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2019 ByWater Staff Holiday Cookie Recipes

This year we participated in a staff cookie exchange, below you will find some of our amazing recipes! We love baking around the holidays and we hope some of these recipes may be a sweet treat for you.

Starburst Jelly Bean Cookies, Nick Clemens

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 14 oz bag Starburst Jelly Beans chopped in pieces

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray and set aside
  3. In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugars until smooth and creamy
  4. Add egg, baking soda, baking powder, salt and vanilla and mix well
  5. Slowly mix in flour and oats
  6. Stir in jelly beans (Dough will be stiff)
  7. Drop spoonfuls of batter about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are just turning to a light golden brown

Recipe: https://realhousemoms.com/starburst-jelly-bean-cookies/

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies, Jessica Zairo

I have been making this every holiday since I was a kid, love them!!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips (10-oz. pkg.)
  • 2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in peanut butter chips.
  3. Use a scooper and roll dough in hands to form a ball and place on cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 8 to 9 minutes. Cool and move from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Black-and-White-and-Green Cookies, Nick Clemens

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2½ cups (320 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 cups (packed; 45 g) picked mint leaves (do not use stems), patted dry
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Coarse white sanding sugar or Swedish pearl sugar (for decorating)
  • 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. (20 g) Dutch-process or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup

Special Equipment: 3"-diameter cookie cutter

Complete Instructions: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/black-and-white-and-green-cookies

Chocolate Crinkles, Andrew Fuerste-Henry

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Instructions:

Mix oil, chocolate, and granulated sugar. Add eggs one at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into oil mixture. Chill several hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350°. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough onto confectioners’ sugar. Roll in sugar; shape into balls. Place about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Do not over-bake!

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Andrew’s notes: Give these at least twice as much salt as the recipe calls for. Make sure to really cake on the powdered sugar for a good cracked exterior. Really, really, really do not over-bake.

Peanut Blossoms, Andrew Fuerste-Henry

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening (92g by weight)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (135g by weight)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 28 milk chocolate kisses

Instructions:

Cream sugars, shortening, and peanut butter. Add wet ingredients and mix to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix to combine. Portion into 1 tablespoon cookies. Roll into balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet and slightly flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass. Top each cookie with one chocolate kiss.

Andrew’s notes: I think this recipe might want a second egg. Give it a try! Chocolate stars are maybe a bit more festive than kisses, but I don’t like how easily the little ridges on the stars burn.

Chewy Molasses Cookies, Margaret Hade

Ingredients: (spices doubled from original recipe already)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh ginger also works)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup mild-flavored (light) or robust-flavored (dark) molasses
  • 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • Coarse sanding or raw sugar (for rolling)

Instructions:

Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 375°F. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk egg, butter, granulated sugar, molasses, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Mix in dry ingredients just to combine.
Place sanding sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop out dough by the tablespoonful and roll into balls (if dough is sticky, chill 20 minutes). Roll in sugar and place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2" apart.

Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed, cracked, and just set around edges (over-baked cookies won't be chewy), 8–10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.

MAKE AHEAD:
Cookie dough can be made and rolled into balls 2 weeks ahead. Freeze on a baking sheet; transfer to resealable plastic bags. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before rolling in sugar.

Recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chewy-molasses-cookies-51205630

Lemon Sugar Cookies, Margaret Hade

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • Zest of one large lemon

Instructions:

  • Prep 15 m
  • Cook 10 m
  • Ready In 25 m

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and lemon extract and zest. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.

Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls, and place onto cookie sheets. Parchment paper or silicone baking mats work best.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever, Margaret Hade

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Prep 30 m
  • Cook 10 m
  • Ready In 45 m

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.In a medium bowl, stir peanut butter and sugar together until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place them 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Press a criss-cross into the top using the back of a fork.Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: DON'T use peanut butter that is crunchy or from Adams (or else you might need flour to bind it together). You want the most homogenized Skippy or Jiff peanut butter and bake right after prep.

Soren's chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, and peanut butter chip cookies, Liz Rea

Ingredients:

  • 2c flour
  • 3/4c cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I don't measure, I pinch it in there)
  • 2.5 sticks of butter, softened is best or you can cream the crap out of it with the sugar until it softens through friction and becomes fluffy, which is what I do because I am not well prepared with softened butter, usually.
  • 1c white sugar
  • 1c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 bag peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bag milk chocolate chips.

Instructions:

Heat the oven to the bog standard baking temp, 350F

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt) together in a separate bowl. You can sift it but honestly it's not really required if you are handy with a whisk.

Cream the butter and the sugar until it's fluffy looking, then add the eggs and vanilla. Don't beat it too long here, it should just be kinda runny but not chunky.

