I’ve never thought of myself as a serious or expert baker–It’s one of those things I’ve liked to do ever since my mom let me help make brownies or chocolate chip cookies. Since then, I’ve liked trying my hand at all sorts of cookies, pastries, cakes and breads. I think of everything I’ve attempted, cookies and breads are what I do best…Cupcakes aren’t too difficult, although my cake-making and decorating skills leave a lot to be desired. I haven’t tackled much in the way of pastries, other than pies, although I think I make a decent-enough pie crust.
So I found it very flattering when Allison asked if I’d bake cookies for this weekend. Brookings readers will more than likely know what I’m talking about, however, the article to which I was going to link publishes more information than I care to share about a friend of mine. So let’s just leave it at that.
I’m enough of a geek that immediately, I started thinking of what would be good holiday-themed cookies, that wouldn’t be overly time-consuming or difficult. Chocolate chip cookies are easy enough, even when substituting red and green M&Ms, and there aren’t too many people who dislike them. Gingersnaps (to me) smack of winter and warm comfort, so I thought those would be a nice fit. Frosted sugar cookies are always a hit, although my decorating skills are limited to sprinkles or candy pieces. And finally, I thought some shortbread-type cookies would be good too. Allison agreed with all the ideas, so I got myself all geared up to bake 200 cookies.
I went and got some ingredients:
I do wish I had had more time to get the cookies done–Butter was on sale Thursday and Friday! But my game plan was to start Wednesday with making the dough for the sugar cookies–Janean, one of my coworkers, gave me a recipe for soft sugar cookies–Because it had to chill at least 8 hours, if not longer. I figured I’d leave it overnight. Once that was done, I washed some dishes and planned to start the gingersnaps. I mentioned earlier that I didn’t read the recipe clearly enough, and didn’t realize I needed shortening, not butter. So instead, I made the Happy Jacks cookies.
I doubled the batch, just to make sure I had plenty, and wound up with a LOT of extras. Which was good, because I had a vulture-bambino circling the tabled wanting to know when he could have one! After that, I was done for the evening, both in terms of what I wanted to accomplish as well as being exhausted, so I went to bed.
Thursday night was Gingersnap and sugar cookie night. I did the gingersnaps first, and thought those turned out rather well:
However, the recipe said it made approximately 48 cookies. I got 44. I decided I’d just supplement with a few more of the Happy Jacks cookies, since I had plenty of those. Then it was time for the sugar cookies:
This was some of the softest cookie dough I’ve worked with in a long time–My kitchen was a disaster when I was done! But they are SO soft. And I got exactly 50 of them, which I was thrilled about. Janean gave me permission to post the recipe, so later today, I will do just that.
I took last night off, to have dinner with Melissa, Jessica and Katie. Unfortunately, Katie wasn’t able to make it, but the three of us decided we’ll have another dinner date when she is able to come and hang out. They both teased me about the fact that I didn’t photograph my dinner, but I decided that I didn’t really want to be in food blogger mode and instead just wanted to have a fun dinner with my friends. That meant getting up early this morning to get cracking on the last few things I had to do–Make the M&M cookies, and actually decorate the sugar cookies. I started with the sugar cookies, since I figured the actual decorating was going to take the most time:
I thought they turned out very well. And I couldn’t help myself…I had to sample one once I got it frosted and sprinkled (Sorry Allison!). It was SO good. Soft, crumbly, and just the right amount of sweetness. Almost cake-like, but not quite. Then I started on the M&M cookies.
I just used the Nestle Toll House cookie recipe subbing M&Ms for the chocolate chips. I forgot they’d bleed a little. They seem to taste okay, from the couple I sampled (I had a batch that didn’t cooperate, but I’ll elaborate more on that later). I am officially now DONE…Except for having to call Allison and let her know. With that, I am going to go and shower, then take the bambino over to Buttercrust and see what they have today (plus, we’re out of milk)!