Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's a start

Christmas cookie baking has officially begun at our house. Whenever I begin my holiday baking, I always begin with what we call "powdered sugar cookies". Technically the recipe is entitled "Pecan Cookie Balls", but I can't think of them any other way than just plain "powdered sugar cookies". To me these are the ultimate Christmas cookie. When I was younger, that was the one cookie that I would always look forward to my mom making for us. One bite of them just says "Christmas" to me.

The second type of cookies that I made are called "Magic in the Middles". This recipe came from a Rachael Ray magazine a couple of years ago. It is soooo good. Peanut butter is in the middle of each rich, delicious chocolate cookie:

We are just getting started though. I hope to many more varieties of cookies and candy in the next few days. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas .....

Pecan Cookie Balls (aka Powdered Sugar Cookies)

Cream 1 cup butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Stir in 2 cups sifted flour, 1/8 tsp. salt, 2 cups finely chopped pecans, and 2 tsp. vanilla. Mix well. Shape the stiff dough into small balls. Place on a greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet, and bake in 350 deg. oven for 12-15 min. Remove from pan and carefully roll the hot cookies in powdered sugar. Cool, then roll again in powdered sugar. Store in a tight container.

Magic in the Middles

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus more for dipping)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 deg. Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together granulated and brown sugars, butter, and 1/4 cup peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, beating to combine. Stir in dry ingredients, blending well. Set dough aside. Stir together remaining 3/4 cup peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth. With floured hands, roll peanut butter mixture into 26 (1-inch) balls. Break off about 1 tablespoon cookie dough; make an indentation in the center with thumb, and press a peanut butter ball into indentation. Wrap dough up and over filling, pressing to seal. Roll cookie to smooth it out. Repeat for each cookie. Dip top of each cookie in granulated sugar, and place 2" apart on a lightly greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet. Used greased bottom of glass to flatten each cookie to about 1/2" thickness. Bake at 375 deg. 7 to 9 minutes or until set. Let cool on wire rack.


Sheila said...

I love baking during the holiday season; it is the ultimate memory maker. Most all of my childhood Christmas memories involve something my Mom baked.

I just came across a recipe for cookies with peanut butter in the middle that look similar to the Magic in the Middles. I will compare the recipes; anything with peanut butter is worth making:)

Valerie said...

Will you share the recipe for the Magic in the Middles cookies? Yours look slightly different (two kinds of dough) than one I found online? Thank you! Enjoy all your little posts and creativity!

Monica said...

Valerie -- I actually did post the recipe for the "Magic in the Middles"; but it doesn't look like I set it off enough from the other. I will do that right now. I tried to e-mail you, but wasn't able to find an e-mail address anywhere. I hope you see this note. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

koralee said...

Yummmmm...your cookies are so amazing. I have been baking too...tis the season I guess.

I just wanted to stop by and thank you so so much for your sweet caring comment you left on my blog..we do miss our Rosie but your love has brightened my day...thank you.

Iva said...

I love to bake during the holidays! thank you for sharing!!