I typically don’t do a lot of cookie baking around the holidays since we already seem to be swamped with sweets from every corner at this time of year. However, once our daughters were old enough to bake with me, I wanted to begin a tradition of making some type of shaped cookie that they could decorate as they pleased. Since I personally don’t care for gingerbread, I was delighted some years ago to find a recipe for chocolate cookie dough that I could use.
Chocolate Holiday Bears
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 package (4-serving size) chocolate flavor instant pudding & pie filling
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 squares baking chocolate, if desired
Decorations, such as assorted small candies, raisins, craisins, sprinkles, chocolate (or other flavored) chips, colored sugars, mini marshmallows, shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, sugar, dry pudding mix and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
Combine remaining dry ingredients. Gradually add to pudding mixture, beating until well blended after each addition. Form into ball. (Refrigerate for up to one hour if dough is soft.)
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out the dough into shapes using large cookie cutters; place on lightly greased baking sheet. Reroll scraps and cut additional cookies as needed.
Decorate cut-outs with assorted decorations, pressing in lightly. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly firm. Remove from baking sheets. Cool on wire racks.
Melt chocolate in microwavable bowl on medium power until melted. Spread on cookies as desired or use as “glue” to attach more decorations.
Every year, my daughters and I bake these together a few days before Christmas, keeping some for ourselves and sharing some with friends. This time we decided to carry out this tradition by including a couple of friends in the baking. To help things go more smoothly, I made the dough ahead, then had each set of girls roll out their own dough, use the cookie cutters to create the shapes they desired, then decorate their individual cookies.
Others are sharing their Christmas food traditions at Life as Mom.