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Cookies for Santa

Ever wonder how many different cookies Santa eats on Christmas Eve?  In our house he will have several to choose from. Our table will host some nutmeg cookie logs, caramel pecan shortbread and a secret kiss cookie among all the others. Hope you have fun baking this holiday season. Merry Christmas to all. – Pat

Nutmeg cookie logs
Cookies –
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons rum extract
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Frosting –
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3/4 teaspoon rum extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 tablespoons Half-and-Half or milk
additional ground nutmeg

In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, 1 cup butter, 2 teaspoons rum extract and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. With spoon, stir in flour and 1 teaspoon nutmeg. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes for easier handling. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough into 12 pieces. On floured surface, shape each piece of dough into long rope, 1/2 inch in diameter and about 15-inches long. Cut into 3-inch logs. On ungreased cookie sheets, place logs 1 inch apart. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 20 minutes. In small bowl, mix all frosting ingredients except nutmeg, adding enough half-and-half for desired spreading consistency. Spread on tops and sides of cookies. If desired, mark frosting with tines of fork to resemble bark. Sprinkle lightly with additional nutmeg. Let stand until frosting is set before storing. Yields: about 60 cookies.

Peanut butter-brownie cookies
1 box (19.5 oz) Pillsbury traditional fudge brownie mix
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 ounces cream cheese (half of an 8 oz block)
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 container chocolate fudge frosting

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, beat brownie mix, melted butter, cream cheese and egg 50 strokes with spoon until well blended (dough will be sticky). Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets to make 24 cookies; smooth edge of each to form a round cookie. In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and peanut butter with spoon until mixture forms a ball. With hands, roll rounded teaspoonfuls peanut butter mixture into 24 balls. Lightly press 1 ball into center of each ball of dough. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are set. Cool cookies on cookie sheets at least 30 minutes. Remove cooled cookies from cookie sheets. Spread thin layer of frosting over peanut butter. Yield: 24 cookies.

Secret kiss cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
30 milk chocolate kisses
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar, divided
2 tablespoons baking cocoa

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and mix well. Fold in walnuts. Refrigerate dough for 2-3 hours or until firm. Shape into 1-inch balls. Flatten balls and place a chocolate kiss in the center of each; pinch dough together around kiss. Place 2-in apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until set but not browned. Cool for 1 minute; remove from pans to wire racks. Sift together 2/3 cup confectioners sugar and cocoa. While cookies are still warm, roll half in cocoa mixture and half in remaining confectioners sugar. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Caramel pecan shortbread
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Filling:
28 caramels
6 tablespoons evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Icing:
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pecan halves

In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in milk and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in thickness. Cut into 2-in x 1-in strips. Place 1-in apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. For filling, combine caramels and milk in a large saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until caramels are melted and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in the butter, sugar and pecans. Cool for 5 minutes. Spread 1 teaspoon over each cookie. For icing, in a microwave, melt the chips and milk; stir until smooth. Stir in the butter, sugar and vanilla. Cool for 5 minutes. Spread 1 teaspoon icing on each cookie; top each with a pecan half. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 4 dozen.

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