I should start off by saying this isn’t a recipe I created. The basic recipe is straight from the Hershey’s site.Yes, my favorite Christmas cookie is a chewy peanut butter cookie topped by a Hershey’s milk chocolate kiss, labelled the Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies by Hershey’s. While I enjoy the taste (reminiscent of a warm, gooey peanut butter cup), it’s the memories these cookies evoke that has me craving them at Christmas time.
When I was in graduate school the fall semester always seemed worse than the spring or summer sessions. As fall semester rolled along the weather turned colder, snow appeared, and I inevitably picked up a cold. To make matters worse, the semester ended just over a week before Christmas, leaving almost no time to get ready for the holidays.
One of my fellow graduate students got the idea to host a Christmas cookie baking party the Friday after finals ended, and honestly, this kept me going through the studying and paper-writing. About four of us went to her apartment that first year. We each picked out a cookie recipe before-hand, and she — wonderful woman that she is — bought all the supplies for our recipes. My cookie recipe was actually Paul Prudhomme’s coffee cookies. One of my friends made peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s kisses and I honestly couldn’t get enough of them. Of course we ate lots of the cookies fresh out of the oven when they were warm and gooey. And being graduate students, we downed the cookies with liberal doses of alcohol.
I’m long past graduate school, but each year about this time I think about those wonderful nights my friends and I made cookies to celebrate the end of the semester and the start of the holidays. This recipe brings back those memories, and helps me celebrate not only Christmas, but friendship.
48 Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates (although my friends use the dark chocolate)
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I wonder how it would be with PB with nuts, though)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Additional granulated sugar
1 Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
2 Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
3 Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
4 Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
About 4 dozen cookies (I rarely get more than 3 dozen, so I think I make mine too big).
NOTE: One year we played around with the recipe and added a bit of cocoa powder to one batch and a bit of ground coffee to another. I wish I could remember how much we added, as both variations were quite interesting.