Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

With just a few weeks to go till baby girl makes her debut I am all about easy recipes and shortcuts right now. When Pillsbury asked if anyone had any simple recipes to share for the holidays I knew this was for me! (Click here to see all the cookie ideas — there are definitely more I want to make!) These cookies have one of my favorite combinations, and the colors can be changed up for any celebration. The fact that Kiddo can easily help me with them makes me love them all the more.

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 chub Pillsbury peanut butter cookie dough
  • Red and green chocolate candies
  • Colored sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Sprinkle colored sugars onto plates
  3. Scoop up about an ounce of cookie dough and tuck a few chocolate into the middle. Roll the dough between your hands to make a ball with the candies hidden inside; repeat with remaining dough until you have 16 cookies, about 1 1/2” each.
  4. Roll each cookie in colored sugar so all sides are covered. Place 2” apart on parchment lined cookie sheet without flattening dough.
  5. Bake at 350° till golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for two minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips:

  • This is a great project for kids! They can poke in the candies, roll the dough, and love working with the sugar.
  • Customize the colors of the sugar for any holiday or team! What about taking these to a tailgate?
  • When baking with kids, use a pencil to mark an X on the underside of the parchment paper where each cookie should go; the mark will show through and show kids where to place cookies so they’re well spaced.
  • Colored sugar is found in the grocery store baking aisle, or can be easily made by stirring a couple drops of food coloring into 1/4 cup of white sugar (that’s what we did).

Cherry chocolate cookies

Are these not the happiest little cookies you’ve seen in a long time?

The Kiddo and I were having lunch with our friend Sarah, and we wanted to send her back to college with some goodies. I hadn’t tried this recipe before, but it looked like something Kiddo could easily help with, so we gave it a shot. Huge success! The original recipe called for chocolate icing over the cherries, but they were so colorful and pretty I didn’t have the heart to cover them up.

Cherry chocolate cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 (10-ounce) jar maraschino cherries

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Cream together butter and sugar on low speed until light and fluffy; add egg and vanilla and mix well till completely incorporated
  3. Stir together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; add mixture to butter and sugar mixture and stir until combined
  4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Make a dent in the middle of each cookie with your thumb
  5. Drain the cherries, remove any stems and cut cherries in half; put one half cherry in the middle of each cookie
  6. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes; cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

I used my very smallest cookie scoop to shape these and got 40 cookies. Sarah reports these, with coffee, are the breakfast of champions. :)

Nutella shortbread bites

It’s been at least a week since I posted a recipe with Nutella! What am I thinking? I can stop anytime I want. Ahem.

ANYWAY!

This will shock you, but this is a ridiculously easy recipe; a riff on the also ridiculously easy shortbread two ways.

Nutella shortbread bites

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. Nutella
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour (unsifted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Cream the butter until the color lightens, then cream in powdered sugar, then Nutella, then vanilla, then flour
  3. Knead briefly without adding any flour until dough is smooth (look for it to be a uniform color)
  4. Scoop dough by the teaspoon onto a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet — they’re fine just left as little rounds, no need to flatten them out
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until very lightly browned, then transfer to a wire rack to cool
  6. Eat as is, or dust with powdered sugar as below:

These are AWESOME with coffee. Or for breakfast. Or after supper. Or as a snack. Or, um, well you get the idea.

Shortbread two ways

I got a new shortbread pan from King Arthur Flour last week and it included a recipe booklet. I had NO idea shortbread was so easy to make! The Yankee has taken several batches to work already, with more requested. Check this out!

Classic shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla or maple syrup
  • 1 cup flour (unsifted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Cream the butter until the color lightens, then cream in powdered sugar, then vanilla, then flour
  3. Knead briefly without adding any flour until dough is smooth
  4. Press dough into nonstick sprayed pan and prick surface with a fork
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes until lightly browned, and cool in the pan for 10 minutes; turn onto a wooden cutting board and cut immediately (if you wait till it cools it will fall apart when you cut it)

For even more easy fun, try out some chocolate shortbread!

Chocolate shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour (unsifted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Cream the butter until the color lightens, then cream in powdered sugar, then cocoa powder, then vanilla, then flour
  3. Knead briefly without adding any flour until dough is smooth
  4. Press dough into nonstick sprayed pan and prick surface with a fork
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes until lightly browned (make sure the edges do not brown too much), and cool in the pan for 10 minutes; turn onto a wooden cutting board and cut immediately (if you wait till it cools it will fall apart when you cut it)

Enjoy, and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Chocolate chippers

Isn’t that the most fabulous name? It just makes me smile. On a recent impromptu stop into The Roost in Nolensville I may have nearly hyperventilated at seeing this book:

The Better Homes and Gardens New cook Book, copyright 1953. My mother had this book and I just adored looking though the pictures when I was a little girl; I’ve been looking for another copy for years and years. I thought the candy page was the prettiest food I’d ever seen.

My mother thought it more appropriate for us to eat such things as oat bran and tofu. I’ll let you browse the dessert pages of One Particular Kitchen and come to your own conclusion about that. ;)

On to the cookies in the book! This is a super easy recipe, and Kiddo had a BALL helping me out.

 

Chocolate chippers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 oz. chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Cream shortening, sugars, egg and vanilla till light and fluffy. Add in dry ingredients, mixing well, then mix in chocolate chips
  3. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet (or greased cookie sheet) and bake at 375 for 9-12 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.

The recipe said this makes about 3 1/2 dozen; I got a little less than that. These are light and crispy and just fabulous. Even the Kiddo, who has been known to shun any chocolate chip cookies that “look different,” ate these right up to the tune of four in one sitting.

Flourless Nutella cookies and crisps

I came across a Food & Wine recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies in The Tennessean over Christmas and jotted it down. Then I thought — hey! NUTELLA! Because, you know, it’s Nutella. How could it NOT be good?

Because these are flourless they crisp up a lot as they cool. You can control the thickness with cooking time; around 10 or 11 minutes gets you a thicker cookie; more than 12 minutes gets you a crisp, thin wafer. Both are crispy after they cool, and both are fabulous. Make a tray of each and see what you like.

Flourless Nutella cookies and crisps

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and drop by tablespoon on parchment lined cookie sheets
  2. Bake at 350F, but don’t go far! These go from cookie to crisp in seconds, so watch for when they rise and start cracking on top
  3. Take them out just after cracking for a thicker result, or let them rise, crack and fall for thinner crisps.

Cappuccino fudge crinkles

Kiddo and I had the urge to make cookies, and since he doesn’t actually eat any of them, I get to pick the recipes. This one jumped right off the page at me, I swear: cookies plus chocolate plus coffee? Sign me up.

This one is from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook — you know, the red and white one. It’s a classic.

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 packed cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee (I used two packets of Starbucks VIA sent to me gratis by the awesome Maris)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

To make:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. With a mixer, beat butter on medium to high speed for about 60 seconds to soften it up, then add in brown sugar, cocoa powder, coffee, baking soda, and cinnamon (not granulated sugar). Beat till combined, scraping bowl as necessary
  3. Add in egg whites and yogurt, and beat till combined
  4. Add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating till just combined (if you’re using a hand mixer you may need to finish off with a wooden spoon — the batter gets pretty thick and sticky)
  5. Pour granulated sugar in a shallow bowl, then drop teaspoons of the cookie dough into the sugar, a few at a time. Roll the dough into balls, coating with sugar as you go. The dough will be crazy sticky, but you’ll be able to handle it easier once the white sugar is stuck to it
  6. Place cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about ten minutes, or until edges are firming up. Cool on a wire rack
  7. Eat with abandon Carefully pack up to give away