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Kids, cookies and Santa: It’s a perfect combination

Christmas cookies are a big part of the holiday season. Baking with the family, decorating the cookies, cookie exchanges and goodies for the neighbors are all part of holiday traditions.
Everyone has their favorites and has an idea which are Santa’s favorite. He is a connoisseur of the sweet treats and gets energy from those left with milk for him at stops along his route on Christmas.
Some Christmas traditions revolve around cookies. From families getting together to bake dozens for celebrations to mothers passing their skills on to children in the kitchen, to plates piled high with the sweet treats for the neighbors, cookies are a big part of the season.
Great care is taken to create the perfect cookies to leave for Santa on Christmas and area children all have different ideas about what cookies the grand old man prefers. The following are a sample of what the children of the area think about Santa’s preferences and which cookies are their favorites.
The recipes are a mixture of old favorites and something unique to try.
Merry Christmas to all and enjoy the treats.

COOKIE RECIPES

Chocolate Turtles
Mix together
2 cups melted butter
3 cups white sugar
8 eggs, beaten
1.5 cups cocoa
4 cups flour
4 tsp. vanilla
Heat waffle iron. Drop one tablespoon in each section. Bake for 50 to 60 seconds. Let cool. Frost with powdered sugar frosting and add sprinkles.

Best Sugar Cookie Recipe
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in extracts and egg.
In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer, turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand.
Do not chill the dough. Divide into three pieces, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. Since the cookies are softer than normal sugar cookies, they should be thicker, about a quarter of an inch.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
If you must chill the dough just leave it on the counter top for 10 minutes before rolling or work the dough with your hands for a few minutes.

Sugar Cookie Frosting
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup shortening
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
food coloring
In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners’ sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.

Christmas Crack
Mix together
3 cups salted pretzels
2 cups Bugles
2 cups Fritos
1 cup Chex Rice cereal
1 cup peanuts
1 1/2 cups M&Ms
Melt one package of Wilson white candy melts. Pour over above mixture and stir together. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and put the mixture on there. When it cools, break apart and keep in a closed container.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Roll
3 cups puffed wheat cereal
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 lb. marshmallows (about 16 large marshmallows)
1 6-ounce package chocolate chips
Heat cereal in shallow pan in oven at 350 degrees. Pour into large greased bowl. Melt butter, peanut butter and marshmallows. Pour over the cereal and mix together. Shape into balls or logs. Melt chips and dip the top part of the ball or log into the chocolate. Let cool.

Classic Peanut Butter Blossoms
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup peanut butter creamy
1/2 cup granulated sugar plus more for rolling
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
45 Hershey’s Kisses, foil removed
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and light brown sugar about 1 minute.
Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat until well blended, about 30 seconds.
Gradually add flour mixture, mixing until combined, about 1 minute. If the dough is very soft, refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Roll dough into small 1-inch balls.
Roll cookies in sugar and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake until lightly browned, puffed, with some cracks on the surface, 8 to 10 minutes.
Immediately press chocolate into the center of each cookie; cookie will crack more around the edges.
Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the sheet pan, and then transfer to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

Candy Bar Pretzel Bites
Mini Candy Bars
Pretzels, rectangular or mini
Wilson’s vanilla candy coating, I use brilliant white
Sprinkles
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap mini candy bars and place them on pretzels. Bake in 300 degree oven for 3 minutes. Top with another pretzel and gently press down. Allow chocolate to harden. Then dip half of the pretzel into the melted candy coating and add sprinkles to the top. Let cool.

Rice Krispie Marshmallow Treats
Freeze package of large marshmallows
Melt: 1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk, 1/4 cup butter and 16 ounces of caramels.
Put marshmallow on a tooth pick and roll in melted caramel mixture and then roll in Rice Krispies. Let cool.