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200 Cookies in 40 Seconds – Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our kitchen to yours.

Our family had fun making over 200 cookies in a pre-Christmas butter-using gut-busting binge-inducing bake off. We patched together a quick video to help celebrate.

No pressure cookers were used in the creation of these Christmas cookies, although we did consult with one first.

Here’s a link to the video if the embeding isn’t enabled: Baking 200 cookies in 40 seconds

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While Thanksgiving is all about the pies, Christmas is all about the cookies. This year we made some old family favorites as well as some new delicious additions. We even tried the ambitious, and delicate, “no bakes.”

There were many candies unwrapped, nuts chopped, and boxes of butter creamed with sugar. We joked about secret ingredients (which we share below…Shhhh!), remembered great family stories, and got ourselves covered in sugar and flour.

The end result was a fantastic day, and enough cookies to eat until your pants won’t buckle, and still have some for gifts. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Do you have a favorite holiday recipe? What are your family traditions at the holidays?

We also uploaded a quick closeup video to show the different kinds.
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Peanut Butter Blossoms:

1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbs. milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 bag Hershey’s kisses

Mix everything (except the Hershey kisses) together, and roll into 1″ (1 Tbs) balls. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading, and bake at 375 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes. Add the kisses, in the middle, for the last 2 minutes. Delicious! Makes about 2 dozen.

Snowballs aka Russian Tea Cakes:

1/2 cup shortening (this recipe requires shortening, not butter or margarine)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix the first three ingredients well.

1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Roll into 1 tsp. sized balls, and bake for 8 – 10 minutes at 375 degrees until the bottoms are just starting to brown when you roll them over.

While still hot, roll in a mixture of powdered sugar and sugar free raspberry jello mix. The raspberry jello is the secret ingredient that just makes them have a little more kick – and makes them a festive red.

Moist Cake-like Pumpkin Cookies:

1/2 cup butter (room temp is best)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 small can of pumpkin, just over 1/2 cup
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup flour

Cream the butter and sugars, and then mix in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Add in flour, soda, powder, salt, and cinnamon and mix well. Dough will be very moist. Use two teaspoons to transfer to a cookie sheet, about 1 tbs dough placed 2 – 3 inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes, until cooked through but only barely browning. They will stay super moist. Optional: (before baking) top with chopped walnuts. Or after baking frost with cream cheese frosting, or a sugar glaze. I like the nut topping best.

“No Bakes” aka Chocolate Peanut Butter Awesomeness:

On the stove in a saucepan, mix:
2 cups sugar
3 Tbs. cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter

Bring the pot to a full boil, and let it boil for 5 minutes.

Take off the heat and immediately add:
2 tbs cold milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)

Bring back to a boil for 1 minute, and then spoon onto wax paper to cool. Dough will be gloopy but should set up in about 10 – 15 minutes. It will look shiny and still wet, but should be a soft, delicious cookie. (These are Ryan’s favorites)

And the last, newest addition to the baking fiesta:

Diana’s Heath Bark (tastes surprisingly like a Heath bar…

So Good!)

Saltine crackers
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1 bag chocolate chips (or dark chocolate, or peanut butter chips…)
(optional) chopped nuts, pretzels, any topping you’d like…

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil, and add saltine crackers end to end like a quilt.
On the stovetop, mix the butter and sugar, and melt. Let boil for 3 minutes until a syrup is formed. Pour and spread evenly over the crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes until just starting to brown. While still hot and bubbly, melt the chocolate chips evenly over the top. Add any toppings you’d like. Place in the freezer for an hour until everything is solid again. Break apart by hand, and enjoy the crunchy, sweet, explosion of flavor. (and don’t tell anyone that the secret ingredient is the saltines until after they try a piece…)

We have so many awesome things planned for 2012. Here’s to the start of a fantastic New Year. Cheers, and happy cooking!


“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” ~Julia Child  

Why learn pressure cooking?
It’s 7 pm. The end of the work day stomach rumbles…

In one hand, a take out menu. In the other hand, the refrigerator door…its contents staring back almost as blankly as we are towards them. We want a homemade meal, but also want something quick and simple to make.
1. Simple and quick recipes requiring basic skills to become proficient in the kitchen.
2. Quality ingredients, not necessarily 100% organic, but meals without artificials and chemistry class additives.
3. To understand more of the story of our food and take small steps towards self-reliance.

It’s true, there are many benefits to pressure cooking: the time savings, the taste, a small step towards self-reliance, sustainability… but the real benefit is in what we learn as we redefine our relationship with food. Good food can be fast. Good food can be easy.

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