Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What I'm Cooking Wednesday: Christmas Treats

I decided to start something new here at Called to Serve: "What I'm Cooking Wednesday." Every Wednesday I will share at least one recipe from something I cooked or baked during the week.

I'm doing this for a few reasons: 1. It will keep me accountable to cook or bake at least one new or interesting dish each week. 2. I can share some recipes with all of you lovely ladies, and 3. I can use my blog as a record of my own recipes! I don't know how many times in the past two years that I've lost track of a recipe, searched the name of the recipe in my blog, and found the it or a link to it there!

This week I'm featuring two of my favorite Christmas treats: Peanut Butter Blossoms and Double Layer Peppermint Bark.

Truth be told, I made these on Saturday, took some down to my grandma that evening, and somehow the rest of them almost all mysteriously disappeared in four days! These are some of the easiest Christmas cookies to make, and probably some of the best. The chocolate/PB combination is my favorite combination of flavors in the whole world.

So here's the recipe...

Serves: 48
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Preheat Oven to: 350 degrees F

1/2 c. butter-flavored Crisco
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
extra sugar in a bowl
48 Kisses (of the Hershey's variety ;-))

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. Cream together shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 c. sugar. Then add egg, milk, and vanilla. Mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add this to the cream mixture. Beat on low speed until a stiff dough forms.
4. Shape into 1" balls. roll in the bowl of extra sugar until they are completely covered. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, a couple of inches apart.
5. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Immediately after removing from oven, place a Hershey's Kiss atop each cookie. Press down firmly. Remove from cookie sheets to cool.

And voila...4 dozen delicious cookies in less than an hour! As a side note, make sure you let them fully cool before you move them too much. I jostled a few of them too violently and the halfway-melted chocolate got messed up. Of course the two cookies that this happened to were completely ruined, and I had to get rid of them somehow ;-) I must say, though, that the chocolate tasted even better when it was all melty and gooey and messy!

Next up...

This is such a perfectly Christmasy treat. The ratio of chocolate : peppermint is superb. And I, for one, am not a huge fan of white chocolate. So the layer of semi-sweet chocolate underneath was an added bonus for me!

Serves: 20
Prep Time
: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes + 2 hours of chill time = 2 hrs, 10 min.

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 tsp oil, divided
1/2 tsp peppermint extract, divided
8 oz. white chocolate, broken into pieces (white chocolate chips work too, because this is all I could find!)
10 candy canes, crushed

1. Lightly grease a 9x9" pan, and line with wax paper. Smooth out wrinkles and set aside. (DON'T forget to line it with wax paper! Speaking from experience here, people! Haha)
2. Place semisweet chocolate and 1 tsp oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Then stir in 1/4 tsp of the peppermint extract. Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan, and sprinkle half of the crushed candy canes in the chocolate. Carefully press the pieces down. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Place white chocolate and 1 tsp. oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Then stir in 1/4 tsp peppermint extract. Pour the white chocolate directly over the semi-sweet chocolate layer, and smooth evenly. Sprinkle the remaining peppermint pieces on top, and press in. Chill for another hour. Remove from pan and break into small pieces.

And if you are like me and skimmed through the original recipe (I found the original one on allrecipes, but tweaked it to make it my own) and somehow missed the part where you're supposed to put wax paper under the chocolate, it's an easy situation to fix. I simply put the glass pan in the microwave for 10 or 15 seconds, and the chocolate melted enough to slide right out of the pan, but not enough to become too ugly. Ha!

Delicious! It's like Christmas on a plate. (Line adapted from The Proposal)

Come back next Wednesday for Russian Tea Cakes! Some of you were wondering what Russian Tea Cakes are. And my answer is: little spheres of heaven. Oh wait, is that not specific enough? ;-) they are balls of butter and walnuts and powdered sugar, topped with even more powdered sugar. They melt in your mouth, and honestly, I feel like I'm taking a bite out of a cloud whenever I eat them ;-) They are my all-time favorite Christmas cookie! Here's a picture of some I made last year (and looking back, I see that my picture-taking abilities have indeed improved in the past 365 days!)

Happy Wednesday! What are you cooking today?


  1. Mm, thanks for the peppermint bark recipe! It's my new Christmas obsession, and I was planning on making some myself in the next few days!

  2. Oh yay! I'm so glad you're going to do this...I love new recipes! I just finished a 2 day baking palooza...and my new favorite was sugar coated pecans. Can't wait to make them again so I can post the recipe!

  3. Yum! I was thinking of making some peanut butter blossoms this weekend, so thanks for the recipe! Also, did the peanut butter cookie part come out chewy or more hard? I've had the toughest time finding a recipe that is chewy.

  4. Brittney - Yes, they did turn out a little bit on the crunchy. Still delicious, though! But I'm like you, and would prefer them to be a little bit more chewy. So if you find a recipe for chewier, softer cookies, let me know, and I'll let you know if I find out :-) Have fun baking!!

  5. Yum, the bark looks so good!!! The tea cakes sound delicious, can't wait to see you blog about them! (recipe, right? ;-) )

  6. Mmmm, they both look yummy! I'll definitely be looking forward to your Wednesday posts! :)

  7. Yum! They look delicious! I wanted to try a peppermint bark recipe. Thanks for sharing girly :-)


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