Christmas Cookies

cinnamon chocolate chunk cookies and ginger spice cookies

This year I got a few recipes from a random book “Christmas with Southern Living 1998”, which my mom found on my grandmother’s bookcase. One recipe was for a twist on the standard chocolate chip. I didn’t add the walnuts, as I don’t like the texture of nuts in baked goods.

CHEWY CHOCOLATE-CINNAMON COOKIES

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 (3.9 oz) package chocolate instant pudding mix
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 (11.5 oz) package semisweet chocolate chunks/mega morsels
1 (2.5 oz) package walnut pieces (toasted and chopped, 2/3 cup) – OPTIONAL

Beat butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars and pudding mix, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
Combine flour, soda and cinnamon; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended (do not overbeat). Stir in chocolate morsels and walnuts.
Drop dough by tablespoons onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 9 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets 1 minute. Remove cookies to wire racks; cool completely. Yields 5 dozen.

The ginger spice cookies were NOT from scratch. I don’t usually bake anything from a mix, but these looked really good, and the ingredients were all natural.

My first vegan recipe

Christina is a vegetarian and requested a vegan cake. I found this recipe online. Shockingly moist and delicious. I couldn’t find a vegan frosting recipe that didn’t sound disgusting, so I just used powdered sugar.

chocolate chip vegan cake

VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
½ package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease one 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar, and water. Mix together until smooth. Stir in half a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pan completely.

Generously sprinkle top with powdered sugar. Serve.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

It was Sabel’s birthday; her choice was this Southern classic. The recipe does not originate from Germany. The “German” refers to the type of chocolate used. I got the recipe from old reliable Betty Crocker. By the way, Sabel’s birthday was months ago. My 2011 New Year’s resolution is too update this site for 2010.

traditional style

Frosted sides with chocolate fudge frosting

Dirt Dessert: Compost Cake & Garden of Eaten

It was Sara’s birthday. She apparently decided to channel her inner 4-year-old and requested a “dirt cake” for her birthday. I couldn’t remember ever having one, but my mother recently reminded me that we did, in fact, make one for my little brother when he was about 7 or 8.

The recipe I used was a slightly modified version from Martha Stewart. Everyone seemed to like it, so I guess it’s a success for children and adults (or maybe just adults who think they are still children).

I decided to forgo the usual flower pot presentation. I used a 8″x8″ Pyrex baking pan for my “compost cake” and a 9″x13″ pan for my garden themed dirt cake, which Allie called my “Garden of Eaten”.

Ingredients

2 – 16 oz packages Oreo cookies

12 oz cream cheese, room temperature

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

4 – 3.9 oz packages instant chocolate pudding

4 3/4 cups milk, room temperature

16 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a food processor, finely chop up cookies until they resemble dirt. (The frosting in the middle will get coated with cookie crumbs and become invisible.)

In a very large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Stir until creamy. (If the ingredients aren’t at room temperature, you’ll have a hard time combining them.)

In another large bowl, whisk together instant-pudding mixes and the milk until well blended.

Using a rubber spatula, fold pudding mixture into the very large bowl of cream cheese mixture. Combine until well mixed and color is evenly brown.

Fold in the whipped cream until well mixed and color is evenly light brown.

In your baking pan or flower pot, alternate layers of cookie crumbs with the pudding mixture. Your first and last layer should be the cookie crumbs.

Chill for atleast 4 hours, but preferably overnight before decorating and serving.