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Mix It Up With Jenny - 12 Days of Holiday Cookies

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Candy Cane Crisps
Berry Chocolate Cookie Tartlets

(Family Features) - I love to keep the cookie jar filled all year 'round. But for the holiday season I kick into high-level baking mode, producing a mountain of cookies. Unfortunately, a typical holiday schedule full of to-do lists makes extra time for baking unusual.

But I won't let a hectic holiday schedule make me give up my holiday baking tradition. Veteran bakers like me take smart short cuts to streamline cookie production. So come into my kitchen and let me share some of my best tips for a holiday cookie-thon:

  • Use store bought, refrigerated sugar cookie dough in a tub, found in the dairy section. It's my secret ingredient for holiday baking this season! One tub will make 4 1/2 dozen-you can make different types of cookies, or all the same if you like.

  • Make it memorable by inviting a couple friends-or the kids-to help in shaping and baking cookies. Take photos to capture fun moments and create a photo album or scrapbook.

  • Borrow extra cookie sheets and cooling racks to streamline baking.

  • Collect pretty plates, platters or tins for gifting cookies-comb garage sales, dollar stores and flea markets. Include a recipe card so recipients can recreate the treats.

  • Count on sampling a few cookies, so always bake more than you think you'll need-and serve with a glass of milk!

Whether you're hosting a cookie exchange, an open house, gifting friends and neighbors, or supervising your Sunday school class in a marathon baking session, check out the 12 magically easy ideas for jolly holiday cookies at www.VeryBestBaking.com.

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.

Candy Cane Crisps

  • 1 1/3 cups (about 1/3 tub) Nestlé Toll House Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Tub Dough, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325° F.
    2. STIR crushed candy canes into cookie dough. Refrigerate for 15 minutes for easier handling. Roll dough into 18, 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on foil-lined greased baking sheets.
    3. BAKE for 14 to 16 minutes or until edges are set but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Tip: Drizzle Candy Cane Crisps with melted Nestlé Toll House Premier White Morsels.
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Berry Chocolate Cookie Tartlets

  • 1 1/3 cups (about 1/3 tub) Nestlé Toll House Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Tub Dough, slightly softened
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries or cherries, chopped

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325° F.
    2. COMBINE cookie dough and flour in large mixing bowl.
    3. DIVIDE dough into 24, 1-inch balls. Press dough into mini-muffin cups.*
    4. BAKE for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around edges and puffy.
    5. REMOVE tartlets from oven and immediately fill with morsels and cranberries. Cool for 10 minutes in muffin cups. Carefully remove to wire rack, do not invert; cool completely.
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Notes, Tips & Suggestions
*If making tartlets in batches, keep extra dough in the refrigerator.

Tips: Tartlets may be filled with your favorite combination of morsels. Dough can be made in advance and refrigerated.

SOURCE: Nestlé USA, Inc.

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