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3 Festive Christmas Treats

Add these cookies and bars to your holiday treat table this year.

Chocolate-Peppermint Waffle Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  •  Crushed peppermint candies

1. In a medium saucepan heat and stir the 1 cup butter and unsweetened chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

2. In a large mixing bowl beat the granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and coffee crystals with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 4 minutes or until thick and pale. Beat in the melted chocolate mixture. Beat in the 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

3. Heat an electric waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions. Lightly grease the grids. Spoon 2 tablespoons batter into the center of each waffle section to make 1 1/2- to 2-inch cookies. Close the iron and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until set. Using a fork, loosen the cookies from the grid. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Repeat with remaining batter, lightly greasing grids after each batch. 

4. In a small saucepan melt the 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in the powdered sugar and the 2 tablespoons cocoa powder until smooth. Stir in the milk and peppermint extract to make a thin glaze.

5. Dip one side of each cookie in the glaze to coat the top, allowing excess glaze to drip off. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet; sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies. Let stand until set.

Eggnog Dream Bars

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 5 tablespoons rum (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs (12 rectangle crackers)
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white baking chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with foil. Coat with nonstick cooking spray. 

2. For crust: In a large bowl combine butter, 2 tablespoons rum (if desired), and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Stir in cracker crumbs and 1 cup coconut to combine. Transfer to prepared pan. Press firmly and evenly into bottom of pan. Freeze 20 minutes.

3. Bake crust 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Place on a wire rack.

4. For topping: In a medium bowl whisk together sweetened condensed milk, 3 tablespoons rum (if desired), vanilla, remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon, the nutmeg, and cloves. Sprinkle walnuts, chocolates, and baking chips over crust. Top with remaining 1 cup coconut. Drizzle evenly with sweetened condensed milk mixture. 

5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until filling is set and is lightly browned, rotating pan once halfway through baking. Let cool on a wire rack. Lift bars out with foil. Remove foil. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Makes 24 bars.

Cherry-Walnut Balls

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped maraschino cherries
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • Powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Drain maraschino cherries on paper towels; pat dry to remove any excess liquid. Set cherries aside.

2. Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in the 1/2 cup powdered sugar, almond extract, and vanilla until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour, nuts, and cherries with a wooden spoon.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until bottoms are lightly brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets on wire racks. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar to coat. Transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

4. If desired, roll cooled cookies in additional powdered sugar before serving. Makes about 48 balls.

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