These cookies make delicious, easy last-minute gifts

Christmas is approaching really, really fast. If you’re still looking for a few holiday gifts, but you don’t want to deal with the holiday traffic and last minute crowds, may we suggest some cookies? Whether you leave them under the tree or not is up to you. I…well, I’d just eat them. These recipes go in the categories of Easy and Easier. You can eat them with eggnog, eat them with milk, or pair them with more cookies. Do it up. If you are like me you’ll sit there with your parents and cats (very important!) and sip the nog while staring at the lights on the Christmas tree. There will quite possibly be a fire in the fireplace. All is calm, all is bright.

The first cookie is one that my family traditionally makes. We have around ten different types of treats we traditionally make. We’re big on the sweet stuff and while we don’t always get to fixing every cookie on the list, Peppermint Nightie-Nights are a must-have. It’s not unusual for us to make extra batches. They are a simple peppermint and chocolate chip meringue cookie. And they may make you want to merengue dance. Because they are just that tasty. My mom has a preference for small chocolate chips in these. If you are into even distribution of chocolate that way is for you. The rest of the fam likes using big chocolate chips, so you get to bite into pockets of potent chocolate flavor. It’s up to you. Try both and see what you like!

The second recipe is for Eggnog Gooey Butter Cookies from An Old-Fashioned Christmas by Ellen Stimson. For another recipe from the book go here! It intrigued me because it is a riff on the St. Louis classic gooey butter cake. So it made me think of my hometown. And I love eggnog. Although I was hoping for an excuse to buy some, and this recipe merely contains some eggnog-esque flavors. It is also one of the rare, rare occasions I endorse using cake mix. Normally I’m against it but it’s a gooey butter thing. The recipe is so easy and the results are so, so excellent.

Merry Christmas! And to all a good night.

Peppermint Nighty-Nights (a Clifford family classic)

  • 1/2 cup finely ground candy canes (I put them in a baggie and hit them with a hammer-relieves that holiday tension)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • chocolate chips, to taste (I used loads of Ghiradelli bittersweet chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks gradually adding the sugar once it has soft peaks. Stir in crushed candy canes and fold in chocolate chips. Dollop on ungreased baking sheets and put in the oven. Immediately turn the oven off and allow cookies to sit overnight, or at least 8 hours. Now you get to have eggs for breakfast!

Eggnog Gooey Butter Cookies adapted from An Old-Fashioned Christmas by Ellen Stimson

  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. rum extract
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar plus more for sprinkling

Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg, then the rum extract and nutmeg. Blend in the cake mix. Cover and put in the refrigerator for 2 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Important: these cookies are supposed to be gooey! Let them cool completely then sprinkle a bit more powdered sugar on.

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