Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Cookies

So with the Christmas season, comes lots and lots of baking. I always love trying new recipes, so this is one of my newest recipe experiments, and... these are amazing!! They taste like a Reese's peanut butter cup cookie. They are super easy to make, and are great to take to your Christmas party or dinner.

*Recipe modification: I make the balls of dough and filling half the size that is says. When I did it the size it said, it just made them massive. Doing them smaller, you can get twice the amount of cookies. :-) 
Chocolate Dough
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus extra for dredging)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
Peanut butter filling
3/4 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, your choice
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.
To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioners sugar until smooth.  With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.
To shape the cookies: Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough (a lump about the size of a walnut), make an indentation in the center with your finger and place one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation.
Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together cover the center; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass, and use it to flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Recipe courtesy of
*Recipe modification: I make the balls of dough and filling half the size that is says. When I did it the size it said, it just made them massive. Doing them smaller, you can get twice the amount of cookies. :-)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Quickly Approaching

I can hardly believe Christmas will be here in just 6 days!! At the beginning of the year, it seemed this year would never end. Now, I'm wondering where in the world time went. To think that 2014 is just around the corner is almost overwhelming.
This week, we have been running around trying to finish all of our Christmas shopping. You know how that goes, "oh no, I wonder how much shipping I'll have to pay to get it here in time..." I think we all do it. But it's so easy to get caught in the crazy rat race of the holiday season, that we forget what Christmas is all about. It's not about the bows, stockings, or Santa Claus. It's about celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Instead of spending tons of money on gifts that people don't even need, why not take that money we would have spent, and go spend it for the needy. Buy some warm mittens, hats, or coats and go hand them out on the street. Christmas is not about just keeping the joy of our Saviour to ourselves in our own home. It's about sharing the love of Christ with everyone we meet. We were placed on this earth to share the Gospel.
I challenge you, this Christmas season, to get out of your comfort zone and see what you can do to share the love of Christ.
Here's some ideas of things you could do:
-Give atleast one of your Christmas gifts (that you receive) up to someone who you know that needs it more than yourself.
-Take your money you would have spent on yourself on junk food this month, and buy extra warm coats/hats/gloves and go hand them out on the street where you know homeless people stay
-Make extra Christmas cards with the Gospel on them and pass them out to the first 50 people you see.

I would love to hear other ideas you might have, or even something your family has done before to help others. Please leave your comments below.

God Bless

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Baking Ease

So just recently my sister and I threw a baby shower for a very dear friend. The theme was Beatrix Potter, so we made iced sugar cookies shaped as carrots and put them in a cup full of cookie crumbs (to look like dirt). They turned out adorable! Anyway, back to my point. It was fun making them and all, but we had to bake and ice 160 carrot cookies!! Not exactly something that can easily be done in one day. So, we ended up baking them and layered them in a box with wax paper in between and stuck them in the freezer (uniced). Then the day before the shower, we pulled them out to thaw and then promptly spent 3 hours icing them. But, the point is, being able to freeze the baked cookies made life so much easier!
This tip comes in handy even more so during this busy holiday season. Sometimes we make up our fruit bread and freeze it as well. That way you could have all of your baking done way ahead of time. Day of your celebration, just pull it all out to let it thaw and your ready to go. Your guests will think you've been slaving all morning before their arrival. This is such a time-saving tip that will make your life so much easier!!!