Cookies! Cookies! Cookies!

During the Christmas season, there is a constant flow of baked goods coming from my kitchen. It's to the point that my friends and coworkers run in the opposite direction when they see me coming because they know I'm going to force my sugar laden treats upon their already overloaded sweet tooths. I decided this year I should find more victims friends to subject to my obsessive compulsive baking habits by hosting a cookie exchange.

It wound up being a small Sunday afternoon affair with gold and silver friends, a few munchies and alot of fabulous cookies.

Our cookie bounty consisted of:

Almond Butter Cookies from courtesy of Sherrell

The kitchen maven Paula Deen's recipe for White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies contributed by Candace

A tray piled high with Dawn's Toffee Bars

Team Mary and Jessica brought a batch of one of my favorites ~ Rosemary Caramel Sandwiches

Rose and Angela joined forces to bake up a batch of serious bling in the form of gorgeous Chocolate Caramel Delights

And our token males, George and Domenic showed us that they know their way around the kitchen by wowing us with Lavender cookies and Peppermint Pinwheels from Southern Living, respectively.

It was a great way to get others excited about holiday baking and gather new recipes for my ever-growing recipe file. Click the links above for the recipes that are available online and make sure you try the ones posted below as well!

Toffee Bars by Dawn

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sifted flour
1 (12 oz) bag chocolate chips
Multi-colored sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350. Beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour.

Pat evenly onto a 15x9x2 ungreased cookie sheet. Note: the mixture should not stick to your fingers, add more flour if needed.

Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly browned.

Immediately top with chocolate chips. Wait a few minutes until melted before spreading chips.

Top with sprinkles (do not use colored sugar)
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Chocolate-Caramel Delights by Angela and Rose

1 each egg
1/2 cup butter -- softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 each vanilla caramels
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 1/4 cups pecans -- finely chopped
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

Separate egg, reserving yolk and white. Cover and chill egg white until needed. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat well. Beat in egg yolk, milk and vanilla.

In another bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or until dough is easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350. In a small saucepan heat and stir caramels and whipping cream over low heat until mixture is smooth. Set aside.

Slightly beat reserved egg while. Shape the dough into 1" balls. Roll each ball in egg white, then in nuts. Place balls 1" apart of a lightly greased cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indention in the center of the cookie.

Bake in preheat oven for 10 mins or until edges are firm. Spoon some melted caramel mixture into the indention in each cookie. Transfer cookie to wire racks; cool. If necessary, reheat caramel to keep it spoonable.

In another saucepan heat and stir chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth; cool slightly. Transfer the warm mixture to a self sealing plastic bag. Close bag and cut a small hole in one corner. Drizzle cookies with chocolate mixture. Let cookies stand until chocolate is set.

"BH&G 100 Best Cookies 2004, pg. 101"
"36 "

NOTES : To store: Place in layers separated by wax paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temp up to 3 days or freeze undrizzled cookies up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, then drizzle.

Be careful not to overfill with caramel filling.

Melted chocolate is VERY hot! Let cool for quite a while before filling bag!
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George's Lavender Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar -- packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup Rice Krispies®
1 cup oatmeal
6 teaspoons lavender buds -- finely ground
1/2 cup pecans or almonds -- finely ground

Beat together butter, Crisco and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs. Beat until fluffy. Sift together flour, soda, and cream of tartar. Add to mixture. Stir in rice krispies, oatmeal and lavender. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonsful on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 17 mins.

"Cedar Creek Herbs, 246 Cedar Creek Road, Hot Springs, AR 71901"
"10 dozen"



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