On Sunday I hosted my annual cookie exchange. For the past four years a group of 12 ladies and I meet at my house for good food, games, laughter and of course swapping cookies. I won't lie, it's a lot of work to pull this off but I love entertaining and it's one event I look forward to each December.
Each lady brings a tray with 3 dozen cookies in the particular recipe she's chosen. At the end of our party we go around the tables and evenly distribute the cookies so everyone goes home with a nice variety.
Last year I started what I hope is becoming another favorite tradition of our group. While baking their cookies, if they ended up with more than their 3 dozen; they have the option to bring those along with to donate to a retirement center or some organization in our community. Last year we brought a huge box to an assisted living home for the residents to enjoy. This year we took a box to a local Hospitality House for the homeless and then the rest went to a fire station down the road from my house. Everyone is always so appreciative of them and it feels good to give back to our community....even if it is only in the form of cookies.
Normally I try a new cookie recipe each year but this time I decided to stick with an old favorite. I like to include these decadent chocolate and peanut butter cookies into my Christmas baking whenever I can. While they are a little time consuming, I will say they are definitely worth it! You'll fall in love with this soft, chewy peanut butter cookie with a creamy peanut butter thumbprint filling and lots of chocolate to go along. There's still plenty of time for holiday baking, I don't think your list is complete without these!
Peanut Butter Delights
1/2 c shortening ( I used butter flavored)
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 c sugar, divided
1 c brown sugar
3 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c milk chocolate chips
Chocolate almond bark for drizzling on top
In a large bowl, cream together shortening, butter, peanut butter, 1 cup white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix together well.
Roll into 1-1/2 inch balls, roll ball in bowl with remaining sugar. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Using the end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation into the center of each cookie.
For filling, mix together peanut butter and cream cheese. Add in sugar, egg yolk and vanilla. Spoon about 3/4 tsp into each indentation. Bake cookies at 350 for 12-15 mins. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Once completely cooled, melt milk chocolate chips in the microwave. Dip each cookie bottom into melted chocolate and let excess drip off. * You might find it easier to just spread the chocolate with a spreader or butter knife, I usually resort to this method halfway through. Lay cookies onto wax paper chocolate side up. Once bottom of cookies are dry, melt chocolate almond bark in microwave and then drizzle on top of cookies. Makes 4 dozen