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.