Sugar and Spice Cookies with Cookie Butter Swirls

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Most of the time I’m not this straightforward, but if you haven’t tried cookie butter yet you’re really missing out. I eat this stuff straight out of the jar. No joke. 

The truth is, I really can’t describe cookie butter. It has the consistency of peanut butter, but it isn’t chalky enough so that you can’t eat it plain. For some reason, it tends to complement most everything. I love eating it on a toasted English Muffin with slices of banana. It’s very versatile.

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I’m so glad I got to fit in some baking even though finals have started (just two more days to go! aaghhh!). After this Friday, I’ll be free to bake to my heart’s content. I’m looking forward to sharing  a few recipes that  I make every year for Christmas. Just the thought of them makes me anxious to get finals over with.

This recipe was originally without the “cookie butter swirls” part, but a part of me guided my hand to the pantry straight towards the cookie butter. The “swirls” part is a bit exaggerated because they aren’t really swirls. I just gently mixed it in so that it wasn’t completely incorporated into the mixture– maybe you could call it cookie butter stripes? Whatever the name is, enjoy the recipe. They taste like Christmas in a bite. Literally.

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Sugar and Spice Cookies with Cookie Butter Swirls sort of adapted from Bake or Break.

Makes about 35 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) cream cheese
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter

Directions:

1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices until well incorporated.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, cream cheese, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add egg and vanilla, mix well.

3. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Add the cookie butter, gently stirring just until it is dispersed in “stripes” across the mixture.

4. Cover dough and refrigerate for at least an hour.

5. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray baking sheets with nonstick spray.

6. Roll the dough into 2 tablespoon balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.

7. Cool on pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Enjoy!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (minus the snow)

The air is getting colder, the heater is on a regular schedule, and it never seems like there’s enough time in the day to accomplish anything (well, it always seems to feel that way, regardless of the season). We lit the fireplace for the first time this autumn, clearly signifying the beginning of the holidays. To be honest, time has flown by all too quick– on Thanksgiving, I woke up and to me, it felt like just another day until the ovens turned on and the mad rush to make Thanksgiving dinner began.

Last weekend we got our fresh-cut Christmas tree. My parents have considered just buying a fake one, but every year I insist on driving to the tree place up the street. I think I’ve persuaded them to keep doing so until I go to college- then *maybe* they can buy an artificial one. I just love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree.

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Finals are in 2 weeks (ugh) and it’s been hard to get into the Christmas spirit. School ends just a few days before Christmas Eve, which frustrates me– by the time we’re done studying, done with exams, there are only a couple days before Christmas and then it’s over. There’s hardly enough time to go ice skating, gift shopping, etc.

Despite school’s interference with holiday joy, I’m trying my best to enjoy the season anyways. Sometimes when I’m working late, I’ll cozy up with my AP World History book and a cup of Ghirardelli hot chocolate. That stuff is amazing. It’s so rich that I can hardly finish an entire cup without feeling the need to drink a cup of milk to compensate for the intense chocolate-y goodness. We decorated our Christmas tree yesterday, and I must say, it is beginning to feel like the holiday season.

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It’s a gorgeous tree. The picture doesn’t really do it justice. We’ve collected so many ornaments over the years; whenever we pull one out of the tissue paper, the “remember this?!” ‘s always start a story. Decorating the tree has been a post-Thanksgiving tradition for as long as I can remember.

Another reminder of the season is the major drop in temperatures. This week we’re experiencing below freezing temperatures. The low tonight is 28 degrees.

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This Christmas, it’s my goal to slightly put aside the school stress and focus on the bigger picture: it’s a joyful time that comes only once a year; why waste it by focusing too much on school, which already gains my attention for 10 months out of the year. I also refuse to fall into the ever increasing consumerism mindset that Black Friday sales and “holiday specials” magnify.

I hope everyone enjoys the holidays with their friends and family. What are some Christmas traditions you have?

PS: Expect more recipes soon!