Have yourself a cookie-filled Christmas

DSC_0285By Rebekah Devorak | Opinions Editor

Nothing says Christmas break quite like drowning all of your finals week sorrows in endless cookie dough. That is, until you realize with sudden panic that you haven’t started Christmas shopping yet. Unfortunately for most, being a college student is synonymous with not having a lot of extra cash on hand. Luckily for you, these three cookie recipes will make the perfect gifts for anyone on your list. Not only are they inexpensive to create, but friends and family will be equal parts touched and impressed that you took the time to bake them something special. How is that for the easiest, tastiest Christmas ever?

cookies_6Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Can’t choose between chowing down on a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie or dunking an Oreo in a glass of milk? This recipe confirms two cookies are most definitely better than one, and now you will never have to make that painful decision again. Place a couple of these monster-sized cookies in a large mason jar and tie a sparkly ribbon around the top for a Pinterest-inspired present. To make them even more fun and festive, add red and green M&Ms instead of chocolate chips.

Ingredients: 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter, ¾ cup packed light brown sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 3 ½ cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 package Oreos

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar to a tabletop mixer and beat on a low-speed setting until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs to mixer and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, add flour, baking soda and salt, stirring to combine. Incorporate dry ingredients slowly into the mixer using a low-speed setting. Once the ingredients are all combined and form a traditional dough consistency, stir in chocolate chips.

cookies_4Next, form all of the dough into individual spheres approximately the size of golf-balls, and then set them aside on a separate cookie sheet. Each cookie will use two of the chocolate chip dough balls and one Oreo. Take one of the chocolate chip dough balls and place the Oreo on top. Place the other chocolate chip dough ball on top of the Oreo and form the dough from the top and bottom together so that no parts of the Oreo are visible. Put all of the completed cookies on a wax paper-covered baking sheet. Bake cookies for 13 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

This recipe yields approximately 24 cookies.

cookies_5Oreo Cake Batter Cookie Bars

Become the envy of your friends and family with this recipe that transforms a boring boxed cake mix into cookies that are to die for. The recipe only takes about 30 minutes in total from start to finish, so these make the perfect hostess gift for any last minute holiday parties on your schedule. Wrap these colorful bars in printed wax paper and tie them up with burlap string for a rustic and wholesome present. Don’t forget to give a witty smile when everyone asks you what the secret recipe is.

Ingredients: 1 box white cake mix, ½ cup oil, 2 eggs, ½ teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup Christmas-themed sprinkles, ⅔ cup chocolate chips, ¾ cup coarsely crushed Oreo cookies, ¾ cup coarsely crushed animal crackers

cookies_2Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use cooking spray to grease a 13-by-9 inch pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil, eggs and vanilla extract with a rubber spatula until it forms a soft dough. Add sprinkles, chocolate chips, Oreo cookies and animal crackers and lightly combine. Press the mixture into the pan until it is evenly distributed. Bake for 18 minutes or until the center is set and the top is slightly golden. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

This recipe yields approximately 12 to 15 cookies.

cookies_3Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookie Balls

While these are the most labor-intensive and time-consuming of the bunch, these cookies definitely have the wow factor that everyone looks for on Christmas morning. They are delicious and creamy, and the outer chocolate coating adds an air of sophistication. Package these cookies up for mom in a pretty box inspired by those that hold luxurious chocolates and affix the top with a bow. Make sure to keep them in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat, though; these cookies truly are too good to let go to waste.

Ingredients: 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 26 finely crushed Oreo cookies, 16 ounces of melted semi-sweet white or dark baking chocolate, Christmas sprinkles

cookies_1Directions: Finely crush Oreo cookies using either a food processor or a rolling pin and freezer bag. Mix Oreos with cream cheese until completely blended. Shape the mixture into evenly-sized balls and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. After the cookies are done freezing, melt the baking chocolate. Place chocolate into a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds increments until melted, stirring well after each 30 seconds. Dip the Oreo balls into the melted chocolate until they are completely covered. Before the chocolate dries, top with Christmas sprinkles. Refrigerate completed cookies for one hour or until firm.

This recipe yields approximately 48 cookies.

All photos by Rebekah Devorak