I have been giving the gift of my baking to family, friends and teachers for many many years. And pretty much without exception I’ve been making the same array of cookies, cakes and treats. Mainly because at this point I have it down to a science. That, and because most of my recipients have their personal favorites and would be miffed if “theirs” went missing.
Over the next few weeks I’d like to share these with you – my tried-and-true, my “Hall of Fame” holiday favorites. It’s a great selection of flavors, shapes and textures, and all meet my strict “holiday baking” criteria. Regardless of the recipe, each of these treats must:
1. be delicious (duh).
2. freeze or store exceptionally well (for a few weeks), with no compromise to flavor or texture.
3. be sturdy enough to be packaged without getting flattened or crumbled.
4. be a little different from the “usual” selection of holiday baking (no offense to thumbprint cookies – which I LOVE – but I do try to go for the unexpected here).
5. not repeat the flavors of another treat in the bunch (so only one chocolate, one fruit, one mint, etc.).
I always – ALWAYS – start my holiday baking with these. It’s a little tradition I have with myself. I love taking out my grandma’s cookie press and kicking off my holiday baking with Fay’s butter cookies. It makes me feel close to her. It makes me happy.
But you already have that recipe so let’s move on – with a new addition to the bunch that I’m so excited to share with you.
Let’s talk sugar cookies. Sugar cookies rolled in raw sugar. Sugar cookies, rolled in raw sugar, and (are you ready?) stuffed with Milk Duds. Yes, you read correctly. Milk Duds.
This was one of those “Chelsea’s-coming-home-and-is-sending-me-crazy-good-recipes” recipes. Milk Duds are my favorite movie treat, and I was as impressed by the cleverness of this recipe (who thinks this stuff up anyway???) as I was intrigued – and more than a little skeptical. How good could these really be?
Oh, crazy good.
The sandy texture of the raw sugar elevates a perfectly nice but pretty ordinary cookie. And the Milk Dud? It becomes a soft, caramel-y center and is absolutely, unbelievably delicious. I love watching someone eat one for the first time – eyes slightly closed – and asking, “Oh my god – what is IN this???”.
It’s up to you whether you tell or not.
These cookies meet all of the above criteria – including a 6th, which I didn’t even know I had. Yes, these cookies meet the “goes well with sangria” criterion.
See, I was supposed to bake these with Chelsea on her October visit home. But then we got busy with this. And this. And this. And we ran out of time. So I decided to bake them to bring to a ladies gathering I was invited to. A gathering that included sangria, cheeses, guacamole and…………..cookies? I was horrified that my contribution would be the misfit in the bunch but the ladies gobbled them up and declared them a hit.
So what are you waiting for?
adapted from My Kitchen Addiction
2 1/2 c. flour (12 ½ oz.)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t.baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar (150 g.)
1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar (96 g.)
1/4 c. light corn syrup
2 t. vanilla extract
1 box Milk Duds (5 oz.)
1/2 c. coarse raw sugar (100 g.)
Preheat the oven to 375. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in the corn syrup, vanilla and egg. Gradually, add the flour mixture, beating till just fully incorporated.
Shape rounded tablespoons of dough into a ball, pressing a Milk Dud into the center of each ball. Be sure to cover the Milk Dud completely with the dough.
Roll each ball in the raw sugar and place it on the prepared baking sheets. Be sure to space the cookies 2 – 3 inches apart. Freeze cookie sheets for 10 minutes.
Bake the cookies for 10 – 11 minutes, until they are just pale golden on top. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Donuts, Dresses and Dirt