Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recipe Wednesday:Chocolate Espresso Delights Christmas Cookies

 Cookies For Christmas. Baking cookies at Christmas time is a family tradition that has been part of our family for many, many years. This is one activity the entire family can get involved in and have fun with. There is no right or wrong way. No certain way the cookies have to be decorated or cut or come out looking. No problem with getting flour on the floor, sugar in our hair and more frosting in our tummy's than on the cookies themselves. Does that really have to matter all the time? Cookie baking is all about drawing the family together for awhile and forgetting about the cares of the world and our everyday cares. If just for a while, we can realize the magic of Christmas, and reflect on the meaning we are celebrating this glorious time of year. And when we do, we give our families and ourselves the best gift ever.

Chocolate Espresso Delights 
Adapted from First For Women Magazine December 12, 2011 issue.
Yields: 3 dozen 1" cookies

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 box {18.25oz} dark chocolate fudge cake mix {Duncan Hines}
1/2 cup melted butter
1 large egg at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon solid vegetable shortening

* Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine espresso powder, vanilla and 1 tablespoon hot water; stir to dissolve.
* In large bowl or stand mixer, combine cake mix, butter, egg, flour and espresso mixture just until well combined.
* Use a 1" inch cookie scoop or roll by hand into 1" balls. Place onto a parchment paper lined or Sil-pad lined cookie tray, 2" apart.
* Bake 10 minutes or until done.
* Allow to cool for 5 minutes, than transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
* In a microwave safe bowl, place chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening. Microwave beginning with 45 seconds. Stir. Continue at 15 second intervals, stirring until completely melted and glossy.
* Once cookies are completely cooled, using a spoon, dip the tip of the spoon about 1/2 way into the melted chocolate and spoon onto the middle of the cookie swirling as you do.
* Optional: Before the melted chocolate sets up sprinkle on crushed candy canes, nuts, Christmas cookie sprinkles, coconut or whatever you may like.
* Store in air tight container.
NOTE: The recipe was originally "Peppermint-Espresso Delights". Changes we make were: addition of vanilla to the espresso and water mixture. Omitted the crushed peppermint candy. Used semi-sweet chocolate instead of the bittersweet chocolate called for in the recipe.Only baked for 10 minutes to keep the cookie chewy and moist. If you want a strong espresso taste to come through the cookie, add additional espresso powder.

We made two batches of these cookies. The flatter looking cookies we made with Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix and the more rounded were made with Betty Crocker Triple Fudge Chocolate Cake Mix. All the other ingredients, bake temp and bake time were identical. Not sure why one batch rose more than the other. Possibly some differences between the two cake mixes used.

Every Christmas we make up three to five different types of cookies and package them up for friends and neighbors. My husbands business contractors and customers get a special cookie package along with homemade fudge and other assorted homemade Christmas treats.

When all the packaging up of the treats is completed we bundle up and walk around the neighborhood to deliver our special Christmas packages.

It is magical how a simple package of homemade Christmas cookies, sprinkled with a little Christmas love, can really touch the recipient's heart and our own as well.

 This year to package our Christmas cookies, we found these cute treat containers for $.99 at the Grocery Outlet.

They have really cute graphics, a lid with a ribbon that ties on and they are large enough to put just the right amount of cookies and goodies in without looking too stingy.

To assemble the cookie packages we used some red polka dot cupcake papers we had. These will hold the cookies and protect the container from getting grease spots on it.

                            We put two cookies per cupcake paper in the container.

                   Than placed another cupcake paper on top and began all over.

Keep  layering until you have filled the container. Place the lid on and tie it up. Place a to from hang tag on and you are set!

Keep the tradition of Christmas cookie baking and giving alive and well in your family by baking up a batch or two of some of your families favorite cookies, or try adding a new recipe to your favorites as we did this year with this recipe. Surprising a friend or elderly neighbor with a fresh batch of homemade cookies is one way of keeping the magic of Christmas alive and sharing the love of our Savior. Be Christmas inspired!

            Search me, O God, and know my heart;
            test me and know my anxious thoughts.
            See  if there is any offensive way in me,
            and lead me in the way everlasting.
           Psalm 139: 23-24

Source/Homespun With Love
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  1. Oh, those look so good! I need a couple with my morning coffee (: Sounds easy to make, too!

  2. Love this recipe. It would be good with peppermint too. Thank you for sharing.