Baking Up Some Holiday Cheer! - Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen Blog at - 261496

Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen

Baking Up Some Holiday Cheer! 
Dec. 20, 2011 5:48 pm 
Updated: Dec. 30, 2011 10:30 am

Earlier this month, my friend, Christal, and I got together to bake some cookies. When I say ‘some,’ what I mean is a bottle of champagne and 7 or 8 hours later in the kitchen, there were stacks of cookies everywhere!

It was a blast! We listened to Christmas music and giggled and chatted while the oven timer chimed over and over again.

We were at the home of one of Christal’s dearest friends, Jan, and I fell in love with this woman’s kitchen! Not only did it have an island with tons of space to move around, but unlike my house, the kitchen was its own room. Next to the fridge was a glass-inlay door with the word ‘pantry’ etched vertically down the front. Opening it revealed a neatly organized corner walk-in pantry with floor-to-ceiling shelves. I had to reach down to scoop my jaw up off the ground. Every drawer and cabinet in the kitchen was as equally neat and organized and chock full of wonderful kitchen gadgets. The sink must have been my favorite though. It was double-sided but the center divide was not to full height--how convenient! The faucet had a pull-down hose at the nozzle with a button to toggle spray or stream. There was also a separate spigot for filtered water. I decided that when we get to the sink and counters in our own kitchen (which I have to wait through new windows and siding, and maybe a whole addition for), I just have to have Jan’s sink and faucet! I was like a kid in a candy store in Jan's wonderful kitchen!

Between Christal and I, we made more cookie varieties than the Keebler elves! Christal made cranberry almond biscotti dipped in chocolate and topped with crushed apricot kernels, orange shortbread with melted chocolate on top, eggnog cookies and chocolate sandwich cookie truffles dipped in white chocolate. I made Dark Chocolate Cookies, Toll House Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Cranberry Hootycreeks without nuts. For Cookies Across America, I donated (almost) all my cookies. A small tray went to the fine folks at Everlasting Tattoo in San Fransisco in thanks for their amazing artwork my husband and I will forever enjoy, but the majority of my cookies went to the Office of Veterans Affairs in Lakeport, CA. We have many disabled Vets Lake County, and it felt like a good place to give the cookies. My husband was proud of my decision which made me feel even better about giving cookies to those who need a little holiday cheer.

But that was not the end of the cookies, no. Ohhhh nooOOOooo.

Last week I embarked on another 6 hours of baking cookies (just a glass or two or wine this time). I made Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies and added Reese’s Pieces, Mel’s Magnificent Chocolate Chip Cookies, and another round of the Hootycreeks. These were all for my friend Shannon, whose disabilities have her unable to bake or cook. She was beyond thrilled! She sampled a few cookies and my heart filled with warmth as a smile spread widely across her face.

Let me give you the scoop on of these cookies. As you can tell by the repeat recipe, I'm a fan of the Hootycreeks. The recipe is written to gift the mix in jars, but I like them so much I always just make them. If you don't add the pecans, be sure to add a little extra flour. If you like Toll House cookies and dark chocolate, you gotta give the Toll House Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies a try. I loooove these dark chocolate chips! The chips are a little larger than typical chips, but the bags are 10 oz, not the usual 12 oz, so keep that in mind if you like extra morsels in your cookies. The Dark Chocolate Cookies were written to be jumbo cookies, but for Cookies Across America, I made them smaller so all my cookies were the same size. I did not have good luck with these. They were greasy and spread too thin, then when the cookies cooled, they were a bit crumbly. I tried adding more flour and chilling the dough, but I was unable to doctor these guys up. Based on this experience, I return to the old reliable Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies, which I love to add morsels, dried cherries, or cranberries to. It is a favorite of mine, as is Mel's recipe for Magnificent Chocolate Chip Cookies. I always fall back on these 2 cookie recipes!

As we each go about this season sharing goodies and gifts, I wish you all warmth, love and the happiest of holidays. May you be filled with fond memories of family and friends and, of course, tasty treats! Good tidings to you, Allrecipeeps!


[I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen! The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of *~Lissa~*.]
Toll House Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Nestle Dark Chocolate Cookies
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Me in the Santa hat with Christal
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I baked about 17 dozen cookies!
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Double Chocolate with Reese's
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Baking Up Smiles
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They're stacking up!
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Christal's biscotti
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Dec. 20, 2011 11:35 pm
It sounds like you had a blast baking. I love the fact that the Vets got some of your home made cheer. Thanks for spreading the "love". :)
Dec. 21, 2011 3:04 am
Yummy yums! Such nice results from two happy slightly tipsy girls and then a nice after effect. Truly Happy Holidays! Oh I so want some Christmas music now! A few chocolate cookies would be good too.
Dec. 21, 2011 6:23 am
Champagne and cookies, now that's a thought! What a great way to spend time!
Dec. 21, 2011 9:38 am
Lissa, you have just made me warm with the love and happiness of the holidays with your blog and donations, especially to the VA. Merry Christmas to you and yours. By the way Clearlake is my most favorite place in the world.
Dec. 22, 2011 7:28 am
My Jumbo Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies were dry side. I almost felt bad donating them but I didn't want to waste them either. Great job on the cookies and the blog.
Dec. 23, 2011 9:14 am
It was a blast, Baking Nana! Happy holidays and thanks for reading!
Dec. 23, 2011 9:15 am
redly, crank those tunes and sing along! Thanks for stopping by!
Dec. 23, 2011 9:17 am
Cat Hill, I highly recommend it! Love your photo!
Dec. 23, 2011 9:19 am know Clear Lake?!?! Isn't it just beautiful with Mt Konocti behind it? I love living in the remote little beautiful county. Cheers!
Dec. 23, 2011 9:21 am
thanks Doug, I felt the same way. Happy holidays to you and yours!
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About Me
I live in beautiful wine country, Northern California, on the edge of state forest. My husband and I are in our 30s and have the most amazing little 1 year old girl. I haven't had as much time in the kitchen since becoming a mom, but I love that she is getting old enough to enjoy my cooking! I enjoy riding my motorcycle and snowboarding, camping, classic and hard rock music, tattoos, singing, and *of course* fiddling in my kitchen! I love trying new recipes and have had fun as an Allrecipes Allstar in the Brand Ambassador program!
My favorite things to cook
Skillet dinners, chicken, vegetables, rice, pasta, cookies, brownies, quick breads, Italian, Asian, mac & cheese, mushroom or broccoli Alfredo, pie-especially apple, pear and chicken pot pie, pork in the crock pot for carnitas or BBQ pulled pork.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My parents have always had lots of food at family get-togethers! Such a selection of food that there's hardly room for plates at the table: nuts, cheeses, wings, beans, meats, veggies and many other side dishes, cakes, cookies, pies, etc-there's something for everyone! There's no excuse if you go hungry at one of our family functions. There's always good food, drinks, people and laughs :D
My cooking triumphs
It's nice to be able to throw things together on the fly without having to make a trip to the grocery store. Learning the methods of cooking have made it easier and my food tastes better. I never have dry chicken breasts, pork chops or burgers anymore! Dec 2012: I finally made fudge that set properly!
My cooking tragedies
Trying out new recipes that don't taste right or I don't care for. Or turning my back to do 10 things at once and burning something. Mistakes = lessons learned. Sometimes you have to do a little trial-and-error to get something how you like it. I'm still trying to perfect French loaf.
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