It’s true – the kitchen is the heart of the home. Ever notice how people always gather there? Whether baking treats, making dinner or spending time with family and friends, the kitchen is my favorite place to be. Since my day job is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens, you can bet I love to stir things up. This column lets me pass along to you some of my best recipes, tips and baking secrets.
Some people may have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads during this time of year, but I have other sweet things on my mind. It’s such a fun time of year to bake cakes, breads and cookies and share them with friends and family! Here are a few ways you can celebrate the season by baking:
• Host a Cookie Exchange – This is a great way to bring different families together for an afternoon or evening of fun. Everyone brings at least a dozen of their favorite holiday cookies to share. Then they can all create their own delectable cookie plate from all the yummy treats available.
• Have a Family Baking Night – Get everyone involved in the holiday fun by baking up some special cookies together. Let the kids help make some simple sugar cookies, and then set out a bunch of toppings like sprinkles, chocolate morsels, colored sugars and frostings. Everyone can express their inner artist and create their own cookie masterpiece.
• Make a Special Plate for Santa – Santa does work up an appetite on his big night, so putting out a plate of cookies is a good idea. You can use a special Christmas plate, one of your own pretty dishes, or even let the kids make one by decorating a paper plate with pictures and messages for Santa. Giving him some of these chocolate-studded Mini Chip Snowball Cookies will certainly put a smile on his face!
For more sweet, seasonal cookie recipes, visit www.VeryBestBaking.com.
Mini Chip Snowball Cookies
Makes 5 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Semi- Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
BEAT butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour; stir in morsels and nuts. Shape level tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired. Store in airtight containers.
Nutrition Information per cookie: 120 calories; 70 calories from fat; 7g total fat; 4.5g saturated fat; 10mg cholesterol; 50mg sodium; 12g carbohydrate; .5g fiber; 6g sugars; 1g protein
Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.