December 23rd, 2009

Cookies for Santa: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Toffee & Chewy Molasses Spice

cookies for santa

Photo: ilmungo

So, life was going smoothly. Even with a new baby at home. Holiday shopping was getting done. Decorations were put up. Hanukkah was celebrated without a hitch (my ChowBaby and I even found time to make Sufganiyot, home made jelly donuts). And holiday cookie dough was made and frozen in plenty of time for Christmas. Then, it hit. Hard. My super easy, teeny tiny ChowBaby stopped sleeping during the day. Not good. Please. Be. A. Phase.

I’m amazed at how incredibly far behind I’ve fallen in just one week of sleepless shenanigans. We’re suddenly three days from Christmas and I’m more a mess than I’ve been since he was born. Tired. Crabby. Stressed. Losing it. Yes, lovelies. I know you can hardly imagine me losing it, but it does happen every once and a while. (HA!) And the only thing keeping me sane right now is the cookie dough in my freezer.

I’m not kidding. It really is the cookie dough. See, it’s enabled me to provide visitors (who have grown accustomed to being fed at my house) with snacks when they would have otherwise gone hungry. It’s given me a sweet treat at the end of hard, stressful days. And, most importantly, my heavenly cookie dough ensures that, if nothing else, I’ll be able to salvage my favorite Christmas ritual: leaving warm, freshly baked cookies for Santa on Christmas eve night.

Who knows if my Christmas eve Seafood Risotto will happen. And I can only hope that I get to making the two pies I promised to bring to Christmas dinner (I can always bring them the dough that I just barely found time to make!) But no matter what, there will be cookies for Santa, damn it! This is the first year that Isaac is aware of our traditions and this one is important.

Though I’m becoming quite the baker (thank you very much!), developing my own recipes for delectable baked goodies is still new and often requires several tries. So, since I can’t leave sad-sack cookies for Santa, I turned to two of my favorite baking resources for cookies this busy little elf could count on: Martha and Smitten Kitchen.

I started with chocolate chip cookies. You are already familiar with my favorite recipe for these Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are a no-brainer. I made a double batch since they tend to go so fast. So should you.

Then I made these amazing Chocolate Toffee Cookies from Smitten to use up the bag of toffee chips I had in the cupboard (an unused impulse purchase from Thanksgiving). All I have to say is: YUUMMM.

No holiday cookie extravaganza is complete with out some holiday spice. These Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies by Martha hit the spot. Just one tip: press the cookie dough slightly flat before baking or they’ll come out puffed and cakey instead of flat and chewy, they way they should be I like them.

Enjoy!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe from Smitten Kitchen
(can be served to kids 12+ mos)

2 c organic all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c organic unsalted butter, melted
1 c organic brown sugar, packed
1/2 c organic cane sugar
1 tbsp organic vanilla extract
1 organic egg
1 organic egg yolk
2 c organic semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, cream melted butter, brown sugar, and cane sugar until well blended. Beat in vanilla, egg, and egg yolk with an electric mixer until light and creamy.

4. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter/egg mix until just blended.

5. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Place dough on prepped cookie sheets: 1/4 cup each for giant cookies or a tablespoon each for smaller ones. Each cookie should be about 3″ apart.

6. Bake larger cookies for 15-17 minutes, smaller ones for 10-12 minutes. Always check your cookies before taking them out—baking times will vary. The edges should be lightly toasted. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to wire racks where they can finish cooling.

Chocolate Toffee Cookies, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
(can be served to kids 12+ mos)

1/2 c organic flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb organic bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 c (1/2 stick) organic unsalted butter
1 3/4 c packed organic brown sugar
4 large organic eggs
1 tbsp organic vanilla extract
1 bag toffee chips, preferable chocolate covered
1 c organic walnuts, toasted, chopped
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. In the meantime, stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.

3. Stir in flour mixture, then toffee chips and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.

4. If freezing, drop batter by spoonfuls onto baking sheets. Place in freezer for a couple of hours, until frozen when you can drop all of the frozen dollops into a ziplock. Otherwise, preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Drop batter by spoonfuls onto sheets, spacing two inches apart. Sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt, if you’re using it. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Note: Deb offers a slice and bake option. If you do this, you can freeze the log and slice cookies off straight out of the freezer as you need them:

After struggling a bit to scoop these cookies, I rolled the dough into a log 1.5 inches in diameter and chilled it. When I was ready to bake the cookies, I cut it into 1/2-inch slices. You can store the dough log in the freezer, wrapped in waxed paper and then two layers of plastic wrap for up to a month, just baking the cookies off as you need. Cookies baked straight from the freezer may need an additional minute or two in the oven, depending on their thickness.

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies
recipe from Martha Stewart
(can be served to kids 12+ mos)

2 c organic all purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp organic ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp organic ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c organic sugar
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) organic unsalted butter, softened
1 large organic egg
1/4 c molasses

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a shallow bowl, place 1/2 cup sugar; set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and remaining cup of sugar until combined. Beat in egg and then molasses until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in dry ingredients, just until a dough forms.

3. Pinch off and roll dough into balls, each equal to 1 tablespoon. Roll balls in reserved sugar to coat.

4. Arrange balls on baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. [Remember my note about flattening these a little. Do it now.] Bake, one sheet at a time, until edges of cookies are just firm, 10 to 15 minutes (cookies can be baked two sheets at a time, but they will not crackle uniformly). Cool 1 minute on baking sheets; transfer to racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 4 days.

PS: My little ChowBaby has slept the entire time that I spent writing this. In fact, he’s been asleep for almost 3 hours and it’s daylight out. Oh my. Please tell me my easy little guy is back! Keep you posted…

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3 Responses

  1. [...] a try. I’ve already bookmarked them. I’m also going to try applying her tips to these Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies which didn’t come out quite as chewy as I [...]

  2. ShawnaC says:

    I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to say that I made the molasses cookies and they are by far the best cookies I’ve ever made in my life. These cookies inspired my husband to say “these things are AMAZING! Where did you find this recipe?” Which is the most animated response I’ve ever heard from him regarding food, and means quite a bit considering his mother is a professional pastry chef :)

  3. [...] Chocolate Toffee Cookies Vanilla Gingered Milk [...]

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