This was a lesson I learned when I was teaching - the importance of appreciation those who help you all year long. And when the holidays come now, as I am a mother of three children, let's just say that the list of people to whom I have to present some sort of thank you to is an insane list and one that doesn't get smaller. Perhaps next year it may shrink a little as Son and Daughters will hopefully be at the same school, but one can never be completely sure.
But with the lists so long, and money only able to go so far, I have to be economical while covering a wide base of gift recipients. This year I opted to go with small boxes of homemade cookies and a $5 Starbucks card to all the teachers (more than 30 of them) who work with Son and Daughters in any sort of capacity. I also thank the secretaries and office staff at both schools and I also remember the wonderful woman who is the office manager at the music school. People don't forget your appreciation for their efforts. I guarantee it. In fact, when I handed the music school office manager my small token of appreciation this year, she said, "I wondered this morning, who might give me a present and I knew that you would." She remembers that I appreciate her.
And I do. To all the teachers who have touched my child's life, thank you. Thank you to all those who serve them in the classroom, as their tutors, teachers, mentors, models - all the wonderful things you give to my children, from the bottom of my heart I truly thank you for your kind service and your work for them. Even though my gift is not big, nor extravagant, nor expensive, know that I give it to you because I know, and appreciate all that you do.
This is my cookie of choice to give this year. I'm a little bit addicted to them. I love the combination of salty and sweet and chewy and crispy. Everyone that I've given them to thus far say that they are delicious, and yes, I will be entering them in a contest in hopes that I WIN! But winning aside, these are a deliciously scrumptious cookie and one, if you present them to the people who deserve it, will go very much appreciated.
Happy Holidays all!
Caramel Pretzel Cookies
Makes 5 dozen
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 ⅔ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup old-fashioned oats
1 ½ cups caramel bits (or regular caramels, unwrapped and cut into bits)
2 cups mini pretzel twists, left whole
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl (either in a stand mixer or in a bowl where you can use a hand mixer) and cream on medium high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla and beat until all ingredients are mixed together, another 3 to 4 minutes.
Reduce speed to low, and add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until just mixed, about 1 minute.
Add oats and caramel, and mix until just blended. Finally, add pretzels and allow them to be mixed in. Do not over mix, or you will completely crush the pretzels. (A few large chunks are rather nice.)
You can wrap the dough up, refrigerate and bake another day or bake immediately..
When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop tablespoon scoops and lay them about 2 inches apart on your baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden and firmed up.
Allow cookies to cool in pan for 5 minutes, before removing them to a cooling rack. Enjoy.
I bought my package for $2.54 and this is a set of 12 is cheaper than what I bought. But you'll be using these all up if you make these cookies several times.