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Trading Treats
A holiday cookie exchange promises a sweet deal for everyone involved.

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Decorated Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
Snickerdoodles
Gingerbread People
Raspberry Jam Strips
Luscious Layer Bars

(Family Features) - 'Tis the season for holiday baking - when sharing tastes delicious! Spread some good cheer as part of a cookie exchange by finding a favorite bar or cookie recipe and baking a batch or two to trade.

Call on close friends or family to join in the fun and do the same; then, swap sweets - and recipes - along with good conversation. You'll leave with plenty of home-baked cookies to serve throughout the season, and fine memories of the event.

According to a recent "Holiday Cookies and Traditions" survey, 36 percent of women who bake participate in holiday cookie exchanges with friends, family and co-workers. And, if you're curious to know some of the season's favorite goodies, respondents ranked Peanut Butter Blossoms as tops, followed by Sugar Cookies, Snickerdoodles and Gingerbread. Find recipes for three out of the top four listed below. Or visit www.BettyCrocker.com, and type in "cookie exchange" to discover other ways you can sweeten the deal for your exchange gang this holiday.

"Holiday Cookies and Traditions" survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.

Trade Secrets

Here's an easy way to dress up and dole out your Raspberry Jam Strips, a delicious holiday scratch recipe not to be forgotten:

  • Use a wooden spoon to gently make a uniform indentation in each strip; then, fill with raspberry jam (or your favorite flavor).

  • Once you drizzle the vanilla glaze over the baked strips, allow them to cool completely before storing or transporting them. This allows the glaze to dry and prevents the goodies from sticking together.

Decorated Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

Description
Top off this favorite holiday cookie recipe with a chocolate and a sprinkle of color - and you're sure to earn a hug or two!

Ingredients
  • 2 pouches (1 pound 1.5 ounces each) Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • 72 milk chocolate drops, unwrapped
  • White decorating gel
  • Assorted holiday candy sprinkles
  • Red decorating icing

Preparation
    1. Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, water, oil and eggs until dough forms.
    2. Shape dough into 72 (1-inch) balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
    3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately press 1 chocolate in center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely. Decorate as desired using remaining ingredients.

Serves
About 6 dozen cookies

Snickerdoodles

Description
Oodles of flavor are packed into these holiday favorites that get their made-from-scratch taste from a handy sugar cookie mix. Leave a few for Santa and serve with a cold glass of milk.

Ingredients
  • 2 pouches (1 pound 1.5 ounces each) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/4 cup Gold Medal all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preparation
    1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, flour and eggs until soft dough forms.
    2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Mix sugar and cinnamon. Roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
    3. Bake 11 to 12 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute. Remove from cookie sheets. If desired, roll warm cookies in additional sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Serves
About 6 dozen cookies

Gingerbread People

Description
Ginger and spice and everything nice can be found in this scratch recipe that delivers added decorating fun!

Ingredients
Cookies
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups dark molasses
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 7 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Easy Creamy Frosting
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • About 5 tablespoons half-and-half

Preparation
    1. In large bowl, stir together brown sugar, shortening, molasses and cold water. Stir in remaining cookie ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
    2. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. On floured surface, roll 1/4 dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut with floured gingerbread cutter or other favorite shaped cutter. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
    3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched (for softer, chewier cookies, bake 8 to 10 minutes). Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
    4. In large bowl, stir together frosting ingredients until smooth and spreadable. Decorate cookies with frosting.

Serves
About 9 dozen 3-inch cookies

Raspberry Jam Strips

Description
These pretty homemade cookies are simple to make, and impressive to share.

Ingredients
Cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
Vanilla Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons water

Preparation
    1. In large bowl, stir together butter, sugars, egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in flour and baking powder. (If dough is soft, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.)
    2. Heat oven to 350°F. Divide dough into 8 equal parts. On ungreased cookie sheet, roll each part into 8-inch rope; press down until 1 1/2 inches wide. Make indentation down center of each with handle of wooden spoon. Fill with 1 measuring tablespoon jam. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light brown; cool 2 minutes.
    3. Stir together glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over strips. Cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces.

Serves
About 5 dozen cookies

Luscious Layer Bars

Description
Layer on the love with a scrumptious bar packed with flavor. These are perfect for holiday mixers or work well as a simple dessert. This version starts with a convenient cookie mix and is ready to go into the oven in just 10 minutes.

Ingredients
  • 1 pouch (1 pound 1.5 ounces) Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup milk or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Preparation
    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 13 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray.
    2. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, butter and egg. Press cookie mixture in bottom of pan using floured fingers.
    3. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle with chips, coconut and walnuts. Drizzle evenly with sweetened condensed milk. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown; cool. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows.

Serves
36 bars

SOURCE: Gold Medal Flour
Betty Crocker Cookie Pouches


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