Christmas Cookies Galore!

I didn’t start baking until after 8pm tonight.
That makes for a long night of baking.
But, I think I’ve finally found my baking rhythm.
I finally have a system, so I have another batch of cookies ready to go in the oven, when the first batch comes out.
Makes it much easier, and doesn’t take an hour per cookie batch.
Helps to have multiple cookie sheets.
Though, chances of me starting my baking (3 different cookies baking) at 8pm, probably aren’t going to happen again.  
Here are the three different cookies I made tonight.
Peanut Butter Blossoms
 Recipe from Bakergirl

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Hershey kisses
1/4 cup granulated sugar to roll cookies in
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a bowl with a mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter. Then beat in egg and vanilla.
In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat until well blended.
Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls and roll in 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Set ball 1 1/2-inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly darker brown.
Place 1 chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie; dough may crack. Return to oven and continue to bake until chocolate is shiny and soft, about three more minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Peppermint/Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups Andes peppermint crunch chips
1/2 cup mini milk chocolate chips

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute.

Add flour mixture; mix until just combined.

Stir in the peppermint chips and mini chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.
Black and White Cookies

FOR THE COOKIES

2 cups cake flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest or 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (slightly stronger flavor)

1 cup milk

FOR THE ICING

3 ounces bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons honey

5 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

To make the cookies: 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar until well combined and light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time (scraping the bowl between additions, as needed), until fully incorporated. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until just combined, followed by half of the milk, mixing until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, ending with the final 1/3 of the flour mixture. Stir in the lemon zest (or extract) and vanilla extract until combined, being careful not to over mix.

Drop the batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto the prepared baking sheet(s), leaving 2 inches between the cookies. Bake until centers are firm and edges just begin to brown, 15-18 minutes. Cool the cookies for 2 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before icing. Once the cookies are completely cooled, flip them over.

To make the icing: 
Melt the chocolate in a small bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, bring the water and honey to a boil. Remove from heat and add half of the mixture into the sugar. Whisk until fully incorporated and smooth, adding more of the honey mixture, 1 teaspoon at a time, as needed. Stir in the vanilla extract. Add extra liquid very slowly to be sure that the icing doesn’t get runny.

Fill a decorating bag with a small amount of icing and snip off the end. Draw a straight line directly across the center of the bottom of each cookie. Return any extra icing to the bowl. Using a small offset spatula, spread vanilla icing over half of each cookie, filling it in up to the line.

Once all of the cookie have vanilla icing, stir the melted chocolate into the remaining vanilla icing. If needed, stir in any remaining honey mixture, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

Again using a small offset spatula, fill in the other half of the cookie with chocolate icing.

The Peanut Butter Blossoms were delicious, like normal. 
My favorite was the Peppermint Chip Cookies… yum!  I love me some peppermint!
I’m still on the fence with the Black and White cookies.  I couldn’t really taste the lemon flavor – and it was just kind of bland for me.  Maybe it was just that cookie?  I don’t know.  Plus, what a mess to make!  The one I showed was probably the prettiest of them all!  Yikes! 
Well, tomorrow I’m only baking one batch of cookies. 
I will probably make the dough for the ones that need to be refrigerated overnight – so I can do those on Thursday while hubby is home.  
For now, I’m exhausted, and just want to curl up in bed. 
Next year, I’m definitely starting earlier with the cookies.  And I’ll probably just stick to the ones I like and I know how to make.  We’ll see though, when that time comes.  
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