The Christmas Cookie Recipe Exchange Begins

With an original entry from Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry, the Christmas Cookie recipe exchange gets off to a wonderful start.

Jen’s probably best known as the dynamic pastoral associate at St. Aloysius Parish, Jackson, but to some lucky folks out there, she’s also a baker extraordinaire.

Every year as Advent inches closer to Christmas, visions of Jen’s cookies swirl in my head: little gems with thumbprints full of jam; tempting chocolate morsels; well, you get the picture.

 When it comes to Jen’s cookies, I have to make a confession: they are so good that I hoard them, sharing them only with people who savor a finely crafted cookie. My friend Pat is one of those people. She will travel miles out of her way to stop at a really good pastry shop for a small assortment of Christmas cookies. She has pronounced Jen’s cookies truly worthy of the calories and carbs. That’s high praise indeed!

 Jen’s tempting cookies may spring from the fact that she loves to bake.

 “Since graduate school, baking has been a spiritual exercise for me.  It is a way to be creative, it restores order to what can be a chaotic life, it is a way of sharing with and nourishing the people I love,” Jen said.

 “Baking time is prayer time for me.  Most of the recipes I use when I bake cookies are someone else’s–while most of the time I adapt recipes for bread or cakes or pies or ice cream to personalize them, I never mess with cookie recipes.  I never had one uniquely “my” recipe. Whenever there’s a recipe swap, I shared old family recipes or things I got from magazines.    Some very forward thinking person, clearly inspired person, invented “Special Dark” cocoa.

” This challenged me to come up with a new cookie recipe.  So, here it is–a recipe for dark chocolate chip brownie cookies.”

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Ingredients: 1 package cream cheese (softened), 4 Tbs butter (softened), 1 cup sugar, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 1/3 cup flour, ½ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp cinnamon, ¾ cup special dark cocoa (or whatever kind you like), 1 cup chocolate chips

 Directions: beat cream cheese and butter in mixer. Add sugars and beat. Add eggs, one at a time and beat. Add vanilla and beat. Remember to scrape the bowl. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cocoa. Carefully wisk them until all blended. Add to the mixer and mix until smooth and evenly blended.

 Mix in chocolate chips with a spoon or spatula (not mixer) until evenly distributed. Drop by tablespoons onto a cookie sheet (lightly sprayed with baking spray) and bake for 9-11 minutes. Let cool on sheet for one minute and then transfer to cooling rack.


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