Indulge the senses with these tasty holiday treats

It’s merry holiday baking time. My family is lovers of cookies; lots and lots of cookies.

We like to have the traditional cookies that have become family favorites over the years, but I am always on the look-out for a new yummy goodie. I hope you get to spend a little time in your kitchen blending butter, sugar, flour and chocolate into tasty treats during this busy time of the year.

Happy baking and eating and sharing.

These turtle cookies have every indulgent flavor we like in our family: chocolate, peanut butter, caramel and toffee. 

Peanut Butter-Toffee Turtle Cookies

Yield: Makes 3 dozen

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 

1/2 cup granulated sugar 

1/2 cup firmly packed
light brown sugar 

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter 

1 large egg 

2 cups all-purpose baking mix (Bisquick) not flour

2/3 cup almond toffee bits 

2/3 cup coarsely
chopped peanuts 

2/3 cup milk chocolate morsels 

10 ounces vanilla caramels 

2 to 3 tablespoons
whipping cream 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

2/3 cup milk chocolate
morsels, melted

TIP: The chocolate drizzle on the cookies will harden as it cools.

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg, beating until blended. Add baking mix, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in toffee bits, chopped peanuts, and 2/3 cup chocolate morsels.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets; flatten dough with hand.

Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool cookies on baking sheets 1 minute; remove cookies to wire racks.

Microwave caramels and 2 tablespoons cream in a glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute; stir. Continue to microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring until caramels melt and mixture is smooth; add remaining cream, if necessary. Stir in vanilla. Spoon caramel mixture evenly onto tops of cookies; drizzle evenly with melted chocolate.

I am always looking for yummy ways to use raspberries and raspberry jam. These are festive and yummy and remind me of a cream cheese and raspberry cookie my grandma made.

Raspberry Pinwheels

Yield: Makes 54 cookies

Sweet cream cheese dough pairs well with the
raspberry jam in these pretty pinwheels.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 

1 8-ounce bar cream cheese,
at room temperature 

1/2 cup granulated sugar 

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface 

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam 

1 large egg, beaten 

2 tablespoons turbinado or some other coarse sugar 

With an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese and granulated sugar until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Gradually add the flour, mixing until just incorporated.

Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and gently knead it 2 to 3 times, just to bring it together. Form the dough into two 1-inch-thick squares. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for
1 hour.

On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll one of the dough squares into a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Spread half the jam over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into thirds, making three 9-by-4-inch rectangles. Starting from the long side of each rectangle, roll into logs. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Heat oven to 350° F. Slice the logs into 1-inch pieces and space 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush with the egg and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

To wrap: A 32-ounce glass canning jar will neatly hold 2 dozen pinwheels. You can play up the cookies’ two-tone theme with a striped ribbon tied around the jar’s mouth and a colorful adhesive bow.

To freeze: Instead of refrigerating the logs, freeze them for up to 2 months. To bake, follow the recipe instructions, cutting and baking the dough from frozen, and use the upper end of the time range.

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