When I was a little girl, I loved the tradition of putting out cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. Just before being tucked in for the night (and wearing our footie pajamas), my brothers and I would arrange a big stack of cookies on a plate for Santa – and, they were always the same, Pecan Sandies.
Instead of milk, we’d put out a big coffee mug with a tiny bottle of Kahlua beside it. As Mama so carefully explained, Santa’s favorite cookies were Pecan Sandies (hers too!) and a hot cup of coffee was exactly what he’d need to get back to the North Pole. And the tiny bottle of Kahlua? Well, it just paired well with the coffee and Pecan Sandies.
I have to admit, it took me a long time to figure out who was really enjoying the Pecan Sandies and spiked coffee each Christmas. I remember thinking Mama was SO clever to always keep a few bags of Santa’s favorite cookies on hand and for realizing that Santa would prefer a hot cup of coffee instead of that glass of cold milk all the other kids gave him. It’s funny now to think about my parents strategically placing the crumbs around the plate to look like Santa had eaten all those cookies (and I still wonder, did they really eat them all or did they put a few back in the bag?). Hmmm…..
This year, my husband and I are celebrating our first Christmas with our ten month old baby boy and are excited about all the family Christmas traditions we’ll be starting. We’ve agreed that we want to bake cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve and, in following in my Mama’s tradition, I’m going to make sure that Santa ALWAYS has his very favorite cookies to munch on.
So, this Christmas Eve, we’ll be baking one of my very favorite Chocolate Chip cookie recipes that appeared in the October 2003 issue of Gourmet magazine. This recipe makes the most delicious cookies that are both chewy (in the middle) and crunchy (on the edges). Feel free to play around with the recipe and add chopped pecans, walnuts, or different types of chocolate chips. Remember, for chewier cookies, pull them out earlier and for crunchier cookies, let them cook a little longer.
By the way, these pair very well with Santa’s other favorite, coffee and Kahlua! Enjoy!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (16 ounces)
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Lightly beat 1 egg with a fork in a small bowl and add 1 ¾ tablespoons of it plus 2 remaining whole eggs to butter mixture, beating with mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture until just blended, then stir in chocolate chips.
Scoop ¼ cup batter for each cookie, arranging mounds 3 inches apart, on 2 baking sheets. Flatten mounds into 3-inch rounds using moistened palm of your hand. Form remaining cookies on additional sheets of parchment.
Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until golden, 13 to 15 minutes (less for chewier cookies). Transfer cookies to a rack to cool and continue making cookies in same manner using cooled baking sheets. Cooled cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 days.