Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Cookies Galore!

During the holiday season, one of my all time favorite things to do is bake cookies. Two years ago a few friends came over and we baked all day. It was such a great time and so nice to be able to share the freshly baked treats with friends and coworkers. I couldn't let another bake-less year go by so it was game on Monday night!

I've been happily searching Pinterest and food blogs for weeks and found the perfect selection of sweet holiday treats. After a quick run to the grocery store, Lauren, Ashley and I were on a roll. (Pun intended.)

We started with Peanut Butter Blossoms. We made these during our last cookie extravaganza but sadly, our past knowledge failed us and we burned our first batch. Oops! Luckily, the rest were great.

Next, we focused our efforts on Red Velvet Cheesecake filled cookies! After prepping one batch of dough we realized we needed to double the recipe which was perfect since red velvet cake mix was buy one get one free! We'll get back to these cookies later.

Once mixed,  the batter went in the fridge for two hours and we moved on to Chocolate Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies. These are seriously one of the best cookies EVER!! I personally love thin mint Girl Scout cookies and these babies blow them out of the water! It's the same great taste but soft and chewy. Yummmmmy!!!

Left: Chocolate Chocolate Mint Chip; Right: Peanut Butter Blossom

As if our fat girl fest wasn't bad enough, we opted for one more cookie - a secret weapon of sorts. A Mint Oreo Cookie Stuffed INSIDE a Chocolate Chip Cookie!! Talk about sensory overload! They came out of the oven looking like giant chocolate chip mushrooms and tasted like pure chocolatey mint heaven. The ringer: they took like 5 minutes to make! You literally wrap pre-made (or homemade) chocolate chip cookie dough around the Oreo until its completely covered, place it on a cookie tray and bake on 350 degrees for 11 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Once cooled, you'll definitely want to take a bite to see how awesome they look on the inside!!

Mint Oreo Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies!

We weren't quite done yet. While the red velvet dough was refrigerating, we prepped the cream cheese filling. Check out the recipe for full details. I have to say, it was a lot of fun scooping, flattening, filling then rolling the cookies. They baked to perfection (seriously, look at the pics!) and tasted amazing. The texture of the cookie was much like whoopie pie, soft and gooey! We opted out of the glazed topping since we planned to bag the cookies up as gifts. Regardless, they were great!

This is one recipe I have to simple yet so delicious!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookie Recipe:
1 box red velvet cake mix
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cheesecake filling:
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
2) In a large bowl combine cake mix and flour. Whisk until clumps disappear. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake mix, flour, eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. The dough will be pretty thick and oily, which is what you want. Place the dough in ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least two hours.
3) In the meantime,  make the cheesecake filling, using a mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. I did this after making my other cookies.
4) Once dough as set, take a ice cream scoop and make balls of dough, about 3 tablespoons each. Flatten balls with your hand then using a teaspoon, scoop out cheesecake filling and place in the center of the flatten dough. Gently wrap the dough around the filling until fully closed and place on the baking sheet.
5) Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the cookies begin to crackle. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

The complete Red Velvet Cookie Process

After four hours and only one minor mess up we had about 85 cookies and suffered from major sugar overdoses! No complaints here.  It really was a great time...even eating them for four consecutive days. That is what the holidays are all about, right? Now get your butt in the kitchen and make some of these! Christmas is only six days away!

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