A Christmas Tradition
Every Christmas, my mom would prepare a cookie plate for everyone at our family get-together. I was only allowed to watch her bake when I was young, but as I grew older, more and more of the responsibilities were transferred to me. Nowadays I find myself carrying on the Christmas cookie tradition myself, with a few minor changes in presentation to reflect my own preferences.
First, I’ve narrowed down the cookie selection to just a few favorites. Second, I no longer “plate” my cookies. Instead, I use gift boxes because they travel well and are easily customizable. And third, I’ve decided to make them extra impressive this year with some cute tags I found from My Own Labels.
Sometimes I’ll experiment around with different cookie recipes, but the mountain bar and whole wheat chocolate chip cookies are requested by my friends and family every year, so I always make sure to include them. I’ve decided to share these recipes with you this year in case you aren’t sure what to give for Christmas and need a good place to start.
Enjoy! And Merry Christmas.
Mountain Bar Cookies
Makes 3-4 dozen.
• 2 cups sugar
• 1/2 cup salted butter
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter
• 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lay out a long strip of wax paper on your counter-top or table.
Over low heat, place in a large saucepan the sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa powder. Once the butter has melted, increase the heat to medium-high and stir constantly until the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat and mix in the peanut butter and vanilla. Once the peanut butter has melted, add the oats and fold into the mixture until well incorporated.
Begin dropping the warm mixture onto the sheet of wax paper in heaping teaspoons. Allow the cookies to cool and set on the wax paper for several hours. Once hardened (they will have a matte finish), remove from the wax paper and serve.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
• 3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup of butter at room temperature
• 2 cups turbinado sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon vanilla
• 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
• 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375°F, and line a cookie sheet with a silpat mat, parchment, or grease.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix the ingredients together with a wire whisk.
In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Add the vanilla.
Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, and remove the bowl of the stand mixer. Fold in the rolled oats and the chocolate chips with a spatula. The mixture should feel a bit drier than normal cookie dough.
Drop the dough in small amounts (I like to use heaping teaspoons) onto the cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes until the edges are golden brown. With a spatula, remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.
To package, line your gift box with some festive tissue paper, and stack the cookies on their sides in rows. Cover them and close the box, decorating it however you’d like. I used wrapping paper, paper doilies, and rubber stamps. Wrap the decorated box with twine and attach your tag at the top.