Friday, January 5, 2018

The Twelve Cookies of Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas! By Christmas, of course, I mean all twelve days of it! For the last three years I've been marking each day of Christmas with a different cookie or treat. It's a tradition that my family has really enjoyed and it gives me the opportunity to try out 12 new recipes! For 2017, I decided to up my game with this round-up post and a review of each recipe. I'm including links to all of the recipes I used and any modifications I made.

December 25th
On the first day of Christmas, I made Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies!

These were easy and fast to make on Christmas morning after the presents were open and before we headed over to my parents to spend the day with them. They are delicious, fudgy and festive. Everyone loved them and I think we only came home with two left.

December 26th
On the second day of Christmas, I made Peppermint Shortbread Cookies

If you've never made shortbread cookies, you'll probably be confused about how this dough comes together. Shortbread has almost no liquid in it. You cut the butter in to the flour, add flavors and additions and squeeze it all into a log shape and chill it. Then take it out, cut it in to slices and bake. I have made shortbread before, and I still had trouble with this recipe. It was quite crumbly and took a long time to get in to log form (not log like you think I mean log, you understand). I didn't use the andes mint chips specified, I substituted white chocolate chips (chopped) and crushed candy canes. I also used a few drops of red food color. As you can see, they just didn't come out very pretty. They look like raw chicken patties! They still tasted good, but I like the Cranberry Orange Shortbread cookies I made last year way better. 

December 27th
On the third day of Christmas, I made Gingerbread Cookie Dough Truffles!

Do you like gingerbread? You'll love them. They are great, I just had a hard time coating them evenly. I used melted white chocolate chips to coat them instead of the specified candy melts (which are whiter). I'm accustomed to coating buckeyes, where I get to leave a hole at the top, so trying to coat them all over without leaving marks was a challenge for me.

December 28th
On the fourth day of Christmas, I made Cream Cheese Mints!

This recipe was a disaster from start to finish. First, the blogger who wrote this recipe did one of my pet peeves when they posted it. They didn't include a printable recipe. It's so annoying to go to print and have the printer say "32 pages" then have to go and hunt out the pages you want out of 17 full page photos. Ugh! Second, the recipe said it made ~250 mints! No thanks! I cut that down to a quarter of the recipe, wrote it into a word doc (eliminating cutesy extraneous details) and printed it like that. Now to the making. I mixed everything up and then found out I had used my last piping bag. No problem! I'll just cut the corner off a Ziploc like I always do! Well that was a disaster. The recipe is MUCH thicker than the egg yolk I usually pipe (in deviled eggs) so trying to get it through the star tip in a Ziploc made the bags blow out the seams. After trying with a normal bag and a freezer bag and having it explode on my hands twice, I ditched the star tip and started just piping little dots. After they were piped, they set up in the freezer and then were to be stored in the fridge. They didn't really "set up" in the way that I was expecting, they just froze and then when thawed reverted back to soft, not set form. And they don't taste like the little after dinner mints I was expecting. They taste like toothpaste. I hate giving bad feedback but really, don't waste your time on this recipe. It's not good.

December 29th
On the fifth day of Christmas, I made "Rudolph" Cookies with the kids!

Obviously, our cookies don't exactly look like reindeer. I followed the recipe to the letter for the cookies, making dough balls "just smaller than a golf ball" and they turned out very large. To compound this error, I bought "Itty Bitty Mini" pretzels from Synder's of Hanover because generally, every time I've made reindeer type cookies, the mini pretzels are too big! We also used pre-made eyes in a package instead of making them from mint M&M's. The kids had a BLAST decorating these and they were completely delicious. Definitely a win, and no one cared that they looked like bears instead of reindeer.

December 30th
On the sixth day of Christmas, I made Pumpkin Gingerbread Biscotti!

This was my first time making biscotti and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be! They turned out great, the flavor is delicious. They were a little hard by themselves but that's kind of how biscotti is! Great when dunked in coffee!

December 31st
On the seventh day of Christmas, I made White Chocolate Fudge with Cranberries and Pistachios!

This was a very simple and delicious fudge recipe. The flavor of the white chocolate tended to dominate over the pistachios and cranberries so if I made it again, I'd probably increase the amount of mix ins to give it more intense flavor.

January 1st
On the eighth day of Christmas, I made Grinch Cookies!

I have to be honest, I only put these on the list because Liam heard the story of the Grinch for the first time this year and he was really in to it. This was such an easy recipe and everyone LOVED them. For me, I thought they were just too plain and I had a really hard time finding a good sized heart sprinkle/ candy. I also would have baked them for at least 3 more minutes if I made them again.

January 2nd
On the ninth day of Christmas, I made Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies!

I have had this recipe pinned FOREVER but I've never made it until now. They are delicious! It's just a really good chocolate cake cookie rolled in chocolate sprinkles before baking. Pure, simple, perfect!

 January 3rd
On the tenth day of Christmas, I made Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies!

 It's easy to look at this recipe and all it's fancy pictures and be intimidated. They were surprisingly easy to make and obviously, stunning. Using store bought caramels instead of making your own really simplifies things and makes it accessible for the masses. I made caramel once and said "NEVER AGAIN!" Other recipe notes: I'm not convinced the egg white wash is necessary to make the pecans stick, the dough is pretty sticky on it's own. I'd probably eliminate this step next time and see what happens. These taste AMAZING! Try them, you won't regret it.

January 4th
On the eleventh day of Christmas, I made Chocolate Kiss Powder Puff Cookies! I combined two recipes: Chocolate Kiss Powder Puff Cookies (using a premade pie crust, something I can't stand) and Snowball Christmas Cookies

I think the combination of the two recipes REALLY made a great cookie. Supposedly Russian Tea Cakes are "just like Pillsbury pie crusts in a can" but I'm not buying it. My Mom would never abide me buying a pie crust and pie crust cookies just aren't that good. Basically, I used the second recipe and stuffed the balls with a Hershey Kiss. They are really, really good. Light and buttery, with a chocolate surprise inside!

January 5th
On the twelfth day of Christmas I made Nutmeg Log Cookies!

These were not what I was expecting. I thought they'd be like soft batch sugar cookies with nutmeg but they're actually more like shortbread cookies with nutmeg (but a little softer). They're really good but if I made them again, I'd make the frosting a looser consistency, it was too firm!

There you have it! The Twelve Cookies of Christmas 2017!

Family Rankings:
Me: Red Velvet Chocolate Chip
Jeff: Grinch
Liam: Rudolph Cookies
Makayla: Salted Caramel Thumbprint