|Merry Christmas from the Munoz's!|
Well, the big day is just about here. If you haven't finished your wrapping, or even your shopping, the clock it is a ticking... loudly! I finished the last of my shopping yesterday afternoon, which is actually fairly late for me. I usually like to be done a week or so in advance, but I decided to pick up some things from wine country at the last minute, so I made an impromptu trip up to Napa yesterday morning. I stopped at Starbucks to get a Gingerbread Latte before I got on the freeway, tuned the radio to the Christmas music station and sailed up there in record time. I was in and out of my destination in 5 minutes and I hit the road back home within an hour of originally leaving my house. Not Bad! Then the traffic grinch decided that I was too full of Christmas good cheer and sent me 3 hours of traffic to wade through on my way home. Bah Humbug!
Thankfully, once I eventually made it home to my house, which is all dressed up in it's holiday finest, my Christmas spirit returned pretty quickly. Time to being on Christmas- The presents are bought, the gifts are wrapped and my holiday baking is done!
I was a baking machine this year. I tried 4 new cookie recipes, in addition to my Chocolate Chip & Cherry Cookies, which I make regularly. It was a non-stop parade of goodies coming out of my tiny oven, all made in my tiny kitchen. Normally I don't mind having a small kitchen, with only about 4 sq feet of counter space, but this year, wow I really could have used a little more room. There were cooling racks on every flat surface, and containers of cookies stacked everywhere. I found all 4 new recipes on Epicurious.com and three out of the four were awesome. The mini New York style Black & White's were a lot of work to make, and nothing to write home about after all that work. They will be scratched off the list for future baking. The biscotti, toffee bars & chocolate peppermint crinkles were great though, and will be back next year for sure. The links to the recipes are below, along with the recipe for my Dark Chocolate & Cherry Chunk cookies. These are your basic chocolate chip cookies, but use dark chocolate chips & dried cherries instead of the regular semi-sweet chips & walnuts. Yum!
Dark Chocolate & Cherry Chunk Cookies
1 Cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 6 oz bag of dried cherries
1 12 oz bag of Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
- Beat Butter & Sugars. Preheat the oven to 350 deg. In a stand mixer beat the butter on medium-high until it's soft & fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in both sugars and continue to beat for another 5 minutes.
- Add in the Eggs & Vanilla. Add the eggs in, one at a time, beating the batter until the egg is well incorporated before adding in the next one. Beat in the vanilla.
- Add the Dry Ingredients. Turn the mixer down to low and add in the salt & baking soda. Then add in the flour, a cup at a time. Make sure the flour is all incorporated before you add in more.
- Add the Chips & Cherries. Once the dough is well mixed, add in the chips & cherries and stir for a minute or so, until they are well mixed in to the batter.
- Bake. Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 9 minutes.
- Enjoy! Let the cookies cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. They go great with a glass of cold milk!
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2011! I am heading home to New Jersey for the holidays, so there will be nothing cooking at the Munoz's for the next week or so.