Put your mixer on low, then add the dry ingredients to the bowl, slowly. Then add your chips and mix until they are distributed through. Not too long though, going too long makes the cookies tougher.

Put down some parchment on your sheet pan, and scoop the cookies onto the pan. I use a cookie scooper for consistency but honestly this recipe is super forgiving and if you want big cookies, make yourself big cookies! They bake about the same.

Bake for ~7-9 minutes - they'll be puffy and look not quite done - if you like them chewy, take them out when they look like this; I promise they are cooked and taste just lovely. If you want them not as chewy, leave them in a bit longer, maybe a couple of minutes extra.

If you don't want all of those chips, that's fine too - put in the kind of chips you like. I bet these would be amazing with mint chips instead of peanut butter, for example.

Chocolate Malt-Ball Cookies, Cindy Norman

Ingredients:

  • 1 C Butter softened
  • 1 C Packed brown sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 1/4 C old fashioned oats
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • ½ C Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 C Malted Milk Powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 C coarsely chopped malted milk balls (the candy)

Instructions:

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine oats, flour, milk powder, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in malted milk balls

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls (3 inches apart) onto an ungreased baking sheet (I used parchment paper). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes, or the edges just begin to brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from the pan to wore racks

Bourbon Pecan Chews, Cindy Norman

Ingredients:

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 C molasses
  • ½ C Butter softened
  • 1/4 C Bourbon
  • 1 C packed light brown sugar
  • 4 C coarsely chopped pecans

Instructions:

Whisk Four, Allspice, and salt in a small bowl, put aside
Melt Molasses and butter in a sm saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, stir in bourbon. Transfer to medium bowl, whisk in the sugar until smooth. Stir in flour mixture and 1 cup of pecans. Refrigerate dough until firm (1 hour or up to overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scoop balls of dough on to baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until flattened and lightly colored, 9-11 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Double Chocolate Cookies, Rocío Belén Dressler

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup/145 grams all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup/75 grams Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 tablespoons/141 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup/150 grams dark brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup/133 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups/305 grams semisweet or bittersweet chocolate discs (or use 2 cups/340 grams chocolate chips)

Instructions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until very light, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.

3. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Add the chocolate discs and mix briefly to combine. Press plastic wrap against the dough and chill it for at least 24 hours and up to 36.

4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Portion the dough out into balls slightly larger than golf balls, about 3 1/2 ounces each, and transfer five balls to the baking sheet. (They will spread significantly.)

Bake the cookies until set, being careful to remove cookies from the oven when still soft in the center, about 18 minutes. Transfer the parchment with the cookies to a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough, baking a second batch of four or five cookies. Serve warm.

Alfajores with coconut dulce de leche, Addie Van Salisbury

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • ½ cup (50 g) almond flour or meal
  • 2¼ cups (288 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup (133 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1½ cups (125 g) unsweetened shredded coconut


Instructions:

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. Bring condensed milk, coconut milk, and ½ tsp. salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Scrape mixture into a 13x9" baking dish and bake, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until very thick and a light caramel color, 40–50 minutes. Mixture will look lumpy, broken, and very pasty—that’s exactly what you want. Let cool in dish 1 hour, then transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. Set dulce de leche aside for serving.

Meanwhile, whisk almond flour and 2¼ cups all-purpose flour in a medium bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, sugar, and 1½ tsp. salt in a large bowl, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk, vanilla, and ¼ cup honey and beat until combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients, and mix, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, until incorporated. Divide dough in half and pat each piece into a 1"-thick disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, dusting with more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking, to about ⅛" thick. Punch out shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters and transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1" apart. Pat scraps into a 1"-thick disk, wrap with plastic, and chill 10 minutes if soft.

Bake a sheet of cookies, rotating halfway through, until edges are lightly browned, 7–9 minutes.

When cookies are cool, sandwich two cookies with the dulche de leche in between. Roll the sides in coconut, if desired.

Dark Chocolate Almond Lacey Cookies, Addie Van Salisbury

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. In a separate bowl stir together the nuts, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Combine the sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is dissolved. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour into almond mixture and stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator to cool, about 30 minutes.

Scoop rounded teaspoons (they should be itty bitty!) of batter and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3 to 4 inches between each cookie since they spread. Bake 1 pan at a time, until the cookies are thin and an even golden brown color throughout, about 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

Melt chocolate in a microwave proof bowl for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until the chocolate is fully melted. Pair up cookies of equal size. Spread chocolate onto one cookie and press carefully together with another cookie.

Chocolate Chip Cantuccini, Addie Van Salisbury

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

8 oz mini chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add butter and brown sugar to a mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed 1 minute.
Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined, about 1 minute.
Add flour, baking powder and salt, mix until well combined.
Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Shape into 2 10" x 2" logs and place on a lined or greased baking sheet.
Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool 30 minutes.
Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Slice logs into about 1/2 inch slices and place on cookie sheet. Each log will make about 18-20 slices. Bake 15 minutes. Flip slices over and bake an additional 15 minutes.

