How much cooking have you guys done this week? And does anyone else feel like, no matter how many parties you go to and baskets you give away, the ridiculous amount of dangerously delicious things in the house keeps multiplying? Some kind of Christmas miracle.
My cooking adventures have run the gamut this week from the consistent annual successes to... well, garlicky, stinky disasters. My favorite "no-duh" lesson of the week: don't mess with a recipe the very first time you make something you've never tried before. I made a pate for my sister. Now, I personally have never had pate, but it seemed like something that should probably have bacon and garlic. Rather than a delicious spread, it turned into the kind of thing that you only took the lid off of in order to weaponize it. That's strong stuff.
|Bacon. Garlic. I still don't understand how this went wrong.|
The baking portion of the week was as wildly successful as usual, except that I had to do way more of it than normal. For example, this is how I usually bake cookies with the fam:
|Notice the pasta. This is my job, and I much prefer it that way.|
It's not that I don't like to bake. Cakes are the kind of adventure I can get behind, and I make a mean loaf of beer bread. Cookies, however, are another story. Too much sticky scooping, and I never seem to have enough pans for optimum efficiency.
BUT, Mom and the twin abandoned me with bowls and bowls of dough and smudged, torn pages of recipes this year, so the baking fell to me. The recipe that is obviously the most tattered and worn is for cream cheese cookies, and for good reason. We like to play around with new recipes now and then, but these are an annual must-have.
For me, Christmas tastes like cream cheese cookies. These guys are so iconic of Sawyer-family Christmas that I struggled with the decision to share them. But a Betty Crocker recipe doesn't easily qualify as a secret family recipe, so I decided not to be crazy, instead.
|Must be the goodness of the season getting to me.|
If you can't make it to my parents' house for a taste in the next few days, try these out first chance you get. I imagine everyone is done with their Christmas baking for the year, but these guys are so simple, they're perfect for any cookie occasion (and let's be honest: someone else has the chocolate chips covered). Yellow cake mix cuts out the need to measure almost anything. Crusty outer peaks give way to a chewy, soft center. They somehow just taste yellow. These bright, cheerful cookies go a long way toward helping me get through these twenty-degree December days. Stay warm, and Merry Christmas!
Cream Cheese Cookies
I've broken a hand mixer on a double batch of these before. Just be aware.
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 package cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package yellow cake mix
Beat butter and cream cheese on low until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add cake mix roughly 1/3 of package at a time, mixing thoroughly between each batch. If doing a double batch, you may need to mix the last bit by hand to get all the mix beaten in completely.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for at least one hour, up to two days. When ready to bake, heat oven to 375. Space small spoonfuls of dough about an inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 7-10 minutes, until the cookie peaks turn a light golden brown. Cool before transferring from cookie sheet.