With Christmas only 5 days away, it was time to don the aprons and take part in the annual family tradition of baking with my mom and sister. Given the small kitchen at my house and the oven that burns everything at my sister’s house, we converged on our mom, laden with bags of supplies, a bevy of storage containers, and my beloved 6 Qt Pro Kitchen Aid mixer to attack 4 of the recipes on this year’s holiday list.
We started off with a recipe that I’m not particularly fond of (but my family loves)–Butterball cookies. The dough is pretty dry, though they do have a satisfying crunch, then almost melt in your mouth. We did have a bit of a disagreement over the quantity made–apparently I made them too big because my sister continually complained about the fact that the batch should have made about twice as many as it did–but they got what they got. At least I made them, you know?
Next came the dough for molasses cut out cookies, a holiday favorite. The dough had to chill for a while so we moved on to my mother-in-law’s recipe for Chocolate Chipper Champs, which seems wrongly named since there are no chocolate chips in it. There are, however, tons of M&M candies in red and green shades, adding seasonal color to the cookie tray. The recipe can be found at the end of this post.
My sister worked on the peanut blossoms after that, with the assistance of our aunt who dropped by for the festivities. I put all the chocolate kisses on top, assisting but letting my sis take center stage. These are one of her favorites to make anyway. 7 dozen later, we were ready to move on again…
Photo by Brian Vibert
As much as I love to bake, I find rolling out and cutting cookies into various shapes to be quite tedious. It may be that I’ve often had problems transferring the shapes onto the cookie sheet without catastrophe. This time, however, my mom’s marble counters helped a lot in keeping the cookies together, thankfully. Very little frustration with this round and all of us worked on frosting and decorating–even my kids for the last few.
I’m exhausted. Baking for Christmas isn’t over yet but we made a pretty good dent today.
Chocolate Chipper Champs
makes 6 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie scoop
source: my mother-in-law
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 2/3 cups brown sugar, packed
4 eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla (or 1-2 vanilla beans, scraped–I used 2)
4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups M&Ms plus an extra bag for decorating
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla/vanilla beans. Gradually add flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in candy and nuts.
Drop by heaping teasponfuls (or small cookie scoop) onto cookie sheet, either nonstick or on top of parchment paper. Press additional M&Ms into each cookie.
Bake for 8 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Keeps for 3-5 days at room temp in an airtight container. Freeze for longer storage.