This week I’ve worked hard on improving a personal trait, one that is undoubtedly useful and will help me in various aspects of life. I didn’t used to be very adept in this area, but I’m getting better and better every day. I’ve been practicing my lying!
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t necessarily think that lying is a positive characteristic, one that should be habitually used and encouraged, but I’m a believer that there are times in life when it’s okay to lie. In some situations it’s really more of acting than actual lying. Take Secret Santa, for example. Every year a group of kids at my high school organizes a game of Secret Santa, and I always sign up. It’s the classic put-your-name-in-the-jar-and-draw-a-name kind of deal and although many kids immediately tell their friends who they got, I like to keep mine a secret. Some people like to hold off on the gifts until the day before we get out for Winter Break, when they give their person a huge present, but I prefer to give my recipient little gifts along the way.
Naturally, I started off the gift-giving by baking. I can’t help it, it’s in my blood! Anyway, I’ve sort of developed a reputation around school as “the baker,” so I knew that everyone would immediately suspect me. Sure enough, when my person opened up their little tin of cookies, complete with a colorfully typed description, all heads turned to me. Luckily, I was prepared. I played my ignorance card (“Am I his what? I didn’t hear what you were talking about,”) my slightly exasperated card (“No, it’s not me just because it’s cookies! Surely other people like to bake!”), and my casually curious card (“Let me see the handwriting…maybe I can tell who it is…”), all the while keeping a calm, cool, interested-but-not-suspicious demeanor. It was an excellent performance, if I do say so myself. Definitely an instance of acting, not lying.
The show was repeated multiple times as more people saw the cookies and pegged me as the Secret Santa behind them. Again and again I employed my best acting skills, trying hard not to fall into my usual giveaway grin. It was wonderful practice for the next time I have to hide something. Though I’m still not quite sure if my mastering of the art of deception is a good thing or a bad thing….scratch that. I used to be awful at lying, and now I’m passably adequate. I still have a long way to go before I reach the mastering stage, and by then I’ll probably have gotten my morals straightened out.
Now I present to you the real star of the show: Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies! They pack well, have a great chewy texture, come together quickly, yield a huge amount for gift-giving, and best of all have that wonderful combination of chocolate and peppermint! If you can’t find Candy Cane Kisses, any other type of Hershey’s kiss will do, but if you can find them they really are the best. Paired up with the chocolate cookie base and the mini chocolate chips studded throughout, these kisses make for one delicious cookie. You’ll want to take credit for these babies…I wish I could! 😉
*Note: to give the cookies a more swirl-like appearance, I like to pluck off the pointy tips of the kisses after pressing them in. You get a prettier cookie (in my opinion), and you get to eat all the tips! ‘Cause I’m all about win-wins.
Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
48 Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses, unwrapped
Cream together butter, shortening, and sugars on medium-high speed with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
On low speed or with a wooden spoon, gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. To prevent cookies from spreading, chill for 30-60 minutes.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drop tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto un-greased or lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are set but still soft.
Allow cookies to cool on sheets for 1-2 minutes, then press a Candy Cane Kiss into the center of each cookie. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. It will take several hours at room temperature for the kisses to re-harden. (To speed things up, place cookies in the refrigerator or freezer). Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yield: about 4 dozen cookies (Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites)