Hot Cocoa Cookie Cups

This is what winning looks like:

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Well, not that.

That looks like third place.

And only if I was registered as a walker instead of a runner.

This is what winning really looks like:

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Those are hot cocoa cookie cups.

And they are the best.

I have evidence.

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Hot Cocoa Cookie Cups are everything you love about Christmas sweets all wrapped up into one little chocolate package.

Hot chocolate cookies.

Vanilla Whipped Buttercream Frosting.

Rich, chocolate ganache.

I shouldn’t even share this recipe because it’s the best damn thing to come out of my kitchen since, well, the last winning recipe.

Peppermint whoopie pies

But in the spirit of the season, I will share the recipe with you because you simply must make them.

Oh, by the way, set aside about, oh,  six hours or so,  because these babies are a little labor intensive.

I started by organizing everything I would need for all three cookie components.

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The cookie recipe I used, Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles, was lightly adapted from my all-time favorite cookie book.

Vegan cookies invade your cookie jar

To make the

Hot Cocoa Cookies:

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons non-dairy milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetend cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, mix the oil, sugar, syrup, milk, and extracts.

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Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

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Mix until a pliable dough forms (add additional flour by the tablespoon, if needed).

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Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let chill while you prepare the frosting.

I used a basic buttercream recipe directly from my second favorite book:

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

For the

Vanilla Whipped Buttercream Frosting:

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

Beat the shortening and margarine together until creamy and fluffily. Add in the powdered sugar about 1/4 cup at a time, alternating with a small amount of milk. Add the vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

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Now, put the frosting in the fridge until ready to use.

Remove the cookie dough from the fridge.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll tablespoon amount into balls and place in mini-muffin pan.

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Press down with your thumb to create the cookie cup.

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Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

They will puff up when they bake, but I pressed them back down at about 8 minutes and finished cooking for an additional two minutes.

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*Tidbit: It’s better for them to be a touch underdone so the sides do not get too hard. Check them at 8 and 10 minutes.*

Remove from pan and allow to cool.

While they are cooling, prepare your ganache, also taken directly from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

To make the

Chocolate Ganache:

1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used dark chocolate almond)

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

In a small saucepan, bring almond milk to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat and add the semi-sweet chocolate and maple syrup. Stir until completely smooth.

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To assemble the cookie cups:

Add a small spoonful of the ganache to each cookie up.

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Pipe or spoon in buttercream frosting.

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Drizzle with additional ganache.

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I added a small peppermint stick to half.

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I added these cupcake toppers to the other half for the peppermint haters.

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Here they are before the competition:

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These cookie cups are definitely winners.

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I hope you decide to devour some!

In case you’re wondering why I walked my 5k, it’s because there are two people in this photo!

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You can learn all about the Peanut Baby I’ve been cooking up at

www.pbjandshay.com

Happy Cooking!

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Dreaming of a White Christmas

One of my all-time favorite Christmas movies is White Christmas.

I tear up every time I see Bing Crosby in the battle field serenading his entire division with memories of the glistening white stuff while bombs are exploding just beyond their camp.

In real life, the war in Iraq might be over but that doesn’t necessarily mean that troops will make it home in time to see their families for the holidays.

Even stateside, there are thousands of soldiers that will only get to dream of a white Christmas.

Dover Air Force Base hosts Operation Cookie Drop every year so that the young Airman that can’t make it home for the holidays can enjoy some homemade treats.

 I wanted to bring them something they don’t get to see in Delaware very often.

Snow.

The classic sugar cookie gets revamped with coconut extract and flaked coconut so that you can stop dreaming about a white Christmas and start eating it.

Snowflake Cookies

(Vegan)

½ cup vegan margarine (I used Smartbalance Organic)

1 ½ cup confectioners sugar

¼ cup coconut milk + 2 teaspoons cider vinegar

½ teaspoon coconut extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Mix coconut milk and cider vinegar. Set aside. Beat margarine and confectioners sugar together for 3-4 minutes. Add coconut milk and extract. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir to combine.

If dough is too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Form into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour or overnight.

Roll to 1/4″ thickness onto surface dusted with confectioners sugar.

Dusting your surface with confectioners sugar instead of flour ensures that you will get a sweet cookie that's not too dry.

Cut with snowflake shaped cookie cutter.

I wanted to make gingerbread men holding M-16's but I couldn't find a semi-automatic cookie cutter.

Repeat until dough is gone.

Place two inches apart on cookie sheet.

Tidbit: These cookies only need to bake for a short time otherwise you will end up with a crispy cookie. If the bottoms are brown, you've cooked them too long. They should look doughy and under-baked when they come out of the oven.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 6 minutes.

Let cool for five minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Coconut Icing:

2 cups confectioners sugar

3-4 tablespoons coconut milk

¼ teaspoon coconut extract

1 cup flaked coconut (for garnish)

Mix sugar, coconut milk, and extract. Add additional milk if necessary.

Spread each cookie with icing and top with flaked coconut.

Snowflake Cookies

Full Recipe

½ cup vegan margarine (I used Smartbalance Organic)

1 ½ cup confectioners sugar

¼ cup coconut milk + 2 teaspoons cider vinegar

½ teaspoon coconut extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Mix coconut milk and cider vinegar. Set aside. Beat margarine and confectioners sugar together for 3-4 minutes. Add coconut milk and extract. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir to combine.

If dough is too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Form into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour or overnight.

Roll to 1/4″ thickness onto surface dusted with confectioners sugar.

Cut with snowflake shaped cookie cutter. Repeat until dough is gone.

Place two inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 6 minutes.

Let cool for five minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

 Coconut Icing:

2 cups powdered sugar

3-4 tablespoons coconut milk

¼ teaspoon coconut extract

1 cup flaked coconut (for garnish)

Spread each cookie with icing and top with flaked coconut.

Thank you to all those who serve.

May God Bless you and keep you safe this holiday season.

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