ZAP Bites: Christmas Cookies

The holiday season is officially in full swing - from the Christkindlmarket to the ice skating at Millennium park, and even the below zero temperatures, Chicago is Christmas time ready! Aside from my favorite places to visit during Christmastime in Chicago, one of my family traditions is making Christmas cookies! Ever since I was a little girl, my Mom and I would dedicate at least 3 days to bake, decorate and package cookies in holiday tins to give to friends and family (and eat some along the way of course). My Mom and I follow the recipe’s straight from an old book my grandma gave to my sister called, “FamilyFun's Cookies for Christmas: 50 recipes for You and Your Kids.” Out of the various different types of cookies from the book, these two recipes are our go-to’s every year. They’re easy, delicious and even great to make all year-round. Take a shot at these recipes, and take them to your next holiday party where you’re sure to please everyone’s taste buds!

  Image via Savory Sweet Life

Image via Savory Sweet Life

Peanut Butter Sealed with a Kiss

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 9-ounce package chocolate Kisses, unwrapped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Cream the peanut butter, butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla extract. Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda together. Combine with peanut butter mixture.

Shape the dough into 1 ½ inch balls and roll them into the extra white sugar. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and press on chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie. Return to oven and bake for another 3 minutes. *Makes about 40 to 50 cookies.

  Image via Community Table

Image via Community Table

Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Seedless strawberry jelly (or any jelly you’d like to use!)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar and stir in the vanilla extract. In a medium-size bowl, mix the salt and flour. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until the dough is crumbly but holds together when pinched.

Take a walnut-size piece of dough in one hand, with the thumb in the other hand, gently knead it 3 or 4 times. Roll the piece into a ball and place it on a ungreased cookie sheet. With fingertip, press a well in the center and fill with ½ teaspoon of jelly. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

*Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Elly Hayn, Fall 2016 Intern