Chocolate Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Cookie Dough
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 1/4 cups softened butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until very well mixed and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix in until completely blended. On low speed gradually add the dry ingredients, once incorporated mix on medium speed until very well combined. I desired, at this point stir in 2 cups of baking chips in whatever flavor you desire. Using a cookie scoop or teaspoon place balls of dough on an ungreased baking sheet 2" apart and bake at 350*F for 8-10 minutes. Cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to wire rack to cool completely. These cookies flatten a lot when cooling don't be alarmed. They stay nice and bendy. Yields roughly 48 cookies

Chocolate cherry iced cookies: Add 3-4 Tablespoons of Maraschino Cherry juice to the dough, along with 2 Tablespoons of flour for every Tablespoon of Cherry juice, Mix well. Scoop out the dough normally. To each ball of dough top with a maraschino cherry half. Bake at 350*F for 8-10 minutes. Cool as noted above. When the cookies are cooled completely, ice with cherry icing. To make cherry icing mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with enough cherry juice to make a fairly runny icing. Drizzle over the cookies as desired. Allow the cookies to sit until icing is completely set (1-2 hours)

Peppermint topped cookies. Form and bake as usual. Top the cooled cookies with dollop of peppermint frosting and a dusting of crushed candy canes.
Peppermint icing; Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 3 Tablespoons of VERY soft butter and 3-4 drops of peppermint oil (depending on how strong you want the peppermint flavor to be) Mix together until smooth. For easy piping place the icing in a small zip top bag, clip a very small hole in the corner pipe the icing onto the cookie. Dust the dollop with the crushed peppermint candies.

Long chocolate pistachio, white chocolate cookies. Form dough balls into logs about the size of your index finger. Place on an ungreased baking sheet about 2" apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350*F and allow to cool on the pans for 1-2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool. When completely cool spread melted white chocolate on the cookies and sprinkle with very finely chopped salted pistachios. Allow chocolate to harden completely before storing.
To melt white chocolate chips combine 2 cups chips with 1 Tablespoon of vegetable shortening and 2 Tablespoons of whipping cream. Heat over a double boiler over simmering water stirring until everything is melted and smooth, or on 1/2 power in the microwave stirring every minute until everything is melted and smooth.
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