christmas cookiesBy GAIL MIYASAKI

Yo, ho, ho . . .

That jolly old St. Nick will be paying his midnight visit along with you know who, Rudolph, and his gang of eight!

On Christmas morning, listen for shouts of excitement and see smiles of joy from children around the globe. Only through the eyes of an innocent, young child do we fully realize what Christmas is really all about.

The month of December is absolutely downright crazy! With tons of things to do, aside from the day job, there are lists make and check off, shopping at arts-and-crafts shows and brick-and-mortar stores with wish lists in tow, when not clicking online sites, like Amazon with free shipping if you have Prime status, and online sites tempting with discounted last-minute deals and before Christmas delivery.

For all the yummy fixings, plus party supplies and wrappings needed for friends and family gatherings and gift-giving, we make numerous trips to Costco, Sam’s Club and Target. Who can figure out why there is always a missing item, or two, when you’re ready to wrap or cook?

Cookies are a fave of mine to bake and share. New recipes are ever enticing. Last month, I tried one from Ghirdardelli, the Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies, to share with friends as we wrapped gifts for a needy family with kids. Deliciously light and chocolatey, they’re a tad messy to make, but well worth it.

This featured recipe from award-winning baker Alice Medrich was printed on my bag of Scharffen Berger bittersweet baking chunks, and it called out to me! My introduction to this baker came via cousin Karen, who loves all things dark chocolate and had tried some of her recipes.

A definite keeper, it is a front-runner to the traditional Nestle’s chocolate chip recipe! Enjoy!

To you and yours, both near and far, have the merriest and happiest of holidays!

Alice Medrich’s Chocolate Crunch Cookies recipe is adapted from her book “Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies,” with permission from Artisan Books.

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

16 T unsalted butter (2 sticks), melted, still warm

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar, packed

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 cups Scharffen Berger semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks (2 bags)

1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

1) In a small bowl, thoroughly combine flour and baking soda.

2) In a large bowl, mix melted butter with both sugars, vanilla and salt. Mix in eggs.

3) Add flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

4) Let stand for 1 to 2 hours (refrigerate is my preference).

5) Preheat oven to 350-375 degrees (depends on your oven temperament).

6) Place rounded spoonfuls of dough about 3” apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

7) Bake 9-11 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown at the edges and no longer look wet on top. Rotate pans from top to bottom, from front to back, halfway through baking time (browns more evenly).

8) Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to cooling racks.

9) Cool completely before storing or stacking. Makes about 5 dozen.

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