Christmas Baking, Part 2

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I’m done! I’m finally done! After three weeks of preparing, cracking eggs, stirring, rolling, baking, dipping… my treats are complete. The grand totals? Somewhere around the ball park of 150ish brownies, 80 lemon flavored cake balls, 100 chocolate cake balls, 60 chocolate chip cookies, 80 lemon cookies, 100 sugar spiral cookies all over the span of about 3 weeks. You can’t blame me for being a bit tired now, but if I don’t post this now I doubt I ever will and who knows, maybe someone can make one of these recipes on Christmas Eve and continue in my tradition. So without further ado, here are the recipes!

Let’s start with one of my new favorites: Chocolate Chip Cookies. This one is a little different from your traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe because it includes corn starch and Christmas M&Ms in the place of chocolate chips. I really love how soft these are.

Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies (Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup  light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

Directions:

  1. Toss together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl.
  2. In a medium size bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the egg, then the egg yolk. Finally, whisk in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft, yet thick. Fold in the chocolate chips. They may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter, but do your best to have them evenly dispersed among the dough. Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory.
  3. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. When you’re ready to put these in the oven, make sure to make these a bit taller than you usually would. This helps to keep them nice and thick and soft. Once you have these spaced 2 inches apart, shove them in the oven for about 12 minutes.
  6. Once the time is up, pull them out and keep these on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

Brownies

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For the brownies I decided to use my tried and true recipe found here. Once again they came out perfect, and they look so pretty with the Christmas M&Ms sprinkled all over the top!


Cake Balls!

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Cake balls are a holiday mainstay in my family. If I don’t make them, someone is bound to make a comment about how they’re missing. Personally I don’t like them as much as the rest of my family. Don’t get me wrong, they are mighty tasty, but I can never eat more than one or two before I just can’t handle it anymore.

For these, I’m not going to give a full recipe because I just use store bought cake mix and frosting and I am in no way ashamed. These things take forever to make and they are quite labor intensive even though they are really easy to make.  So let me give you a run down of how to get these done.

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Directions: 

  1. Bake your cake per your favorite recipe/box instructions.
  2. Wait for your cake to cool down a bit before crumbling it down semi finely.
  3. Stir in some complimentary frosting (in my case I made chocolate cake balls and lemon cake balls so I used chocolate cake with . You might not need all of what comes in your average can or recipe, you just need to get the cake to hold together.
  4. At this point you can chill the filling until you’re ready to dip, or make 1in balls and chill for at least an hour or until you’re ready to dip.
  5. Carefully melt your chocolate (or candy melts) either in a double boiler or in the microwave. I’m a fan of powering the microwave down to 50% to prevent burning or scorching and melting the chocolate in a tall mug. Ultimately you’ll want to put the melted chocolate in a tall skinny container to make dipping easier. Also, if you feel like your chocolate is too thick, add some canola oil to thin it out a little bit.
  6. Now it’s time to dip. I did try a variety of dipping tools this year and ultimately came out disappointed; my cake balls would just sink into the tools which is highly frustrating. The best tool that I’ve found has been the humble dinner fork.
  7. After dipping and making sure the ball is coated, make sure to get most of the excess off before flipping the fork a full 180 so that the ball falls onto a plastic wrap lined table/baking sheet. If there’s a blemish or if the ball isn’t completely coated, that’s okay! Use your dipping fork and just coax the melted chocolate into place before it hardens.  If you want to sprinkle something on top and have it stick, now is the time to do it. Otherwise you can leave them as is or drizzle some contrasting colored chocolate.
  8. Wait for these to completely harden before trying to move them.

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So that’s about it for now. There is no way I’m going to make anything else for Christmas especially given that everything has been packed up and shipped as needed. Happy holidays everyone! I hope you get a chance to enjoy the season with friends and family.

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