1. Chocolate chip or chocolate chocolate chip cookies made from a mix or from a sliced log
2. Golden cake with chocolate frosting (NEVER chocolate cake with white frosting) from a box and from a spreadable tub, respectively
2. Blueberry muffins from a mix
3. Pouring chocolate pudding into a graham cracker pre-made crust to make pie
That was pretty much the rotation, and even then, using these items was quite rare. I remember watching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (the cartoon version) when it was aired for the first time around Christmas and seeing incessant advertisements for Pillsbury sugar dough 'slice' mix, which you could cut into shapes to make angels, and there was great reluctance in my household to reify sugar in such a manner. I guess that's why I ended up taking a class called 'Animals: Realms of Power' in graduate school and ate a lot of snack cakes while doing so.
I also remember once begging to make some really decadent cookies when my Brownie troop had a 'bake-off' contest, and my mother insisting on making a low-sugar variety, much to my displeasure. Shockingly, I lost to a girl who made something studded with M&Ms and laced with chocolate.
Needless to say, when I was growing up, I never made these classic Christmas treats--peanut butter blossoms.
I used the recipe from the Hershey's website but I modified several things, and other than the kisses, I didn't use Hershey's products.
Dark Chocolate Creamy Peanut Butter Blossoms
--makes 24 large cookies--
1/2 cup butter (I used salted, but I am a salt-o-holic when it comes to nuts)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 beaten, large egg
2 tablespoons milk (I used skim, because that's what I had on hand)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
24 unwrapped dark chocolate Hershey's kisses (or more or less, depending on how you size your cookies)
1. Preheat the oven to 375F, line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Cream the butter, peanut butter, and two sugars together. Gradually incorporate the egg, milk, and vanilla.
3. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. Incorporate the dry and the wet mixture until dough is formed.
4. Scoop out dough into approximately 1-inch balls. Do not flatten. Bake for 8-12 minutes until dough is slightly browning and 'crackling.' Press kisses immediately into the center of the cookie upon extracting from the oven.