I recently organized a holiday cookie exchange here at Evermine. We had a great turn out and I was so pleased when a third of our employees signed up to bake their favorite recipes. The rules where simple. Bring in your cookies, your recipes to share, and a container to bring home other’s goodies. The key was that you had to “bake” in order to participate. A box of Oreos didn’t count. Traditionally you would bake one dozen cookies for each person, but since we had ten volunteers I decided to have each person bake only three dozen, so that way everyone got to take 3 cookies from each baker.
I used Evermine place cards as display cards for each cookie variety. Our bakers filled in there name and cookie flavor and placed them by their platters. I also made these adorable buttons, just for us. And believe me we had some jealous co-workers that day! Not to worry though we had plenty of extra cookies to share by the end of the day, and of course we had plenty of cold milk to wash it all down.
I brought in Gooey Butter cookies. As you may already know, I’m a huge fan of Gooey Butter Cake. It’s a child hood treat that I crave on occasion, and I found a great recipe to turn that cake into a delicious, moist, and rich cookie. The recipes was so versatile that I was able to make several flavors. Traditional, made with yellow cake mix, chocolate, spice, and red velvet.
I love recipes that are simple, so this one was a great fit for me. Since my daughter is almost two, and already exploring the world around her in a very grand way, I like to be in and out of the kitchen quickly, so I don’t miss a thing. She demands it! Baking three dozen still took me a while, so the baby gate went up, and I was diligent with the timer. I quickly devised a routine, and was able to spend time with my family while I was baking.
My favorite holiday music is Bing Crosby, so with Bing playing in the background I got to work:
Gooey Butter Cookies
• 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 stick butter, at room temperature
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 (18-ounce) box of cake mix (any flavor will do!)
• Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. Then beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Place on an un-greased cookie sheet, two-inches apart. Bake 12 minutes.
Tip: When baking lots of cookies I always make sure to make extra batter. The first batch never comes out just right. I call that the experimental batch. Once you’ve baked the first one, you’ll know if you need to turn the heat up or down or adjust your time. All ovens vary!
More holiday recipes & ideas…
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