With the holidays fast approaching, it’s the time of year when give thanks for all the wonderful and incredible things in my life. 2015 was a very productive year for me, staying home raising Sarah, writing, teaching my fitness courses, and tutoring. While I am naturally a workaholic, I took this past weekend to kick back, sip some peppermint hot cocoa, watch one of my favorite comedies, The Heat, and write my Christmas cards.
My most cherished family traditions include tons of baking while experimenting with new recipes, taking an evening history focused tour of the villages of the Hamptons, and watch plenty of Christmas films.
I have one grand sweet tooth, and it is always prominent around the holidays. My style in the kitchen is experimenting with baking cookies, brownies, scones, breads, I love it all. One of my most favorite traditions is baking my own rendition of chocolate chip cookies and adding those red and green festive dark chocolate M&Ms to the batter. For those extra chewy cookies, use only one egg!
I never try to resist the temptation to lust over a heaping spoonful of chocolate chip cookie dough, and this batter took the cake!
There is nothing that brings me greater joy than giving out homemade presents to my loved ones. I was in the mood for making and baking rather than spending. This year, I placed these cookies and some pieces of wrapped chocolate in clear bags tied with ribbon.
I took Sarah to make her first gingerbread house. Needless to say, it was more than a challenge to have her sit on my lap while we built and decorated it together. My husband played with her while we were at the Children’s Museum of the East End, and I decorated it. I told Sarah Elmo made it for the both of them (I had Elmo on my lap instead).
Taking photos of the pine trees decorated for Christmas around East Hampton brings me great joy. We are so blessed to have such a jolly hometown. One of my fondest memories growing up in the Hamptons is passing the lit Christmas trees at night and admiring them; I still do and will drive that extra mile or so to see Main Street and Newtown Lane to see the colorfully lit trees that adorn the sidewalks.
I’m sharing with you my mini Chocolate Chip Russian Tea Cookie recipe, adapted from one of my favorite baking blogs, Crazy for Crust.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 t Nielsen-Massey vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 cup Hershey’s mini chocolate chips
- Additional powdered sugar, for rolling
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon balls of dough and place on prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes until bottoms are just slightly brown. Remove from oven and cool for just a minute, until you can handle them. Fill a small bowl with sifted powdered sugar and roll each cookie in the sugar until coated. Place on a rack to cool. Sprinkle additional powdered sugar on top.
Have a very merry holiday season. Love, The Gordon Family.