Daily Life, Food

Twelve Dates of Christmas | Cookie Exchange Party

Aaron and I are pretty hyped up this week, for a couple reasons:
  1. We bought a projector!! After talking about it for months and months, referring to any sort of income we receive in terms of how many projectors we could buy with it (“I got 2 projectors’ worth on my last paycheck!”), and doing lots of research, we finally picked the one: 3M Streaming Projector. It is so little, but incredibly high definition! It comes with a Roku, and we are loving projecting Netflix, ESPN, and BYU TV sports on our wall. After streaming on our little computer screens for so long, we are so excited to have upgraded. The best part is it’s small enough to take on trips or move from room to room. Man, I sound like a commercial right now, but we’re just so excited!
  2. We’re leaving for Phoenix next Wednesday, and we’re sooooo excited to see the whole Taylor clan! It’ll be a wonderful time of meeting little baby nephews and having the whole family together for the first time in years! Is it Wednesday yet?!
  3. We’ve been eating a lot of sugar lately. Oh, the goodies and the treat parties. There are always treats lying around the apartment lately (how did they all get there? Someone stop me from baking!), which is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. Sigh. I’m definitely going to need some kind of sugar cleanse after the holidays.
Speaking of treats, we’re onto a recap of our Cookie Exchange Party, our 2nd date of Christmas!
This one didn’t quite go as planned. When I received an evite by a lovely friend in the ward a few weeks ago, I for some imagined that husbands were invited, or that Aaron hadn’t been personally invited because she didn’t have his email for some reason. Nooooooooope! We showed up to a house full of women, and that’s when I realized that I was quite mistaken. It goes to show that I require blatant descriptions like, “Cookie Exchange without Men!” or “Cookie Party—Females Only!” Oh, well. What can I say? I love the guy, and I like to have him around! Aaron was a good sport and spent the time flipping through his sports stats on his phone, and I tried to appear like a wife who doesn’t invite her husband to every girls’ activity.
On the bright side, we brought home soooooo many cookies! And seeing as Aaron was the only one eating any of them (curse you food allergies!), he had a lot of eatin’ to do this week. Thankfully, we were able to give some away and let Aaron pick his favorites so he didn’t end up eating the full 50 cookies we came home with. Aren’t they lovely? I sure love our church here; everyone has been so inviting and kind! We feel like we’ve been here for years.
I thought a lot about what kind of cookie I wanted to bring to this exchange. It’s Christmas, so did I want to do more traditional Christmas flavors, or try someone a little different? I opted for a different kind of recipe that had more visual interest because, hey, I wanted mine to stand out among the billion other cookies people were taking home. I’m such an attention hog, I know.
I made these incredible black and white cookies, the perfect blend of intense chocolate and soft chocolate chip cookies. They are so incredibly soft, especially when you slightly underbake them. They are incredibly rich, which means you must have a big glass of milk ready for you. Because you’re literally smashing 2 full-size cookies into one, the result is this huge, bakery-style cookie. No complaints there. These would be so fun to make any time of the year, and I am already dreaming of other cookie varieties I can smash together.
Mint chocolate with chocolate?
Pumpkin and chocolate?
So many ideas!

Black & White Cookies
Yield: 30 cookies

You could easily half this recipe if you don’t want to make this many cookies, but if you’re like me, it’s kind of nice to have some extra cookie dough around, even if you decide to freeze the extras for another day.

INGREDIENTS
Soft Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened (use cream cheese in a block or spreadable tub)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt, optional
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Dark Brown Sugar Cookies:
1 cup (2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 large egg
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch salt, optional

DIRECTIONS
Soft Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies:

  1. Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and combine the butter, cream cheese (measure it by smashing it into a 1/4-cup measuring cup), sugars, egg, and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until it is well creamed, light, and fluffy—about 5 minutes. (You can also use an electric hand mixer and beat it for at least 7 minutes.)
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Add chocolate chips and beat momentarily to incorporate, or fold in by hand.
  4. Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds. Place mounds on a large plate, flatten slightly with a large spoon, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Don’t bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.
Chocolate Dark Brown Sugar Cookies:
  1. Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and combine the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until it is well creamed, light, and fluffy—about 5 minutes (once again, you can also use an electric hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes).
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the remaining ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds. Place mounds on a large plate, flatten slightly, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking.
After both doughs are made and have chilled:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Smash a cream cheese dough ball and a chocolate dough ball together, making sure they’re tightly combined. Depending on how chilled your dough is, you may really need to squeeze firmly. Be careful that any chocolate dough that rubs off onto your palm doesn’t stain the white dough. Wipe your hands frequently. Repeat, combining the dough balls until all of the dough is gone.
  3. Place black and white mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart. I recommend baking 6 to 8 cookies per sheet, no more. Flatten slightly before baking.
  4. Bake for about 12 to 13 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set. Don’t overbake because the chocolate cookie portion can be dry or crumbly if overbaked. Cookies will firm up as they cool. If your cookies stayed domed while baking, tap them gently with the back of a spoon to flatten. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  5. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Source: Averie Cooks

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