Monday, December 5, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Day 1

Today I made Peanut Butter Cookies, they are a favorite among my family and friends, plus it's very simple.  Even as a young child I would help my mother in the kitchen, this is one of the simple recipes that I was able to help with.  I remember we would read the recipe together first, then I would help measure ingredients and mix.  Baking is a lot of fun to do with children, I love cooking with my nieces.

I used the Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookie recipe from the package of Crisco Butter Flavored Baking Sticks.  I always remembered getting the big tub of Crisco, but they didn't have the butter flavor available in tubs at the store I went to.  Anyway, here are the ingredients:

Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 stick Crisco Butter Flavor Baking Sticks or 1/2 cup Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
1 1/4 cups firmly packed Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons Milk
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg
1 3/4 Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
I also got a bag of Hershey's Kisses to put in some of them, this was my friends idea.

This recipe is supposed to make about 3 dozen, but I made mine smaller, so I ended up with a total of 54 cookies

Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Tools
My brand new nesting doll measuring cups and spoons(just came in the mail today), mixing bowls, a fork, a knife, 2 baking pans, butter flavored cooking spray, and my ingredients.

Step 2: Preheat Oven

Make sure that the rack is in the center of the oven, and preheat oven to 375  F

Step 3: Combine Peanut Butter, Shortening, Brown Sugar, Milk, and Vanilla in a Large Mixing Bowl

I measured out the 3/4 cup of Peanut Butter, and put it in my large mixing bowl.  The recipe on the package said to use Jif Creamy Peanut Butter, but I used this creamy natural peanut butter instead.  I think it came out better this way, I like the texture and taste of the natural peanut butter.
Next I added the 1/2 a cup of Butter Flavor Shortening.
1 1/4 cup Brown Sugar firmly packed.  It's amazing how much more Brown Sugar fits into a measuring cup when you pack it down.
Added 3 tablespoons of milk to the mix,
1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract...

Oops!  I accidently added the egg next, which didn't seem to be a big deal.  The recipe says to mix the egg in after the rest of the ingredients are mixed well, but it didn't seem to make a difference to me. 

Step 4: Mix Well

Then I mixed together all the ingredients with a fork, making sure to crush up all the lumps of brown sugar and crisco.  This is the low tech version, the recipe actually says to use beat it together in an electric mixer on medium speed, until well blended.

Step 5: Combine Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt
Now I'm adding 3/4 teaspoon of Salt

3/4 teaspoon on Baking Soda

and 1 3/4 cups of Flour

Step 5 Mix All Ingredients Together

The recipe said to mix at lox speed until well blended, but I just mixed it with my fork again.  The photo above is what I ended up with.

Step 6: Prepare Baking Sheet with Cookies to Go in Oven
I sprayed the cookie sheet with butter flavored cookie spray

Then, formed the dough into little round balls, about the size of a large marble,

and pressed it down with the fork, to make the crisscross pattern on top.

This is what they should look like.  

Next I put them in the oven, on the center rack, and set the timer for 8 minutes.  This was a bit too long, the first batch came out a bit darker than I would have liked, so I put the others in for 7 minutes.  Bringing it down to 7 minutes made them come out lighter for the most part, but the ones towards the back of the oven were still a little dark.  The next batch I put in the oven for 4 minutes, rotated the cookie tray, and put it back in for another 3 minutes.  The batch that I rotated came out best. 

 Step 7: Take Cookies Out of Oven, Add Hershey's Kisses to some, and Let Cool

While cookies were still warm, I pressed a Hershey's Kiss into the center of a few of them

Once cookies were cool enough so they wouldn't fall apart, I transferred them from the backing sheet with a thin spatula...

to metal racks to cool.

I'm pretty happy with the way these came out.  I'm excited to try another recipe tomorrow!

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