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Christmas Cookies

I have a cookie exchange on Sunday, and every year (no matter where we live) I make a variation on the recipe below. They have a chocolate batter and usually I add some combination of Craisins, white chocolate chips/chunks, and macadamia nuts. This year, after having the peppermint bark from Costco, I got a hankerin’ to make the cookies with crushed peppermint candy and even bought a box of candy canes in anticipation. Then my friend Lauren clued me in that Andes now sells pre-crushed peppermint candy, which will definitely be part of my Lazy Baker book if I ever write one, and Steve will make sure that the candy canes don’t go to waste. Anyway, the recipe is from Betty Crocker’s Cookie Book (one of my favorite wedding gifts) and fortunately I just googled the title and was able to copy/paste as I am not the only one on The Internets who loves this recipe. [I did add comments in italics.]

Outrageous Double Chocolate-White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Yield: about 2 dozen [large] cookies1 (24-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips (4 cups)
1 cup butter or stick margarine, softened [I use unsalted butter]
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (6-ounce) package white baking chocolate, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch chunks [or a package of white chocolate chips or pre-made chunks]
1 cup pecans or walnut halves or macadamia nuts, dried cherries, dried cranberries, or crushed peppermint candy. 

Heat oven to 350°.

Heat 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate chips in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted.

Cool to room temperature, but do not allow chocolate to become firm. [I microwave these in 30-second increments until just melted. I don’t usually have time to let that cool to room temperature, and the one time I did I seem to remember the dough getting too stiff anyway.]

Beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and melted chocolate until light and fluffy. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in remaining 2 1/2 cups chocolate chips, the white baking bar chunks and pecan halves.

Drop dough by level 1/4 cupfuls or #16 cookie/ice-cream scoop about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. [I have stacked two 1″ balls with good results, or made 1″ balls and baked 2-3 minutes less.] Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until set (centers will appear soft and moist). Cool 1 to 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

——————Update after the exchange: I didn’t end up getting the Andes peppermint crumbles because the grocery store sold out of them long ago. The crushed candy canes worked well, although next time I’ll unwrap them first and put them in one bag to hammer all together. Oh, and one more thing: Have you seen all the flavors of Hershey’s kisses available now? I particularly like the peppermint striped ones, so if you’re going to make these cookies you could just chop those up and have your white chocolate and peppermint all in one.