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24 holiday cookie recipes

A selection of readers' favorite Christmas cookie recipes tested and taste by the Times.

By Times Staff Writer
Published November 28, 2007


Cashew Yummies

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped salted cashews

Topping:

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup chopped cashews

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 tablespoons half-and-half

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square pan. Combine sugar, brown sugar and eggs. Mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder and cashews. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

- For topping, melt butter. Remove from heat. Add cashews, brown sugar and half-and-half. Mix well.

- Spread baked bars immediately with topping. Broil about 12 inches from heat for 1 or 2 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Makes 2 dozen.

Submitted by Mary Wilkinson, Oldsmar

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Coconut Krispies Drops

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups (8-ounce package) chopped dates

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

2 cups Rice Krispies

1 to 2 cups toasted coconut

- Combine eggs and sugar in a saucepan until well mixed. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 10 minutes.

- Add dates, walnuts, vanilla, salt and Rice Krispies and remove from heat. Cool enough to handle and shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in coconut.

Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

Times testing note: These are similar to Rice Krispies treats but not as sweet or sticky. However, you'll form them into balls easier if you wet your hands or spritz them lightly with a nonstick spray.

Submitted by Marge V. Bergeron, Clearwater

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Grand Marnier Cookies

2 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons grated orange rind

1 egg

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur

1/4 cup candied red cherries, chopped

Glaze:

1 1/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier liqueur

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon milk

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.

- Sift flour, nutmeg and salt in bowl.

- Beat together butter, sugar and orange rind in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and liqueur until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. Gently stir in chopped cherries.

- Using 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie, roll into a 5-inch-long rope. Shape into a wreath and place on greased cookie sheets 2 inches apart.

- Bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned at edges. Transfer to rack to cool.

- Blend glaze ingredients in small bowl; mix until smooth and good spreading consistency. Add milk, as needed.

- Spread glaze lightly over cooled cookies. Decorate with red and green cherries to look like wreaths.

Makes 2 dozen.

Times testing note: These are a bit fussy but they scream "Christmas!"

Submitted by Barbara McGeever, Valrico

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Iced Cranberry-White Chocolate Drop Cookies

1 2/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

1 large egg

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

1 1/2 cups chopped dried sweetened cranberries

1 1/2 cups white chocolate morsels

1/2 cup chopped cranberries

Icing:

1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 to 4 teaspoons warm water

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking pans or use parchment paper.

- Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

- In mixing bowl, beat butter several minutes until light. Add brown sugar and orange zest. Add egg and vanilla extract. Beat for 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in increments, until smoothly incorporated. Add pecans, dried cranberries, white chocolate morsels and chopped cranberries, stirring until evenly distributed.

- Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls, spaced about 2 1/2 inches apart, onto the baking sheets. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool cookies on the sheet for about 3 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack. Cookies will be very tender. Cool completely.

For the icing: In medium bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract with enough water to yield a slightly runny icing. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with fine tip, or use a spoon to immediately drizzle the icing in very fine lines over the cookies until they are lightly decorated. Let them stand until icing sets, at least one hour.

Makes 4 dozen.

Times testing note: These are so sweet that they are just as good without the glaze.

Submitted by Elaine Patenaude, Tarpon Springs

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Chocolate Pepper Cookies

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of cayenne pepper

4 to 6 ounces semisweet chocolate for decoration

- Cream butter and sugar; add the eggs and beat until fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients, add to the butter mixture and beat until well mixed. If dough seems too soft, add up to 1/4 cup more flour. Divide dough into three portions, shape into flattened rounds, wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

- On a well-floured board, roll out one dough portion to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and set 1 to 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Re-roll leftover dough and cut more. Repeat with remaining dough portions.

- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just crisp. Do not allow to darken. Cool on racks.

Melt chocolate and drizzle over cookies. Allow to harden before serving. Makes 3 to 4 dozen. (These freeze well, undecorated, for up to three months.)

Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

Times testing note: We used a plastic bag and cut a tiny hole in a corner for drizzling the chocolate.

Submitted by Rachel Little, St. Petersburg

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Raspberry Fudge Ecstasies

1 (12-ounce) package raspberry chocolate pieces

2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or pistachios

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a double boiler, heat half of the chocolate pieces, the unsweetened chocolate and the butter until melted, stirring occasionally. Add the eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla and baking powder. Beat until thoroughly combined. Fold in the remaining chocolate pieces and nuts of your choice.

- Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the surface dull and cracked. Cool on wire racks.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Times testing note: We couldn't find the raspberry chocolate chips so we substituted 2 3.5-ounce bars of Perugina raspberry-chocolate candy bars and 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips for folding in. And we used pistachios.

Submitted by Mary Maskal, St. Pete Beach

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Oatmeal Carmelita Bars

Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans

3/4 jar caramel ice cream topping OR 3/4 bag cara- mels melted with 1/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons flour (mix into caramel topping or melted caramels)

- Combine all ingredients for the crust. Blend well to form crumbs. Press half of crumbs onto the bottom of a 9-inch square pan.

- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips and pecans. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Chill 1 to 2 hours. Cut into bars.

Makes 2 dozen.

Submitted by Mary-Ann Janssen, Dunedin, and Gayle Hackbarth, Summerfield

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Butter Brickle and Pecan Cookies

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 bag Heath English Toffee Bits

2 cups chopped pecans

- Melt butter in microwave or double boiler; stir in vanilla and cool completely.

- In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Stir in butter mixture; add toffee bits and chopped pecans (mixture will be crumbly). Shape into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly.

- Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.

Makes 4 dozen.

Submitted by Barbara Love, Largo, and Rachel Little, St. Petersburg

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Peppermint Pinwheels

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

1/4 cup each finely crushed peppermint-stick candy and sugar

- Mix butter, sugar, egg and flavorings. Mix flour and salt, and blend in thoroughly. Divide dough in half. Blend food coloring into one half, and chill both halves until firm.

- On lightly floured cloth-covered board, roll the plain half into a 12-inch square. Roll the red half the same size and lay on top of the plain dough. Roll the double-layered dough gently until about 1/4 inch thick. Roll up like a jelly roll and chill one hour.

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice cookies 1/4 inch thick. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake 9 minutes, or until lightly browned. While still warm, brush with egg-white glaze (1 egg white combined with 2 tablespoons water) and sprinkle with peppermint candy and sugar.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Submitted by Ruth Nelson, New Port Richey

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Honey Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup honey

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup raisins

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

- Measure flour and sift with baking soda, cinnamon, coriander and salt. In separate bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, honey, egg, vanilla, raisins and walnuts. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir in raisins and walnuts.

- Drop batter by teaspoons onto greased cookie sheets.

- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen.

Times testing note: We used parchment-lined cookie sheets rather than grease them.

Submitted by Adrienne S. Roberts, Largo

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Choco-Coco Pecan Crisps

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room tempera- ture

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup flaked coconut

- Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, pecans, cocoa and baking soda in small bowl and mix. Add to creamed butter mixture, blending until stiff dough is formed.

- Sprinkle coconut on work surface. Divide dough into four parts. Shape each into a roll about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, roll in coconut until thickly coated. Wrap rolls in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or up to two weeks. You can wrap in foil and freeze up to six weeks.

- Slice cookies 1/4 inch thick and bake in a 350-degree oven on ungreased cookie sheets for 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Times testing note: They aren't kidding when they say this dough is stiff. We snapped a wooden spoon trying to mix it. You'll have more luck using your (well-washed) hands.

Submitted by Laura Peterson, Homosassa

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Ricotta Sugar Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

1 small carton ricotta cheese

2 eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

4 cups flour

Glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar

2 to 4 tablespoons milk

3 drops almond extract

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

- Mix ingredients into a sticky dough. Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes, or until bottoms are brown.

To make glaze:Put confectioners' sugar into a saucepan. Stir milk, a few drops at a time, along with the almond extract, into the sugar and stir over low heat until completely dissolved. Drizzle over cooled cookies.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Times testing note: For decoration and additional flavor, we topped some cookies with sprinkles and others with blanched almonds.

Submitted by Georgia Mathis, New Port Richey

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Coconut Jam Bars

1 package yellow cake mix

1/3 cup unsalted butter

1 egg

1/2 cup raspberry preserves

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

3 eggs

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cup flaked coconut

- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10- by 15-inch jelly roll pan.

- In large bowl, combine cake mix, butter and egg. Mix until crumbly. Press into prepared pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly. Gently spread preserves over crust.

