Intro: Super Cookie Christmas Trees
Growing up, my mom believed that all of our food should be both healthy and delicious. Nothing epitomized this better than her chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. In her recipe notebook they are labeled just as "Super Cookies", but we also called them "Crack Cookies".
If there are cookies out there that taste better than these, I am not aware of them. To balance out the cup of butter and the two cups of sugar, they have a whopping three cups of oatmeal, a cup of wheat germ, and a half-cup of protein powder, so as cookies go they are surprisingly healthy.
The policy of the house was that, if we wanted cookies, we could make them at any time. My brothers would wait for me to bake them. I found out then that adding a teaspoon of mint extract not only made them minty good, but that my brothers hate mint.
Of course, my dad also didn't like the mint, and made me make every other batch at least without... because he loved the cookies also.
Of course, plain cookies are not enough for the good folks at Instructables. We have to raise the bar with some artistic decoration as well.
I hope you enjoy these cookies. They are super easy, super good, and super healthy!
Step 1: Ingrediesnts and Supplies
- 1c Margarine or Butter
- 1c Brown Sugar
- 1c Sugar
- 1t Vanilla
- 3 Eggs
- 1t Salt
- ½c Powdered Milk
- 1c Wheat Germ
- 1t Baking Soda
- 1-½c Flour
- 3c Oatmeal
- ¾c Chocolate Chips
Optional for Cookie Dough:
- ½c Protein Powder
- 1t Mint Extract
Decorations (the ones I used, feel free to experiment):
- Gummy Rope, 2 per tree
- Confectioner Stars, as needed (nonpareils and other decorations also work)
- Hershey's Kisses, one per tree
- Green Icing
- Baking Sheet
- Non-Stick Liner (optional)
- Mixing Bowl
- Mixer (an automatic machine or a strong partner with a spoon)
- Spoons and Flippers
- Measuring Cups and Sundry Cooking Supplies
The mint extract will make them... well... minty. Try if you like.
The protein powder just increases the health factor. It doesn't affect the taste or body that I can detect.
It is helpful to let the butter sit out on the table for a few minutes before mixing. This softens up the butter and makes for easier mixing.
Step 2: Making Dough
- Preset your oven to 350°F.
- Mix Butter, Brown Sugar, Sugar, Mint (if used), and Vanilla together in a mixing bowl.
- Mix in Eggs.
- One at a time, mix in Salt, Powdered Milk, Wheat Germ, Baking Soda, and Protein Powder (if used).
- Mix in flour slowly. This is to avoid a mess. If you mix it in fast the flour will puff out in a big cloud and you will look like an I Love Lucy bit.
- Mix in Oatmeal.
- Mix in Chocolate Chips. Make sure the chocolate chips arrive in the bowl and are not diverted to your mouth.
- Fight over who gets to lick the beater.
Step 3: Baking
The base size for the dough balls for baking these cookies should be an approximate 1-¼" ball.
For the Christmas Trees, we will need several sets of decreasingly small cookies. Start with a ball about 1-½" diameter and reduce down in stages as shown to about a ¾" ball. Make sure you leave plenty of space around the cookies, because they will spread out. You want 8 cookies, not one big cookie!
On my pan I have some aluminum foil and a silicone non-stick baking sheet. These help with cleanup and cookie removal. If you don't have this, consider a light coating of oil to prevent sticking.
Once the first sheet is ready, put it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes in a conventional oven or 9 minutes if you have a convection oven.
While you are waiting, prepare a second sheet just like the first.
Important Note: While preparing these sheets, it is entirely possible that some of the cookie dough will get diverted into your mouth. This is perfectly normal and is part of proper quality control. Just remember that these are raw eggs, which carry the risk of salmonella. Always use fresh eggs and be aware of the risks. Personally, I feel it is worth the risk, but then I have never gotten salmonella from cookie dough, so don't come to sue me!
Swap out sheets. Let the cookie sheet cool for a few minutes before attempting to remove the cookies. As the cookie cools it will firm up enough to handle. Transfer them to a cooling rack and it's time to reload! Keep track of the cookie order for size.
For the third batch, we will go smaller. Make four cookies a little under ¾" diameter and another four about ½" in diameter. This batch will only bake for 9 minutes (8 in a convection oven), because the smaller cookies bake faster.
This will make four trees. Repeat as needed for more trees, of make approximately 1-¼" ball s for regular cookies. Regular cookies still get 10 minutes (9 for convection ovens).
Step 4: Decorating and Presentation
There are two ways to go here.
- A Minimalist version where icing is used sparingly or
- The Roccoco version where icing is used heavily to cover the whole structure.
The next steps assume minimalist icing. If you do put more on as a first step, ignore the “add icing” bits... unless you have an unhealthy obsession with icing.
Make a single dollop of icing at the top of the stack. Use this to secure the two gummy ropes in place and wrap them around to form a garland. Place the Hershey's Kiss at the top to make the peak. If you are ambitious, carve a tiny chocolate angel for a topper and pat yourself on the back. You could also top with a star secured with icing.
Secure the bottoms of the ropes with icing.
Put small dots of icing strategically around the tower and use them to secure the confectionery stars.
Repeat for all trees. Arrange trees in a pleasing configuration with any normal cookies.
Now try to contain yourself until your guests arrive. They deserve cookies also...
Who are we kidding, eat them up! Enjoy them in good holiday cheer.
Note: Good holiday cheer may require additional egg nog.