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It’s Time for Cookie Exchange

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With the year coming to an end and all the craziness we have had to endure this past year, trying to stay positive has been challenging for many of us. It seems that we’re still making choices to stay home or visit only close family and friends, and perhaps this chaos we have all endured has brought out one good thing: the talented cooks we have in this amazing country. What has brought us together over this time seems to be the love of cooking or a new-found love to cook. 

With the holiday season, this seems to have exploded with new recipes and new ways to share, from online recipes to podcasts, Pinterest and many other venues. During the holiday season, I love making cookies and taking them to a cookie exchange. Every year, I bake my go-to Russian teacakes and soft gingerbread cookies, as they are always the favorites around here. Then I try to come up with a new cookie to add to my recipe box. About three years ago I came across this recipe for a hot chocolate cookie. My grandson and I decided we were going to make it to surprise his mother with a tasty treat. It turned out amazing; the only thing we changed was to add more marshmallows to the top of the cookie per my boy’s request. It was a soft chocolate cookie and with the toppings it looked much like the top of a cup of Christmas cocoa. So, when it came time for the cookie exchange I didn’t hesitate baking a batch of these beauties.  

I’m amazed at the technology we have at our fingertips and the number of fabulous cooks we have out there allowing us to share their recipes. I have ventured beyond what I could have ever imagined. Just the cookies that you can find are extraordinary. My hat’s off to all the wonderful cooks out there.  

Hot Chocolate Cookie

½ cup butter, unsalted (1 stick)
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1½ cups flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. chocolate extract (or vanilla if you can’t find chocolate)
1 bag mini marshmallows

Glaze Ingredients
4 tbsp. melted butter
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup hot water
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. chocolate extract (or vanilla if you can’t find it)

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and whisk in the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Whisk until the butter and chocolate are a smooth chocolate sauce. Set aside and let cool. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, eggs and extract well. Once the chocolate and butter mixture is cool, mix it into the sugar, egg and extract mixture. With your mixer on low, slowly whisk in the flour mixture. Mix until everything is combined. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove dough from the refrigerator. Use a parchment-lined baking sheet or a silicone baking mat; spoon out about a tablespoon of chilled dough for each cookie. Roll into a ball and lay on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Press the cookie down a little bit to form a small disc shape. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and top each cookie with 2 mini marshmallows. Correct that; my grandson requests 5 on each cookie. Place back into the oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat until all cookies are done. Let the cookies cool and make the chocolate glaze.

Glaze Instructions
In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, cocoa powder, hot water and extract. Slowly whisk in the powdered sugar until everything is combined. Lay a piece of parchment paper under the cooling rack that is holding the cooled cookies for an easy cleanup. Drizzle each cookie with the chocolate glaze, covering the marshmallows. While the chocolate glaze is wet, sprinkle each cookie with the sprinkles. Let cookies and chocolate glaze set for about 30 minutes before serving. Keep cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days, although it’s doubtful they last that long!

It’s time to end this year and begin a new year. I would like to pray for our country and all of our friends and family to be safe, healthy and happy. Sending all my love to you and your family. Merry Christmas!