half of each cookies into the glaze. Refrigerate (or set outside in the cold) the cookies on waxed paper until the glaze has set–about 10 minutes. Enjoy!