- In a medium bowl, mix sugar and softened butter Add eggs and beat well. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until blended. Fold in coconut. Pour over preserves and gently spread to cover.

- Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool and cut into bars.

Makes 2 dozen.

Submitted by John Pacheco, St. Petersburg

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Christmas Gumdrop Bars

1/2 cup flavored gumdrops, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup nuts

1 1/2 teaspoons flour

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons evaporated milk

1 cup flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Frosting

- Stir gumdrop pieces with nuts and 1 1/2 teaspoons flour to coat. Set aside.

- Sift together 1 cup of flour, salt and cinnamon. To this, add the brown sugar, eggs and evaporated milk, and mix well.

- Add gumdrop mixture and beat well until incorporated. (Batter will be thick.) Spread the batter into a well-greased 9- by 9-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 35 minutes.

- Cool. Frost with vanilla or orange frosting. Cut into 3- by 1-inch squares and decorate with gumdrops.

Times testing note: Gumdrops are labeled as spice drops and will be coated with sugar.

Submitted by John Pacheco, St. Petersburg

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Lemon Snowflakes

1 lemon cake mix

1 (8-ounce) tub of whipped topping

1 egg

Confectioners' sugar

- In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, whipped topping and egg. Beat or stir until blended. (Batter will be very sticky.) Drop by teaspoonfuls into confectioners' sugar and roll lightly to coat. Place on a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Variations: Use white cake mix with 1 teaspoon almond flavoring. Use chocolate cake mix. Add coconut to any variation.

Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

Times testing note: For even more lemon flavor, we added 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract.

Submitted by Janice Chandler, St. Petersburg

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Surprise Cherry Balls

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1 jar maraschino cherries, well drained

5 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate

2 cups walnuts, chopped

- Cream butter and peanut butter. Add sugar gradually and blend in milk.

- Shape 1 heaping teaspoon of this mixture around each cherry. Melt chocolate over low heat. Dip balls in chocolate, roll in chopped nuts.

- Refrigerate or freeze to keep firm.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Times testing note: These are outrageously sweet, but if you like peanut butter you'll fall for them.

Submitted by Jeri Emery, Pinellas Park

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Brandied Apricot Chews

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 cups uncooked oats

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Brandy icing:

1 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons brandy extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

- Beat together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg. Combine dry ingredients and blend into butter-sugar-egg mixture. Stir in apricots and nuts.

- Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until edges are light brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets and then remove to wire rack.

- Cool completely. Combine icing ingredients until well blended and drizzle over cookies.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Submitted by Marjorie Schneider, Spring Hill

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Sugar 'N Spice Cookies

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoons cloves

1 1/4 teaspoons ginger

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar for rolling

- Mix together shortening, sugar, egg and molasses. Sift together dry ingredients and stir in.

- Form dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on greased cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake in moderately hot oven (375 degrees) for 8 to 10 minutes.

Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

Times testing note: We upped the amount of cloves and ginger from 3/4 teaspoon to 1 1/4 and think the cookie benefited from the added flavor.

Submitted by Fran Culbertson, South Charleston, Ohio

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Sugar Pretzels

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup rainbow sugar crystals

- Into a large bowl, measure first six ingredients, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk (reserve remaining egg white to brush on cookies later). With mixer at low speed, beat ingredients until well blended, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.

- With hands, roll 1 tablespoon of mixture into a 6-inch-long rope. Shape rope into a loop-shaped pretzel. Repeat with remaining dough. Place pretzels 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Brush pretzels with egg white; sprinkle with sugar crystals. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until golden, in a preheated 400-degree oven. Carefully remove pretzel cookies to racks to cool.

- Store cookies in tightly covered container to use within two weeks.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Times testing note: We found it easier to shape the pretzels by first rolling the dough into a ball then chilling for about 30 minutes. Then you can make the log and pretzel shape.

Submitted by Sue E. Conrad, South Pasadena

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Yuletide Cookie Bars

Bottom layer:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

Dash of salt

2/3 cup cold butter

2 tablespoons cold coffee (preferred) or water

1 egg yolk (reserve egg white)

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels

Top layer:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 eggs plus reserved egg white

1 cup raisins

1 cup walnuts, chopped

Confectioners' sugar

- Prepare bottom layer: In mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix coffee and egg yolk to blend; stir into flour mixture to moisten evenly. Bring dough together enough to form a ball. With floured fingertips, press evenly onto bottom of greased 10- by 15-inch jelly roll pan (layer will be thin). Bake in 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate morsels evenly over crust; return to oven for 2 minutes to melt chocolate. Remove from oven; spread chocolate evenly with spatula. Let stand several minutes to set.

