Kiss Cookie Season

Just before Christmas, a few of my friends and I get together for a cookie exchange and happy hour. We may not always be the best about getting together the rest of the year, but we always do Christmas cookies.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies I went through a few cookies before I landed on peanut butter kiss cookies as “my” cookie. I make them exactly once a year, but I’ve been doing it for so long now that I have the technique down. It still takes a while to roll them all and top them with kisses, but the results are worth it.

I usually augment with a second kind of cookie or candy. In the past I’ve made peppermint bark and Christmas crack (aka saltine toffee), and other, lesser stuff that I can’t remember. :)

This year I decided on millionaire’s shortbread, which I’d never made before.

O. M. G.

Millionaire's Shortbread
The delicious edge pieces I sampled. :)
Much like with the Christmas crack, I did not need to know this dessert existed and that it was relatively easy to make—the hardest part was stirring the caramel for twenty minutes.

For those of you unaware, millionaire’s shortbread is a layer of shortbread covered in caramel and topped with dark chocolate. It’s like a Twix but better.

Luckily for my friends, I made it the night before our happy hour, so I didn’t have time to eat the entire pan. I mean, I considered it, but then I remembered this was the season of giving, not the season of grinching.

To make for a nice gift, I boxed up the cookies and shortbread in cute little boxes that made them look way fancier than they were and I was done.

Cookie Box Complete Cookie Box

What about you? Do you have any pre-holiday traditions that you look forward to every year?

25 Replies to “Kiss Cookie Season”

  1. I perform in our ballet company’s Nutcracker — it’s our 29th year and I’ve performed every performance as Clara’s mother except for two years ago when I had a hip replaced. I still managed to get on the stage for half that year’s performances as one of the maids. It takes a lot of time but it wouldn’t be Christmas without it!!

    Your cookies look AMAZING. Good thing I don’t want to stir caramel for 20 minutes or I’d be eating the pan of the shortbread!!!

    Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and great New Year!!!

  2. Merry Christmas and all the best for 2018. Will pass your cookie ideas on to my niece if that is ok with you. Please let me know. I never pass stuff on stupidly or without consent.
    Happy writing and get some good relaxation and eggnog (straight or otherwise lol) if that is to your taste.

    1. Definitely feel free to pass it on! My shortbread recipe came from Cook’s Illustrated and the cookie recipe was from Cook’s Country (yes, I love America’s Test Kitchen). :) Merry Christmas!

  3. I take secateurs with me on dog walks the week before Christmas and collect wild foliage (Holly, Ivy, Rhododendron etc) . When I have enough I make wreaths for me, my sister, mother and Aunt (and anyone else who wants one and provides the oasis). Been doing it for quite a few years now.

    1. I’m always so impressed by people who can just whip up a wreath out of wild foliage—it’s a fantastic skill that I absolutely don’t have. I hope your family realizes how lucky they are! :) Merry Christmas!

  4. In my family I am the provider of the Fluff fudge. ( Fluff is a marshmallow cream made in MA and available in the New England Area.) It’s not difficult to make but very time consuming, and makes a huge amount of very delicious fudge. My mother and sisters are more than happy to let me do the work!
    I’m realy enjoying ” the queens gambit”, it’s always fun to read in the serial format.

    1. Well, if either one of you have too much fudge, I know a lady who’d be more than happy to take some off your hands. :) I love fudge, but I never make it. Maybe that could be next year’s auxiliary candy. Merry Christmas!

  5. I also made stupidly easy white peppermint fudge:
    2 bags white chocolate bits, 1 can (12-14 oz) SWEETENDED condensed milk. Melt together in the microwave until smooth, add 1/3 cup very finely chopped candy cane. Spread in foil lined 8×8 (or 9×9) pan. I sprinkled some more chunkier candy cane on top. Refrigerate, cut before it gets too hard.

    1. Shhh…
      Oh, no, no, no, no, no; do not let it get around at my house that fudge -of any kind- is easy to make.
      We must maintain the myth that it takes a Masters Degree in Kitchen Kick-Ass-ery to make fudge or my thighs will expand so quickly and with such force that my bling jeans will be sparkly confette!

  6. I’m confused. Does Samara make the cookies and Valentin the shortbread or the other way around???

    Kidding. Happy holidays to everyone. Thanks again for the novella.

    1. Neither Samara nor Valentin are much use in the kitchen.

      Samara would show up at a cookie exchange with an expensive bottle of whisky plus a bottle of non-alcoholic bubbly for her friends who don’t drink.

      Valentin would show up with the most exquisite cookies his chef could prepare. When asked about them, he would grin and admit that his chef was awesome, but only to his close friends. He would leave everyone else with the impression that he’d made them himself without ever actually lying. :)

      Happy holidays!

  7. I have an extremely large family. 13 sisters (10 were adopted). Our family rule for Christmas is simple. Hand made only and the total cost must be under $20 US. We do a Santa gift instead of making a gift for everyone. This year I made a made door wreaths and decorated my Mom’s tree for the holiday since she is now 70 yrs old. I am also baking the holiday ham for dinner this year. Last year, I made keepsake boxes out of old wooden cigar boxes and filled them with a bag of holiday trail mix for my sister and made the pumpkin pie for dinner.

    1. Wow, thirteen sisters!! I love the handmade rule. And a keepsake box from a cigar box is a genius idea. Some of those older boxes are so cool.

      A few years ago my family changed to just buying presents for the kiddos, and everyone else gets something <$10 that could reasonably fit in a Christmas stocking. My mom tends to bend the rules a bit, but we let her get away with it. :) Merry Christmas!

  8. We are doing cookies too. This year I tried a new receipe. Almond Joy cookies. I found it on pinterest. Easy and addictive. A bag of coconut, chocolate chips, almonds, and a can of sweetened condensed milk. Bake at 325° for about 14 minutes. Yum

    1. I did not need to know this existed, either, because I love Almond Joy. Maybe I’ll try it while my family is around so I won’t be tempted to eat the whole batch. :)

  9. Last couple of years I have been making batches of Applesauce for holiday dinner, then making tarts with some and canning some as gifts.

    1. Yum, homemade applesauce sounds delicious! Have you ever made apple butter? My mom used to make it and send me a couple jars and it was awesome.

  10. I do something very similar. I always make my mom’s Russian tea cakes and something else. This year it was berry cobblers using another of my mom’s recipes. It’s not very “holiday”, but I can’t resist fresh berries. I refuse to write the recipes down and call my mom and she reads them off to me while I bake. We live several hundred miles apart and it’s one of our ways of staying connected even though we can’t be together.

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