Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Baking 2013 - part one

Now that Christmas is almost here, I have officially started my holiday baking.  So far I have made pecan tassies, almond vanilla bean sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, and peanut butter blossoms.

As I type up the recipes to add to my computer, I’ll share them.  I also need to add them to my family cookbook (a gift from my mother-in-law).  Until then, here are two to tide you over. 

Almond Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

I used this recipe from Betty Crocker as inspiration.  Since I wasn’t sure how the changes would turn out, I made a half batch.  The hubby was very pleased with the result!

½ cup vanilla bean sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
Vanilla bean sugar

  • In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, powdered sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in oil, vanilla and eggs until well blended.
  • On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt until a dough forms.
  • Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight for easier handling.
  • Heat oven to 375*F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten each with bottom of glass dipped in vanilla bean sugar.
  • Bake 5 to 8 minutes or until set but not brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets.
Almond Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Peanut Butter cookies and Peanut Butter Blossoms

One of the many books I have in my collection is 1001 Cookie Recipes: The Ultimate A-To-Z Collection of Bars, Drops, Crescents, Snaps, Squares, Biscuits, and Everything That Crumbles by Gregg R. Gillespie.   You can tell how much I love one of the peanut butter cookie recipes by the notations - and the spilled ingredients - on that page, both signs of an excellent recipe.

I use the same recipe for both peanut butter cookies and peanut butter blossoms (or, as I like to call them, hugs and kisses cookies). 


2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs

  • Preheat oven to 350*F
  • Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  • In a large bowl, beat together brown sugar, butter, peanut butter and eggs.
  • Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.  The dough will be soft.
Peanut Butter Cookies
For Peanut Butter cookies
  • Drop dough about 3 inches apart onto baking sheet.
  • Using a fork dipped in sugar, crisscross tops of dough.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

For Peanut Butter Blossoms

  • Roll balls of dough into sugar and place about 3 inches apart onto baking sheet.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
  • After baked add one Hershey kiss (or hug) to the middle of cookie.

  • You can use chunky peanut butter for more crunch.
  • Instead of all white flour, I used 1 part whole wheat to 2 parts white.
  • For a double batch, use an 18 ounce jar of peanut butter.

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