- Prepare top layer: In mixing bowl, cream butter. Beat in sugar and vanilla, then eggs and egg white, one at a time (mixture may look curdled). Stir in raisins and walnuts. Spread mixture evenly over chocolate layer. Return to oven; bake 20 to 25 minutes, until top is browned. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Cool, then cut into bars.

Makes 3 1/2 to 4 dozen.

Note: These bars freeze well.

Times testing note: These bars are fairly gooey so we found it better to chill them for 30 minutes before slicing.

Submitted by Sue E. Conrad, South Pasadena

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Pineapple Scotch Bars

Filling:

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple, lightly drained

3 tablespoons apricot jam

Crust:

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats

1 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup shortening

- To make filling: Blend sugar and cornstarch. Stir into pineapple with jam. Cook and stir over low heat until clear and thick. Cool while making crust.

- To make crust: Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Mix with oats and brown sugar. Work in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Pat half into a 9-inch square pan. Spread with filling. Press rest of crumbly mix onto filling, pressing it in so the oats will not flake off and become dry.

- Bake in a 375-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. Makes 2 dozen.

Submitted by John Pacheco, St. Petersburg

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Chewy Chocolate Orange Nuggets

10 ounces dark sweet chocolate, chopped

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

6 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla

1 teaspoon orange flavor

2 tablespoons orange zest

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

10 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

Chocolate sprinkles or Demerara sugar

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a double boiler, melt the dark sweet chocolate, the unsweetened chocolate and the butter. Stir until all lumps are gone. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool. Combine chocolate mix with sugar and beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping sides often. Add eggs and combine thoroughly. Add vanilla, orange flavoring and zest, and incorporate. Add flour and salt, and mix well on low speed. Stir in the chopped milk chocolate by hand.

- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat sheets. Using a 2-inch scoop, form dough into 2-inch balls and place about 1 1/2 inches apart. Press sprinkles or Demerara sugar onto the cookies. Bake 9 to 11 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

Times testing note: Demerara sugar is a large crystal raw sugar that is generally brown. It lends a specific flavor to the cookie but you can substitute another type of sugar.

Submitted by Lisa Bazzanella Smith, St. Petersburg

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Date Whirl Cookies

For filling:

1 1/2 cups pitted dates

1/4 cup white sugar

1 pinch salt

1 1/4 cups water

1 teaspoon lemon zest

4 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

For cookies:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

- To make filling: Chop pitted dates in food chopper. Place dates into small saucepan and add 1/4 cup sugar, dash of salt and 1 1/4 cups of water. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture is of a soft consistency. Remove from heat.

- Add grated lemon zest, lemon juice and chopped nuts. Mix well and chill.

- To make cookies: Cream together 3/4 cup butter and gradually add 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar. Beat well. Beat 2 eggs until thick and add to creamed mixture part at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.

- Measure into a sifter 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Sift together twice. Sift dry ingredients into creamed mixture about 1/4 at a time. Combine thoroughly after each addition. Chill until firm.

- Divide dough into three parts. Roll out one part at a time into a rectangle. Spread with date filling. Roll up jelly roll fashion in waxed paper. Chill several hours.

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

- With sharp knife, slice 1/4-inch-thick slices off of rolls and place on greased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 13 minutes.

Makes 2 dozen.

Times testing note: We combined Anna Hager's submitted recipe with one we found on www.allrecipes.com to update the process and ingredients.

Submitted by Anna Hager, St. Petersburg; similar recipe sent in by Elaine Strubbe, St. Petersburg

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Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (11-ounce) jar choco- late hazelnut spread (Nutella)

1/4 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted

2 cups finely chopped hazelnuts, divided

Sifted confectioners' sugar

- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, combine hazelnut spread and shortening. Beat with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla, eggs and milk. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. By hand, stir in 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts Cover and chill for several hours.

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in remaining chopped hazelnuts and confectioners' sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Submitted by Kim Bauman, Orlando