Welcome to Day 1 of the Cookie Exchange Bonanza!
We have 6 days of recipes for the Cookie Exchange Bonanza left!
My Thanksgiving leftovers are gone, November is almost over, and that can only mean one thing… it’s time to get ready for the holidays.
Christmastime has always been a difficult time of year for me… there’s something about not being able to go outside without twelve layers on, the fact that you get cabin fever, everyone being stressed out trying to find the “right” gifts, and my dad playing Janis Joplin at 7 am every morning for a full week after Thanksgiving every year that really rubs me the wrong way. However, in recent years, I’ve found a great fix for the seasonal depressive episodes: making things.
And my favorite homemade project has always been cookies.
For the next seven days, I’ll be sharing recipes that go in my cookie boxes every year! So, grab your whisks and head out to Costco… you’ll need a lot of butter to make it through this week.
This is a classic holiday cookie recipe. They’re rich chocolate cookies packed with chocolate chips and rolled in confectioners’ sugar. They’re soft and chewy, and extra fudgy. The recipe I’m sharing today isn’t anything groundbreaking (a basic chocolate cookie recipe) which is why it’s so good! The bitterness of the cocoa powder mixed with the sweetness of the brown sugar gives it a nice sweet and salty quality that makes it impossible to have just one.
But by far, the best thing about this recipe (and most of the others I’ll post this week) is that you can store the dough in gallon Ziplock bags until you’re ready to scoop out cookies. Last year, I made cookies the first week of December and distributed them sporadically for the entire month… by the second or third week, my cookies were getting stale.
Recipes that allow for you to freeze the dough are helpful because if you only scoop out four or five each time you need to make a cookie exchange box, nobody gets stale cookies. Also, if I need a quick pick me up, I can get just one lump of cookie dough for an after-dinner treat.
The key to this recipe is to chill the cookie dough in your fridge for at least 3 hours so it isn’t super sticky when you go to roll it in the powdered sugar, and so that the cookies stay thick when you bake them. If you start them right now, you’ll be able to watch four episodes of Game of Thrones while they chill.
These ingredients will yield two dozen cookies… but let the record show that I typically make a double batch because I eat half of the cookies myself.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (scoop it into your measuring cup with a spoon so it isn’t packed, and then level it)
- 1/2 cup + 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I chop mine)
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, for rolling
- Start with 2 bowls. In your larger bowl bowl, beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy. Then, add the brown and granulated sugars and beat on medium high speed until the batter is fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
- In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
- On low speed, mix your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients. The dough will be thick!
- Switch to high speed, and beat in the chocolate chips.
- Chill the cookie dough for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator (or 1 in the freezer) and start up your Netflix queue.
- Preheat the oven when you take the cookie dough out. Then, let the dough sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes until it is easy to scoop and roll.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Scoop balls of dough (I use 1.5 T scoop so they all wind up the same size, but feel free to just dig in there with a spoon or your hands) and roll generously in confectioner’s sugar. Then, place them on the baking sheets about 1 inch apart.
- Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes, and cool them for 5 on the cookie sheet. They will deflate a little bit as they cool. Transfer them to a cooling rack until they cool completely.
Baked, covered and at room temperature: up to 1 week
Baked, covered and frozen: up to 3 months
Dough, covered and frozen: up to 3 months
Voila! The fudgiest, chocolatiest cookies you can eat. These are my family’s favorite for Christmas… but the fun doesn’t stop there. I made them just a few weeks ago and included peanut butter chips instead of chocolate at a coworker’s request. Feel free to include white chocolate, nuts, or chopped candies.
To really feel the holiday spirit like 17 year old June did, turn off all the overhead lights, light all the candles in your house, and just play “Me and my Bobby McGee” on repeat while the cookies chill. (Kidding– watch Game of Thrones! The other collaborators on this blog recommended it so highly that I have to get caught up before the summer hits.)