Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Cookies: Mom's Peanut Butter Blossoms

Well, my peanuts, it's DECEMBER! My favorite month of the year! I figured a good way to kick off the most festive month of the year was to share a Christmas cookie recipe! While they are not traditionally festive and really have no connection to Christmas to the wider public, they are HUGELY nostalgically Christmas for me!

For as long as I can remember, we made these peanut butter blossom cookies with my mom for Christmas. When we were little, we hosted Christmas at our house with all our cousins and close relatives. The best part? They were all Jewish!

Growing up, my family often celebrated both Jewish holidays as well as Catholic holidays. My father is Catholic and my mother was Jewish (I say was because she recently converted and was baptized Catholic!). We'd hunt for Easter candy and have a Passover Ceder. We'd light the menorah for Chanukah and then leave cookies for Santa. It was a fun childhood!

For some reason, we hosted Christmas for my mom's side (the Jewish side) and would have her sister and brother (along with their families - two boys each, all bar mitzvah'd at 13 like the good Jews they were!), mom and dad (my Bubbie and Zaydie) over with whomever else wanted in on the fun.

What was always on the dessert table? These cookies! I don't know when Mom started making them. But I have SO many memories of baking them with her - my sisters and I pulling chairs up to the counter so we could help unwrap all the Hershey Kisses, look into the mixing bowl as the dough came together, or help roll the dough in the sugar prior to baking.

Mom ONLY made them for Christmas. These were a complicated cookie that required a few steps - far too much work for everyday enjoyment. I laugh when I recall these facts. For her, with three little girls, that was certainly true! I remember it being a full afternoon making these cookies.

Now, as an adult, I find it amusing as, to me, these aren't crazy difficult to make. But I don't have three little ones running about either so I suppose I cannot compare my experiences to hers.

Still, it was a lot of fun making them myself to bring to Cody's family's house for Thanksgiving.

GASP! I know. My mother would have a total kanipshin if she knew I made them for another holiday other than Christmas!

We all have such fond memories of making these cookies that all it took was my asking my sister, Emma, for the recipe for her to immediately reply "YOU CAN'T MAKE THEM WITHOUT ME!" without even asking what I needed the recipe for first!

Yes, my sister is in my phone as Lolercoaster. It's a nickname you deserve when every text you send ends in "lol." 
Ironically, she opted NO to do so here, but trust me, it was a THING!

They were just as delicious as I remember - a bit crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and matched wonderfully with the kiss of chocolate on top. Perfect every time!

What are your favorite Christmas memories? Do you have a particular Christmas treat from your childhood that still brings you back?

Mom's Peanut Butter Blossoms
Yield: ~4 dozen cookies

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Extra sugar for rolling dough in
  • 1-2 bags Hershey Kisses, unwrapped
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In mixing bowl, cream crisco, peanut butter together.
  4. Gradually add sugar and brown sugar and mix well.
  5. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly. 
  6. Slowly add your dry ingredients to wet - mixing by hand in the end if the dough gets too thick for the mixer. 
  7. Shape dough into balls and gently roll each ball in sugar until covered on all sides.
  8. Place dough balls onto greased cookie sheets and bake for 8-10min each.
  9. Remove tray from oven and top each cookie with a Hershey Kiss, pressing gently but firmly so cookie spreads a bit and gets their signature cracks.
  10. Put back into oven and finish baking for 2 minutes more, just until they begin to get golden brown.