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This is one of my favorite times of year. With all the holidays, it’s all about spending time with family and friends and looking back on another year come and gone. It’s also a cold time of year for many and a time for lots of cookies and baked goods. So what better way to get together with a group than with a hot chocolate bar and a cookie exchange. Not only do cookies and hot chocolate pair perfectly together, but with a cookie exchange you get to taste all kinds of tasty treats.
If you’re like me, making one kind of cookie isn’t nearly enough. I like variety. However, that can take time. But not anymore! Today I’ve got a great cookie recipe base and I’ll show you how you can break the dough up and make 2 or 3 kinds of cookies from one batch.
But first, let’s talk about the hot chocolate bar. It’d be great to have something like a kettle to keep it warm. Plus, you’ll need a good hot chocolate mix. You can make your own from scratch or get your favorite from the store. You’ll also want to be sure to have some fun add ins like marshmallows, chocolate spoons, whipped cream and chocolate and caramel sauce. I even added some mint and peppermint chips and made some marshmallow snowmen with paper straws and pens that you can use to write on candy, easily found at craft stores. So cute you don’t want to eat them.
You can add just about anything to your hot chocolate bar and allow your guests to customize their own cup.
To go with the hot chocolate, I included a couple different kinds of cookies. Decorated sugar cookies (http://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/2015/12/03/cutout-sugar-cookies/) are always popular this time of year – and so festive. And then of course there’s the customizable cookie base I promised you. Between the two recipes, I ended up with three kinds of delicious cookies to share.
So let’s talk about this cookie dough.
To start, you’ll cream your butter and sugars together. It’ll take 2-3 minutes and your butter will get light in color and fluffy.
Next, add the egg and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Combine the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add them to the bowl and mix until well incorporated. The cookie dough will be fairly thick.
Once you have your dough ready to go, you’ll want to split it in half in two separate bowls. You could even split it into thirds if you wanted to make a third kind of cookie.
For these cookies, I made a white chocolate cranberry version and maple-iced version. I left one half as they were, baked them and iced them with a wonderful maple frosting. To the other, I added about ¾ cup of white chocolate chips and ¾ cup of dried cranberries. Of course, there are many options – you could add just about any mix in. Your imagination is the limit.
You’ll want balls of about 2 tbsp per cookie, then bake them for 8-10 minutes. The result is a great soft and chewy cookie in several great varieties.
With so many options for ways to make hot chocolate and change up the cookie recipe, you’ve definitely got a party! How will you customize your hot chocolate bar and cookies?Print
- 1 1/2 cups salted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
Additional ingredients for White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- ¾ cup white chocolate chips
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup salted butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoons maple extract
- 2 tablespoons water or milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cream butter and sugars together until light in color and fluffy. It should take about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Cookie dough will be thick. Remove half of the cookie dough and place in a separate bowl. Stir in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Make balls of cookie dough that are about 2 tablespoons in size for both versions of cookie dough. Place balls on cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edge are just turning golden. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.
- Once maple cookies are cooled, make the frosting. Add butter and brown sugar to mixer bowl and beat until smooth. Add powdered sugar, maple extract and water or milk and mix until smooth. Ice cookies.
- Store cookies in air tight container until ready to serve.