My Mom is a master Christmas cookie baker.  For as long as I can remember, she has made about 10 different kinds of cookies every year.  And then for a while there were also homemade candies and spanakopitas.  I could go on, but I will probably gain a few pounds just reminiscing.

Not only does she bake like a madwoman, she does it all in one big wave.  Until this year, I thought that this was how it had to be done.  Not because she said so, but because she did so.  If she could make all of that stuff,  homemade bread (sans breadmaker), jam and pickles and handle cloth diapers, why can’t I?

I am a different brand of Mom, that’s why.  No better, no worse, just different. ( And my husband has very strong opinions about cloth diapering.  I wanted to try it, but it didn’t fly.)

This year, I decided to make one kind of cookies at a time.  Maybe one per week, then flash freeze the whole batch and throw them in ziploc bags in the chest freezer.  This has made life much easier.

Since my Mom is making the standard family favorites, I am branching out a touch and tried two new kinds this year.  The first was Eggnog Drop Cookies.

Now I realize that eggnog is just one of those things that people feel strongly about.  I will be honest, if I think about the “egg” part, I kind of get grossed out.  But in moderation, I actually enjoy it.  Another thing that people feel strongly about is nutmeg.  This recipe does not have nutmeg in it per se, but mace, which (according to my quick Googling) is the outer covering of the nutmeg nut and it is actually stronger in flavor… so you just use less, I guess.  I like these cookies.  They give you the flavor of the drink, are fully cooked so as to eliminate heebie-jeebies of consuming “raw” egg, are chewy and super easy.

Photo credit: UCreate Foods

Eggnog Drop Cookies (adapted from Ucreate Foods)

 

1/2 c.       unsalted butter, softened

1 c.           sugar

1/2 t.       salt

1/2 scant t.  mace

1 1/2 t.    vanilla extract

1              egg

1/4 c.     full fat eggnog

1 t.          baking soda

2 c.       flour

*Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Beat butter, sugar, salt, mace and vanilla extract together until fluffy.  Mix in the egg and eggnog.  Mix in baking soda, then beat in four until just combined.

*Drop rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle dough very lightly with mace and bake 10 minutes or until golden around the edges.  Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then move to a cooling rack.

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Keeping with the beverage-themed cookies, I chose to make Hot Chocolate Cookies next.  I found these at The Girl Who Ate Everything (surprised??) as a guest post from The Cookbook Queen.  Since Ella is obsessed with hot chocolate, I knew I’d make them.  They are super good, but with 4 kinds of chocolate, that kind of goes without saying, doesn’t it?

Photo from The Girl Who Ate Everything and The Cookbook Queen

Hot Chocolate Cookies (adapted from Cookbook Queen)

2 sticks      butter, room temperature

1 c.              sugar

2/3 c.         light brown sugar

2                  eggs

1 t.              vanilla

3 1/4 c      flour

4                1 oz. packets hot chocolate (NOT sugar-free)

1 t.             salt

1 1/4 t.     baking soda

1 c. each  white, milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips

mini marshmallows for garnish

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Cream butter and sugars until smooth.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, hot chocolate mix, salt and baking soda.  Add wet ingredients in 3 to 4 parts, making sure all is incorporated.  Fold in chips.  Chill the dough for about an hour.

*Use a 1/4 cup to scoop the dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment.  Bake 9 – 11 minutes until edges are golden brown.  If you add marshmallows, press them into the cookies about one minute before they are finished baking.  When marshmallows are slightly puffed, remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

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The only cookies my husband has requested are the sugar cookies that my Mom and I make every year.  There are so many variations on sugar cookies and I have not seen a recipe quite like the one we use, so I will be posting it a little later with a fun little decorating idea.

Happy baking!

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