Christmas Cookie Palooza: dark chocolate almond blossoms.

This time of year, I turn into a real tradition freak. I adore the Christmas ornaments that I’ve had since I was a child. I break out the same wintery faux garland for over the mantel that I’ve used forever. I carefully unpack the sequinned, hand-stitched Christmas tree skirt that I made the first holiday season after Rob and I were married.

And I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas cookies, too — making the same favorites from one year to the next.

But for the first of several upcoming posts on Christmas cookie recipes, I’m going to upend tradition. Only a little bit. Stay with me here: This update of the classic peanut butter blossom cookie recipe, if I may say so, totally rocks. The idea to use dark chocolate kisses came last Friday when I hung out with my cousin Liam and his friend Ariel, who raved about how great the dark chocolate was on the two batches of peanut blossom cookies they’d made last week. Of course, what pairs better with dark chocolate than almond?

So this unconventional Christmas cookie recipe updates the traditional peanut butter-chocolate blossom — a recipe I’ve used for decades — with bittersweet chocolate and almond butter. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

dark chocolate almond blossom cookie recipe

makes about 4 dozen

1 (11-ounce) package Hershey's Special Dark kisses
1/2 cup vegetable shortening or solid coconut oil
1/2 cup smooth almond butter
1/3 cup (lightly packed) brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar + more for rolling
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Lay parchment paper on two baking sheets. Unwrap 48 chocolate kisses; pour about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), cream together the shortening/coconut oil and almond butter until well-combined. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and blend well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt, and stir to combine thoroughly. Scoop teaspoons of dough and use your hands to roll them into balls no more than 1 inch in diameter. Roll the balls in granulated sugar to coat; arrange them on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking time. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and top the cookies with Hershey's kisses, pressing lightly. Bake 5 minutes more. Cool before transferring cookies to a wire rack. Store 3–5 days at room temperature, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

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