Thursday, December 10, 2015

A month of gifts, day 10: The Gift of Sweetness

This week someone asked me about my favorite holiday tradition, and I’d have to say it’s hands-down the Baking of All the Things. Every year I make dozens (like, 20+ dozen) cookies and candy, and on Christmas Eve we load the car full of treat boxes and drive around delivering them to friends.

Since Joselyn shared some of her favorite holiday beverages yesterday, I thought I’d bring you my favorite recipes for sweets today. Enjoy!

Cookie Goddess Chocolate Chip Cookies
4 ¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, melted
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons) vanilla extract
4 eggs
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups walnuts (if desired)

Combine dry ingredients. Melt butter thoroughly, add in sugar and eggs.  Add vanilla to butter/egg/sugar mixture when butter has cooled slightly. Mix dry and liquid ingredients thoroughly, add chocolate chips and nuts, and chill for at least 3 hours. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

(True story: One time I made these cookies for a funeral lunch at church. They never made it out to the bereaved. I heard later that all the little old ladies in the kitchen stuffed the cookies in their purses and made off with them.)

Dad’s Favorite Gingersnaps

¾ cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
2 ¼ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
Granulated sugar

Cream first four ingredients. Blend dry ingredients together and add molasses mixture. Chill slightly. Form dough into small (about 1 inch) balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

(These, hot from the oven, are my dad’s favorite holiday treat. You would not believe the carnage that man can inflict when left unsupervised in my kitchen.)

Grandma’s Double Decker Fudge

2 cups Reese’s peanut butter chips
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ½ cups sugar
1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow fluff
1 ½ cups (12 ounce can) evaporated milk
¼ cup butter

Grease 13x9x2 inch pan.
In a bowl, combine melted butter, cocoa, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Add 1 cup peanut butter chips.
In another bowl, place 1 cup peanut butter chips.

In a 4 quart saucepan, combine sugar, marshmallow fluff, evaporated milk and ¼ cup butter. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a rolling boil, then boil and stir constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour one half of the mixture into the bowl with the cocoa and peanut butter chips, and one half into the other bowl. Stir until completely blended. Spread the peanut butter mixture on the bottom of the pan, then add the chocolate mixture. Chill and cut. Stores well in the refrigerator or freezer.