I promised author Gin Jones that I would post a Christmas cookie recipe this week as part of a blog tour. Easy right? Right, because The Man Writing a Romance knows exactly one cookie recipe, and it’s the one on the cover of every box of oatmeal—modified liberally because The Man Writing a Romance follows no recipes.

Now, you might be thinking, “But, Dave, that’s not a Christmas cookie recipe,” but when one has naught but a single recipe, said recipe is appropriate throughout the year. And who doesn’t say—in December, at least—that we should “keep Christmas in our hearts” all year round?

Plus, the recipe on the box is for raisin cookies, which is fine. If you’re gonna do that, I suggest those gushy-gooey baking raisins and doubling the amount because, hey…twice the gushy, twice the gooey. Me, I say to hell with the raisins. Load the dough up with chocolate chips or, even better, chocolate chunks.

Chocolate chips occupy a warm space in my heart. Especially at Christmastime. When I was a kid, my mom set aside a day as Christmas Cutout Cookie Decorating Day. My sisters and I got to help with everything, from rolling the dough to cutting out the shapes to slathering on icing and topping it with jimmies and sprinkles.

I hate jimmies and sprinkles. And,  to tell you the truth, I’m not all that fond of icing, either. Or sugar cookies. Doing the decorating was a blast; eating them not so much. On the other hand, I scarfed down my share of chocolate chip meringue cookies, chocolate crinkles and fudge.

See the pattern?

Among the cutouts we made every year was the family of gingerbread men. (It was the 1960s—we called them “men,” even though three of the five in my family were female. And we called them “gingerbread” even though they were made from sugar cookie dough.) We each decorated our own. My sisters created fashion plates modeled on cardboard Barbies wearing punch-out paper outfits. I covered every square centimeter of mine with Nestles’ bittersweets. But there still was that icky icing and too-sweet sugar cookie taste to contend with.

Eventually, my gingerbread dude evolved into being the only “naked” treat on the tray. I’m never involved in decorating any more, but my sister carries on the tradition with her family—and the legend of the “Naked Dave” cookie (now also known as the “Naked Uncle Dave” cookie) persists. You can see it by clicking here.

I guess I could share the cutout cookie recipe and suggest you leave one in the batch bare. Instead, I’m going to give you the gift of chocolate.

Because it wouldn’t be Christmas without chocolate.

Naked Uncle Dave’s Riff on Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Only With Chocolate Chips Instead of Raisins, Plus Double the Chocolate Chips

Makes four dozen

• 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
• 3/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar (A little less tastes better because, you know, too much sugar = blech.)
• 2 eggs (Jumbo ones—not those wimpy “large” or “extra-large” ones. What a joke.)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda (If you’re a man, don’t get this confused with baking powder. Ask a woman; she’ll know.)
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon salt (Or just flick the salt shaker over the mixing bowl a couple, three times. I mean, why get another utensil dirty?)
• 3 cups oatmeal (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
• 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks (Or, hell, make it two cups.)

Heat oven to 350°F. In the meantime, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until creamy. Really beat the crap out of it. High speed. If your mixer goes to 11, set it to 11. (Note: If dough flies around the kitchen, use seasonally-appropriate swear words. Also, use a bowl that’s big enough to fit all of these ingredients, or you’re gonna hafta transfer them, and that’s just one more bah, humbug thing to wash.)

Eat a few of the chocolate chunks.

Throw in the eggs and vanilla and beat some more. Combine the flour, baking soda (NOT powder), cinnamon and salt, dump them into the already beaten glop and mix it up. Add oats and choco chunks and mix again. Sneak a couple more chips first.

Now, make little meatballs with the dough and plop them onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake eight to 10 minutes or until golden brown. After they’ve cooled on a wire rack, eat the less visually-appealing cookies and serve the rest to family, friends and loved ones.

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