A rich assortment of holiday cookies makes the holidays festive. With that in mind, plan a fun-filled cookie exchange for family and friends this year.
Simply invite your friends and ask each to bring one dozen homemade cookies for each guest invited. At the exchange, display the cookies to the delight of your guests. Serve coffee or hot spiced cider and dish out cookies made from a new recipe or two for your guests to sample. Then, give each person a container and have everyone gather and take their assortment of cookies home.
Cookie Baker's Tip: If you're pressed for time, consider making the dough in advance. Refrigerate dough, then bake later on. To freeze, portion dough into spoonfuls according to the recipe, then freeze.
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups Sun-Maid Natural Raisins or Golden Raisins
Combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into butter mixture; mix well. Cover; refrigerate until firm. Combine all filling ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens slightly; cool. Heat oven to 350 F. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds with cookie cutter. Place a teaspoon of filling on center of half the dough rounds. Cut small circles from centers of remaining dough rounds; place on top of filled rounds. Press edges lightly together to seal. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in upper third of oven at 350 F 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets; cool on wire racks. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
White Chocolate and Spice Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and salt in small bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat well. Beat in raisins. Gradually add flour mixture; beat on low speed just until incorporated. Proceed to baking or wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake. Heat oven to 375 F. Drop dough by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until set. Cool on cookie sheets 1 minute; transfer to wire rack and cool completely. Microwave chocolate in heavy resealable plastic bag on high power 30 seconds. Turn bag over; heat additional 30 to 45 seconds or until almost melted. Kneed bag with hands to melt remaining chocolate. Cut 1/8-inch corner off one end of the bag. Drizzle cooled cookies with chocolate. Let stand until chocolate is set, about 20 minutes. Substitution: 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice may be substituted for the spices. Makes about 2 dozen cookies
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
Combine butter, sugar and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Blend in chocolate. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl; add to chocolate mixture alternately with milk. Stir in raisins. Cover; refrigerate until firm. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease cookie sheets. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar. Place on cookie sheets. Bake in upper third of oven for 12 to 15 minutes (do not overbake). Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
Slice and Bake Currant Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
Combine butter, powdered sugar, sugar, egg and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Combine flour and baking soda. Stir into butter mixture; mix well. Stir in currants. Shape into 12-inch roll. Wrap; refrigerate until firm. Heat oven to 350 F. Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in upper third of oven 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes 4 dozen cookies
Apricot Ribbon Bars
1 cup Sun-Maid California Apricots, chopped
Place apricots in small bowl and cover with warm water; soak 10 minutes. Pour off water and pat dry. Combine butter, brown sugar and vanilla; beat until well blended. Add flour and baking soda; mix well. Stir in oats and walnuts. Reserve 1 cup oat mixture for topping. Press remaining oat mixture into 8-inch square pan. Combine chopped apricots and jam. Spread apricot mixture to within 1/2 inch of edges. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture; press lightly. Bake at 375 F 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan; cut into bars. Makes 16 cookies
--Add 1/2 cup red and green candy covered-chocolate pieces to your favorite cookie dough -- raisin oatmeal cookies, for instance. (Reduce the nuts by the same amount.)
--Dip cookies in chocolate. Melt 1 cup of white or semi-sweet chocolate chips in microwave for 2 minutes and stir until melted. Dip half of a cooled cookie in chocolate; place on rack until chocolate is firm.
--Drizzle cookies with an easy glaze. Whisk a tablespoon or two of liquid (cream, cider, cranberry juice) with 1 cup confectioners' sugar until smooth. Drizzle by pouring glaze off end of spoon in a steady stream.
--Stir in dried apricots, raisins and Zante currants for a touch of sweetness and variety of flavors and textures.
For even more great holiday baking ideas, visit sunmaid.com.
Drizzle glazed spice cookies
Clockwise from left:
Chocolate Crinkles, raisin cookies,
Slice and Bake Currant Cookies, raisin oatmeal cookies and Raisin-Filled Cookies
All recipes can be found at sunmaid.com