Watch Love Actually at least once (much to Ryan's chagrin)
Decorate house (stockings, wreath, tablescape, garland?)
Today the plan is to get a few household decorations and the supplies needed to package up the cookies for neighbors, and tonight wrap presents while watching The Holiday and maybe Love Actually again.
As a side note, if anyone else out there plans to have a wrapping party and is a wee bit behind like me, you can check out some gorgeous and FREE printable gift tags here. (Thanks to E Tells Tales for originally posting the link!)
Okay, let's get to the main event: Christmas Cookies!
I made the Soft and Chewy Ginger Molasses cookies that I posted about last year again; you can check out that recipe here. In addition, I decided to take some inspiration from my fellow bloggers and try out some of their favorite recipes...
First up, Hello Dolly Bars from Ashley at Calmly and Chaotic (originally from here). My mom used to make something similar when I was little - I think she called them Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies - and I always loved the combination of flavors. It takes me right back to childhood holidays.
Note: I made a recipe and a half to fill up a lasagna dish and a smaller casserole dish.
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
1 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs (or about 8 graham crackers, pulsed in a food processor)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (just under half a small can)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, melt butter in microwave until just melted when stirred (I used 50% power for a minute, and it did the trick). Add graham cracker crumbs. Mix together with a fork and then press evenly into the bottom of 8×8 baking pan using the backs of your fingers.
Layer coconut, pecans, butterscotch and chocolate chips on top of graham cracker base.
Pour sweetened condensed milk over whole mixture and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. (Note: The chips will not have melted. That's okay.)
Let them thoroughly cool before cutting. Putting them in the fridge for an hour or so can speed up this process.
Okay, on to the next recipe! These Chocolate Crackle Cookies are courtesy of Nicole at Me Oh My (but originally from Martha Stewart).
As a warning, these are much more labor intensive than the Hello Dolly Bars and take some planning because they need to refrigerate for 2 hours before baking, but they could be really fun to do with little ones since they get rolled in both granulated and powered sugar. Plus they're worth the trouble. Also, I made a double recipe and ended up with approximately 50 cookies, so one batch goes a looooong way.
1 bag chocolate chips total: half semi sweet, half milk chocolate
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 c. granulated sugar, for rolling
1 c. powdered sugar, for rolling
Melt chocolate chips over medium low heat, careful to not burn. (A double boiler is amazing for this step, as you don't have to be watching them vigilantly and can move ahead with the recipe.) Let cool.
In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
In your mixer beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until well combined.
Add 1/3 of cooled melted chocolate to dough, combine.
Alternate adding milk and dry ingredients until all chocolate and dry ingredients have been folded in. Be sure to scrape down the bowl between additions. Mix until just combined.
Divide dough and wrap in plastic. Don't do this step in front of your husband though, or he will tell you that it looks like a giant turd. Boys.
Chill in refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours. Remove dough, cut into rounds, and roll into 1 inch balls. (They don't have to be perfect.) Dust in bowl of granulated sugar, and then generously in powdered sugar.
Bake about 15 minutes until cookies have flattened and sugar cracks.
Oh, and I can't believe it passed me by (actually, I can in all the holiday madness), but yesterday was the one year anniversary of this little blog! What a whirlwind year.