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies, Sarah Maseto

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped (reserve the cherry liquid)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 12 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 drops red (or purple) food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons shortening
  • White nonpareils and colored sanding sugar

Instructions:

Begin by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter. Continue cutting until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the cherries, 2/3 cups of chopped white chocolate, and almond extract. Add food coloring, if desired. Knead the mixture until it forms a ball. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, use some of the reserved cherry liquid to help bring it together.

Shape the dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten the balls to 1 1/2 inch rounds.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the centers are set. Allow to cool for about a minute on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a double boiler, combine the remaining 8 ounces of white chocolate and the shortening. Heat until the chocolate has melted. dip half of each cookie into the chocolate. Then, roll the dipped edge into your nonpareils and / or colored sanding sugar. Allow the cookies to cool on waxed paper until the chocolate is set.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Julie Wilson

These are cookies that I have made since December 1990 for Christmas and a family favorite. The recipe is from September 1990 South Living. Jodie McCoy was the "author" of this recipe and was a contest winner and reason why it was in the magazine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup regular oats, uncooked (I use Old-Fashioned oats)
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal
  • 1 (12 oz) bag of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Instructions:

Cream butter and oil; gradually add sugars, beating at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add egg and vanilla.

Combine flour, soda, salt and cream of tartar; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Stir in oats and remaining ingredients.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. (I don't grease my cookie sheets with these cookies)

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Yield: 10 dozen

I will add that this dough can be crumbly when trying to spoon out onto the sheet. The dough freezes well, and I will have it in the freezer for when I need it.

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge, Kelly McElligott

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs white chocolate (melt in microwave 2 min & stir)
  • Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter.

Instructions:

Stir completely.Add 3 cups Rice Krispies2 cups mini marshmallows1 cup salted peanuts.

Stir all together. Pour in 9x13 pan. Place in refrigerator until set. This can be stored at room temperature.

Smallest Chocolate Chip Cookies, Kelly McElligott

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4c flour
  • 1/3 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 c butter cut into chunks (at room temp)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/3 c plus
  • 1 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp VanillaChocolate Chips
  • Colored Sugar- optional

Instructions:

Whisk together flours and the cinnamon. Working in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugars, and salt at medium speed until smooth.Add egg, beating for 1 min more, then blend in the vanilla. Turn off the mixer and add in the dry ingredients all at once, and pulse to begin blending. Mix on low speed until the dough has come together and the flour has disappeared. Chill dough for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400- line cookie sheet with parchment or silicone baking mat.

For each cookie, scoop out a level teaspoon of dough and roll the dough between your palms to form a ball, press 1 chip into the dough and roll again. If you like roll balls into colored sugar. Place balls 1 inch apart on baking sheets.

Bake for 6-7 min.

Rice Krispie Treats, Kelly McElligott

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Bag marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies

Instructions:

In a large pot, melt butter on med-low heat. Add a bag of marshmallows into the pot and stir until marshmallows are melted. Take pot off of heat and add rice Krispies. Mix well. Put mixture into a 9x13 greased pan (butter) and press firmly.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Kelly McElligott

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 ounces) brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioners' sugar

Instructions:

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in bowl.

2. Whisk brown sugar; eggs; espresso powder; and vanilla together in large bowl. Combine chocolate and butter in bowl and microwave at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until combined. Fold in flour mixture until no dry streaks remain. Let dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

4. Place granulated sugar and confectioners' sugar in separate shallow dishes. Working with 2 tablespoons dough (or use #30 scoop) at a time, roll into balls. Drop dough balls directly into granulated sugar and roll to coat. Transfer dough balls to confectioners' sugar and roll to coat evenly. Evenly space dough balls on prepared sheets, 11 per sheet.

5. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until puffed and cracked and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cool completely on sheet before serving.

Kolaczki (Polish cream cheese cookies), Jess Beno

My mom has been making kolaczki (Polish cream cheese cookies) at Christmastime since I was little and they're my absolute favorite. They are very simple, so I had to dig around for the written recipe, which is pretty vague, so I added a little more information below.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. (two sticks) butter
  • 1/2 lb. (1 package) cream cheese
  • 2 c flour
  • 24 oz pastry filling/preserves of your choice (I used almond, raspberry, and apricot pastry filling, plus a few with halved maraschino cherries)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions:

Mix butter and cream cheese until combined. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix well. Wrap in plastic or waxed paper and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough very thin on a floured surface and cut into circles (I use a coffee mug). Place 1/2 tsp. of filling or 3 halved cherries in each circle and wrap. Bake on an ungreased sheet at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar.

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