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Mix It Up With Jenny - Trim-the-Tree Treats

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Chocolate Gingerbread Boys and Girls

(Family Features) - When it's time to decorate the Christmas tree, I love having helpers. And to keep all my holiday helpers happy, I like to bake up some treats we can enjoy while decorating.

For your tree trimming helpers, try out this delicious twist on gingerbread cookies - Chocolate Gingerbread Boys and Girls. The chocolate gives them an added sweetness that will bring a smile to everyone's face.

  • Frosting Cookies
    Use a pastry bag with tips, commercial frosting in tubes, or a plastic bag with a corner snipped off. If spreading frosting with a knife, thin frosting with milk to desired consistency.

  • Special Toppings
    Use candy sprinkles, cinnamon red hots, chopped nuts, Nestlé Toll House Morsels, raisins, candy corn, turbinado sugar, or colored sugar to adorn cookies.

To use as a tree decoration, make a hole with a drinking straw at the top of the cookie prior to baking. After baking, tie a loop of nylon fishing line or pretty ribbon through the hole for easy hanging. 

For more tree trimming treat ideas, visit www.VeryBestBaking.com.

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

Chocolate Gingerbread Boys and Girls

Ingredients
  • 2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 container (16 ounces) prepared vanilla frosting, colored as desired, or colored icing in tubes

Preparation
    1. MICROWAVE 1 1/2 cups morsels in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted. Cool to room temperature.
    2. COMBINE flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in small mixer bowl until creamy; beat in molasses and melted chocolate. Gradually add flour mixture alternately with water, beating until smooth. Cover; refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
    3. PREHEAT oven to 350° F.
    4. ROLL half of dough to 1/4-inch thickness on floured surface with floured rolling pin. Cut dough into gingerbread boy and girl shapes using cookie cutters or a stencil. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough.
    5. BAKE for 5 to 6 minutes or until edges are set but centers are still slightly soft. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
    6. PLACE remaining morsels in heavy-duty plastic bag. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 30 to 45 seconds; knead. Microwave for 10 seconds; knead until smooth. Cut tiny corner from bag; squeeze to pipe chocolate. Decorate cookies with piped chocolate and prepared frosting or icing.

Serves
Makes 30 cookies

SOURCE: Nestlé USA, Inc.


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