Hey you! Have you noticed the handy little recipe box icon in the left-hand column? It’s the very same recipe box I picked up at a used bookstore in Minneapolis a few years back and absolutely had to have, even though it’s the old style and doesn’t fit today’s "plus-sized" recipe cards. Click on that icon and you’ll be brought into the world of Transplanted Baker recipes, sorted by ethnicity (aka: Scandinavian or American), type (bread, pie, cookie, cake, etc...), and ingredient (with nuts, with cream, with love, etc...) I think it’s pretty handy.
And now for today’s post:
Be it corn flake wreaths dyed electric green and decorated with red hots or something weird and pruney that Grandma’s been baking for years, it’s important to find a few favorites, a few classics, a few standards to rely on to get you in that holiday spirit.
Today, you’re in for a treat. Figuratively, yes, but also quite literally. These last few cookie recipes in my 7 Cookies of Christmas series will be dedicated to the ones I grew up with. The “Larson Family Favorite Three”, we’ll call them. Consider yourself lucky to gain such easy access to recipes long held up on a pedestal.
How about kicking it off with a little chocolate. Some might claim that there’s a serious lack of chocolate on this blog. Would it boost my readership to sprinkle in a few more chocolate recipes? Would you like me more if I shared more photos of chocolate covered cookies, puppies, and rainbows? Granted these little guys may be better suited under the “candy” label in your recipe box, but for the sake of easy and for the sake of Christmas, we’ll lump it together with the other cookies. Besides, just like a really good cookie, you’ll find yourself eating 5 of these in one sitting and wondering why your pants no longer button come New Years Day (if this does, indeed, become your problem, may I recommend maternity pants to each and every one of you. Yes, even the men and grandmas out there- full of elastic, they’re the most comfortable things in the world and no longer look frumpy. Take my advice, and I won’t tell a soul).
Chocolate peanut clusters are one of my mom’s holiday standards. She’s been making them for years with four simple ingredients and always Spanish peanuts, but I’ve done a little fancy work this year and tossed in a few pieces of dried fruit to make them extra tasty. Dried sour cherries and raisins work well with salted peanuts, but use what you like, or just what you have on hand. I’d bet pistachios and craisins would make a great combo. My next attempt will be with little pieces of gingerbread! This is a quick, hard to screw-up recipe, that involves no baking and minimal talent. And they make a great gift!
Christmas "Cookie" # 5
Mom’s Chocolate Peanut Clusters
Mammas Sjokolade og Peanøtt "Klumper"
From my mom, Rachel Larson, of St. Paul, Minnesota
*Makes a heap- enough for your family’s Christmas tin plus a few dozen to give away
12 ounces (340 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate bar)
12 ounces (340 g) milk chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate bar)
2 lbs (900 g) vanilla-flavored almond bark (such as Gurley's Brand- found in the baking aisle)
1 lb. (450 g) Spanish peanuts (or other chopped nuts, or- a mix of chopped nuts and dried fruit)
In mom’s words: DO NOT BOIL THIS! Melt chocolates and almond bark over low heat, use double boiler if you have one, otherwise just watch carefully. Add nuts (and fruits, if using), by spoonful onto waxed paper or into small paper cups (sometimes called petit four papers) before mixture hardens.