Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Cookie Exchange and a Recipe

Last Thursday we had our first Ladies Group Cookie Exchange. We met at a member's house and assembled baskets to be given to church members that were having some life struggles. We wanted to show our love for them and let them know that we are there for them through this difficult time of the year. My church has such loving members. I have only been here at our church for about 5 months, but I instantly felt enveloped by these loving people the minute I walked through the doors. They have been such a blessing in my life. They are always looking for ways to reach out to others within the church and our new Ladies Group is going to be a way to reach out to our community as well. I am very excited about the future of our little congregation. We are a very small church right now. We meet in a Recreation Center right now but we are just about to break ground at our new location. It is very exciting to watch our new church buliding go up and watch our family grow.
At our meeting we were to each bring 3 dozen of our favorite cookies to share. I have never made these cookies before, but they sounded good so I decided to give them a try. I was not disappointed - they are delicious! I got the recipe from this magazine. I would love to share it with you. The recipe is kind of labor intensive though - not too bad, but you need to follow the directions exactly.
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Makes 4 1/2 dozen
3/4 cup butter
4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (11 ounce) package white chocolate morsels
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Crushed peppermint candy
In a medium bowl, combine butter and chocolate. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted and smooth (about 1 1/2 minutes total). Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy, Beat in chocolate mixture.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating until combined; dough will be very sticky. Cover dough with heavy duty plastic wrap; freeze for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place dough 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using a flat-bottomed glass dipped in sugar, flatten cookies to 1/4 inch thickness. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are set and cookies begin to crack on top. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove and cool completely on wire racks. In a medium bowl, combine white chocolate morsels and vegetable shortening. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. (about 1 minute total). Dip half of each cookie in white chocolate mixture, allowing excess to drain. Place cookies on waxed paper, and sprinkle white chocolate half of cookie with crushed peppermint. Let stand for 1 hour, or until white chocolate is set.
I am telling you - these cookies are scrumptious!

The reason why I am saying to follow the cookie recipe closely, is because I put the cookies in the refrigerator to chill instead of the freezer. The cookie batter is very sticky and gets all over your hands when you try to roll them into balls. If you put the dough in the freezer, it is easier to roll them and not as messy. Parchment paper helps them so they don't stick to the pan.

Here is my lame attempt at taking a picture of the finished result. Yummy!
They were a big hit at our gathering. Everyone brought enough cookies to share so that all could take a cookie plate home . I am going to make Christmas cookies for my kids so there will be too many cookies at my house, so I didn't take any home. I definitely don't need any more padding on my hips!
Here are the finished baskets. We had so much fun putting these together - we will definitely do this again next year!


Glenda said...

As you have already found, Southerners have a list of priorities that runs something like this: God, Immediate Family, Church family, and Food. When you can combine two or more of these you make a Southerner VERY, VERY HAPPY.

DH's Mother was pretty much bed-fast for the last year and half of her life. She lived with us, and the bright spot in her week was a visit from a couple of her church family that brought her cassette tapes of the previous Sunday's service.
DH has told me how his Father helped in the building of a new Church many years ago when the congregation outgrew their facility. That was when DH's parents were still together.

Welcome to the REAL SOUTH, much more than what you read in the headlines.

Happy To Be said...

Great post Girl!! now you need to come and see me I have an award for you...hugs and smiles Gloria

kymber said...

I am amazed really - about how God truly IS a priority here - I am not used to it. Not to say that people aren't Christians in Washington, but there are definitely more churches to be found here. They seem to be on every corner. Also - the law that won't allow for alcohol to be sold anywhere on Sunday - That DEFINITELY is a change from what I am used to! My poor hubby has gone without his "football beer" a few times because I keep forgetting to buy it on Saturday. :)
I also need to remember to go to Hobby Lobby on Saturday too because they are closed on Sunday. THAT is frustrating although I respect it. I don't get the chance to go there during the week because of work. I like it that God comes first here though - It is very refreshing.

Glenda said...

The only places that were allowed to open on Sunday when I was growing up were places that sold food and medicine (drugstores). K-Mart was the chain that took the old Blue law to court. It was struck down in the late sixties, I think. Following is a link that can explain it better than I can.

Some alcohol sales are permitted in well defined situations, but none packaged to go, from what I understand. In our area it is by the drink in only places of business where the primary revenue is from the sale of food.

We don't have the nickname "the Bible belt" without good reason.

ann said...


The Charm House said...

Hey new Georgia girl Kymber!! Glad you found me... E-mail me and let me know where you live just in case we are neigbors... 50 miles or less. LOL In the mean time, how about sending some cookies over, they look so good!!

Scooterblu's Whimsy~Rhonda said...

Hi Kymber, I saw your comment on my blog and wanted to come over and meet you! Sorry it took me so long! :) You have a beautiful blog! I love the post on the cookie exchange! What a great idea! I will have to remember that idea for next Christmas. Our Sunday School class is always looking for outreach projects. That would be a great one to do at Valentines Day, too! THanks for sharing it! Your cookies look delcious and the baskets are really pretty assembled.

So sorry for your loss of dear Max. Pets capture our hearts and can be missed just as a dear family member! He was a beauty!

I'll try to do the tag with Saturday's Post. It is a short post, so it will fit in well! I hope you will drop back in to visit! I'll certainly be back! It was so nice to meet you! hugs, Rhonda :)

Lorrie said...

The baskets are so pretty. Thanks for sharing the cookie recipe - I love both chocolate and peppermint.

thanks for visiting my blog, so I could find yours.