Grace mentioned she'd be looking for DIY ideas, and I have one which admittedly isn't my own. (Thanks Martha!) For the past five years, around Christmas I turn my kitchen into a bakery for a week or so, every counter stacked with cake stands, trays, plates full of cakes, cookies, brownies, etc. I make sampler boxes with nice tissue paper and food wrappers and tie it all with ribbon. The easiest place I've found for monogrammed boxes is Williams-Sonoma and Treenway Silks in Canada for silk ribbons for the extra special box, or any crafting store for other types of ribbon, tissue paper, and paper baking cups. Although I'm not crazy about the WS Christmas prints, they offer various colors and patterns, like pastels and occasionally toile, throughout the year. This takes a lot of time, but it's fun and people love it! It's also nice to present as a gift to hosts of parties during the holiday season and throughout the year.
Pictured below, a box full of cherry almond chocolate chip cookies.
Cherry Almond Chocolate Chip Bliss cookie by Christine Lee
- 2.5 sticks butter, unsalted and softened (10 oz/280g)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 8 oz/225g whole or sliced almonds
- 4.5 cups (610g/21.8 oz) all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups (12 oz/330g) chocolate chips
- 1.5 cups (8 oz/ 225g) dried pitted cherries, such as Montmorency
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grind almonds in a food processor until fine (should yield approximately 2 cups of ground almonds). Set almonds aside. Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add eggs and beat to combine. Beat in almond extract. Add flour mixture and ground almonds and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips and dried cherries.
Use a #20 scoop to portion out dough (if you don’t have the scoop, make balls containing a little over 3 tablespoons of dough-about the size of a golf ball) and place 3 inches apart on ungreased nonstick cookie sheet. Use your fingers to flatten down dough to the height of a half an inch. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges.
Cool on pan for five minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Yields 24-36 cookies.
Baker’s note: Use regular sized chocolate chips to get a full chocolate burst in each bite.