For several years, my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law, the kids, and IÂ have been getting together to make Christmas cookies.Â We have a list of old stand-by cookies that we always make, and there are a number of other cookies that have come and gone over the years.
The crew from Christmas Cookie Baking Day 2010.
The actual baking of the cookies has also evolved.Â We used to bring our pre-prepared batches of cookie dough and bake all day long.Â That became so tedious that we now bring pre-baked cookies to Cookie Baking Day and only actually bake a few batches of cookies to give the kids the baking experience.
And, like other family get togethers, it’s really less about the actual cookies and more about spending time together.
Don’t get me wrong, the cookies are great, too!
This year, we’re changing it up a little.Â Many of the kids have other commitments, so Cookie Baking Day is being re-focused on the older kids and moms.Â So my mother-in-law will now get to spend the day with her daughter and two daughter’s-in-law along with a few nieces and nephews for good measure.
One of our good old stand-by cookies is a traditional favorite – Peanut Butter Blossoms.Â Now, I have seen many adaptations to this cookie with the advent of different flavored kisses, but in our house, it’s not Christmas without a batch of these cookies.
Peanut Butter Blossoms – ingredients.Â Preheat oven to 375Â° F.Â Line flat, ungreased cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Note on lining the cookie sheets:Â The pictures in this post are from last year, and the cookie sheets are not lined with parchment paper.Â Just know that I always use parchment paper liners on my cookie sheets.
We make aÂ double batch of these, and I buy the monster bag of Hershey’s kisses from our local Sam’s Club.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.Â Sift or mix together well with a whisk.Â Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and peanut butter using a hand or stand mixer.
Slowly add the sugars and cream until well combined.Â The mixture should be smooth, light, and creamy.Â This step should take up to 10 minutes as you want to incorporate air into the mixture at this step.Â Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients in three batches.Â Mix just until combined.Â You do not want to over mix at this step as you will overwork the gluten in the flour and end up with a tough cookie.
The dough will be stiff.Â You can make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to bake.Â You may have to let it sit out at room temperature for a few minutes to be ready to roll and bake.
Make one-inch balls of dough and roll in sugar.Â Place on your lined and ungreased cookie sheets.Â Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
This is Grandma rolling the cookies last year.
Remove from oven and place a Hershey’s kiss in the center of each cookie.Â It should create a cracked edge.Â Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a rack to completely cool and allow the candy to harden.
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
1Â¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
Â½ tsp salt
Â½ cup shortening
Â½ cup creamy peanut butter
Â½ cup sugar, plus additional for rolling cookie balls
Â½ cup brown sugar
2 TB milk
1 tsp vanilla
48 Hershey’s kisses, foil removed
Preheat oven to 375Â° F.Â Line flat cookie sheets with parchment paper.Â Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.Â Whisk or sift to combine well.Â Set aside.Â Cream the shortening and peanut butter using a hand or stand mixer until smooth and creamy.Â On medium speed, slowly add the sugars until well combined, light, and creamy.Â Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix until well combined.Â Add the dry ingredients in three batches mixing just until combined.Â Do not over mix.
Roll cookie dough into 1″ balls and dust with sugar.Â Place on ungreased, lined flat cookie sheets.Â Bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.Â Remove from oven and gently press a Hershey’s kiss into the center of each cookie.Â Cookie should crack a little around the edges.Â After cooling for a few minutes on the baking sheet, remove to a rack to finish cooling and allow the candy to harden.