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Never Too Early For Christmas Cookies!

jonjohnson,flickr

I know, I know, it’s not even December, but we all love Christmas cookies! And there are some great cookies that you can make right now and toss in the freezer until you need them!  Things start to get a little crazy the closer we get to Christmas, so why not take some pressure off by baking cookies now? These freeze very well, and you’ll be glad you have them when company stops by!

These peanut butter cookies are my ALL TIME FAVORITE. They work great with kisses in the middle too.  (Mom, are you reading this?)

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
40 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped (great job for kids!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside. Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter, and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well. Shape into 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Don’t wait or they won’t work.

 

Martha Stewart’s Foolproof Holiday Fudge

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 3 cups semisweet or white chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
  • Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with two sheets of waxed or parchment paper in a crisscross manner (one lengthwise, one crosswise) so ends overhang sides of pan; coat evenly with cooking spray.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, cook sugar, salt, butter, cream, and marshmallows, stirring, until butter and marshmallows are almost melted, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Bring mixture to a boil; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chips and vanilla; stir until chips are melted. Pour mixture into lined pan.
  • Let fudge cool in the pan at room temperature, 3 hours. Use edges of paper to lift out fudge; place on cutting board and remove paper. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters, or cut fudge into bars. Sprinkle evenly with crushed candy.

 

Candy Cane Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1/2 cup peppermint candy canes, crushed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar for decoration

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, white sugar, and confectioners’ sugar. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and peppermint extracts. Combine the flour and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until well blended. Cover or wrap dough and chill for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Divide dough into halves. Color one half red by mixing in the food color. Roll a small amount of each dough into a 2-inch-long worm. Roll them together in a twisted rope and curve the end like a cane. Place onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. In a small bowl, mix together the crushed candy cane and remaining white sugar. Roll hot cookies in the sugar mixture.

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