Toffee Triangles

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup toasted chopped pecans

Grease a 13x9x2″ baking pan.

Mix up butter and brown sugar. Add egg yolk, beat well. Stir in flour and salt. Pat into pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

In a heavy saucepan, on medium heat, continually stir sweetened condensed milk and 2 Tbsp butter. After it bubbles keep cooking and continuously stirring for 5 more minutes. Add vanilla. Spread over baked layer. Bake 15 more minutes.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Put in oven 2 minutes. Use rubber spatula to smooth out chocolate. Sprinkle pecans over. Lightly push in. Cool completely on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate.

Cut into 3×2 rectangles, then into triangles. Keep in fridge.

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Roly-Poly Santa or Snowman Cookies

1 cup butter (no substitutes)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Paste food coloring
Miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Red cinnamon candies

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in 1 tablespoon milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. With a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Remove 1 cup of the dough. Stir red paste food coloring into remaining dough to make desired color.

Shape each Santa by making one 3/4-inch ball and four 1/4-inch balls from plain dough. From red dough, shape one 1-inch ball and five 1/2-inch balls. Flatten the 1-inch red ball on a parchment-lined cookie sheet until 1/2 inch thick. Attach plain 3/4-inch ball for head and flatten until 1/2 inch thick. Attach four 1/2-inch red balls for arms and legs. Shape remaining 1/2-inch red ball into a hat. Place plain 1/4-inch balls at ends of arms and legs for hands and feet. Add chocolate pieces for eyes and buttons.

To shape snowmen, shape dough into 3 balls: one 1-inch, one 3/4-inch, and one 1/2-inch.  Place on baking sheet in decreasing size order, sides touching.  Press together slightly.  Insert chocolate pieces for eyes and buttons before baking.  Add gum drop hat and fruit leather scarf after baking.

Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes for santas; 18 to 20 minutes for snowmen, or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.

For frosting, in a small mixing bowl beat the shortening and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Gradually add 1-1/3 cups of the powdered sugar, mixing well. Add 1 tablespoon milk. Gradually beat in remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and enough milk (3 to 4 teaspoons) to make a frosting of piping consistency.

Spoon frosting into a decorating bag fitted with a medium star tip. Pipe mustache, beard, band on hat, and pompom. For nose, attach a cinnamon candy with a small dab of frosting. Makes 12 cookies.

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Toasted Pecan Crackles

1½ cup Pecan pieces
½ cup Butter or margarine
½ cup Granulated sugar
½ cup Brown sugar; packed
½ teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1⅓ cup All-purpose flour

SPREAD pecan pieces in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 350 oven for 5 to 10 minutes or till light golden brown, watching carefully and stirring once or twice. Let cool slightly. Place toasted nuts in a food processor bowl. Cover and process till a paste forms, stopping to scrape sides of bowl occasionally to make sure all of mixture is evenly blended (mixture will appear grainy).

ADD butter or margarine, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Process just till combined. Add egg and vanilla; process just till combined Add flour; process with on/off turns just till flour is combined. Chill about 1 hour or till dough is easy to handle.

SHAPE into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 7 to 9 minutes or till bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

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Garden Critter Cookies

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

Beat butter. Add sugar, baking powder and salt; beat till combined.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Beat in as much flour as you can, stir in the rest by hand.  Shape dough into a 12 inch log.  Wrap in waxed paper and chill for one hour.  Cut into 1/4 inch slices.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes or till edges are lightly browned.

Ladybugs:  Ice with red frosting (purchased or homemade tinted red).  Outline head and wings using melted chocolate.  Decorate with mini m&ms for eyes and spots.

Makes 48

Can use same dough to make spirals, butterflies, bells and caterpillars.


To make slice-and-bake cookies with a spiral appearance, divide the dough in half. Tint one portion with paste food coloring. Knead in the color until it is well mixed. Leave remaining dough plain. Divide each portion of dough in half. Wrap and chill each portion of dough in the refrigerator about 1 hour or until it’s easy to handle. Roll one portion of plain dough into an 8×8-inch square between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Next, roll one portion of colored dough into an 8×8-inch square. Remove the top sheet of waxed paper from both portions of dough. Carefully invert the plain dough on top of the colored dough. Press down gently with your hands to seal. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. Tightly roll up into a spiral. Remove the waxed paper that is on the bottom of dough as you go. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining 2 portions of dough. Chill and bake as directed in the Basic Slice Cookies recipe. Repeat with remaining dough. Makes about 60 cookies.


To make Butterflies out of the spiral cookie slices, cut the spiral dough into 1/4-inch thick slices and then cut the slices in half. Press the rounded sides of half-slices together for a butterfly shape. Sprinkle the surface of the butterfly cookies with granulated sugar before baking. Bake as directed above in the Basic Slice recipe.


To make Bells from the Basic Slice Cookies, prepare, roll, and slice dough as directed in the Basic Slice Cookie recipe. Place the slices on an ungreased cookie sheet. Fold the opposite edges at a slight angle toward the center of the cookie. Place a red cinnamon candy at the open end to resemble the clapper of a bell. Bake and cool as directed in the Basic Slice Cookies.



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Christmas Flower Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
Paste or liquid food coloring

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour (dough should be stiff).

Cover and chill dough at least 2 hours or overnight until dough is easy to handle.

Divide dough into portions, one for each color that you want to use. Knead food coloring into each portion, adding it slowly until the desired color is reached (colors lighten slightly when dough is baked). If desired, lightly knead two colors together for dough with a marbled appearance.

Break off small pieces of different colors of dough and form into flower shapes. (As a guideline, use about 1/2 teaspoon dough for each petal or leaf.)

Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until edges are firm and cookies look set but bottoms are not brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.

Makes about 24 cookies.

Per serving: 226 kcal cal., 12 g fat (5 g sat. fat, 33 mg chol., 131 mg sodium, 27 g carb., 1 g fiber, 3 g pro. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Can also roll dough into ropes to shape wreaths and candy canes.


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Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeño Poppers

4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated
1 scallion, finely chopped
Dash hot sauce
6 small jalapeños
1 sheet refrigerated crescent roll dough
24 frozen peas, thawed, or tiny pieces of roasted red pepper, or a combination

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, Cheddar, scallion, and hot sauce. Spoon into a resealable plastic bag and snip off one corner.

Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise, then remove and discard the seeds. Pipe the cheese mixture into the pepper halves.

Unroll the crescent dough and cut into 1⁄4″ strips. Wrap 2 strips around each filled jalapeño half to create a mummy-like pattern. Transfer the halves to the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 15 minutes.

Let the mummies cool for 5 minutes, then place two peas or pieces of pepper on each one for eyes. Transfer to a platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 12


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Chipotle Chicken Quiche

1 recipe Deep-Dish Pastry Shell
6 large eggs
2 cups plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (about 10 ounces)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
Fresh Salsa (optional)

Prepare Deep-Dish Pastry Shell; set aside on baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

For the custard, in a blender combine the eggs, yogurt, milk, cumin, chili powder, ground chipotle, and salt. Cover and blend until frothy.

Place chicken and cheese in prebaked pastry shell. Pour over custard. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the custard is barely set in the center (165 degrees F). Let cool in the pan for 40 minutes. With a serrated knife, cut the pastry shell flush with the top of the pan. Carefully remove the springform pan ring. Cut the quiche into wedges. Top with fresh salsa, if desired.

Deep Dish Pastry Shell

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup cold water

In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine the egg and water in a small bowl; add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture just begins to clump together. Transfer the mixture out onto a sheet of plastic wrap; fold the wrap over and press the crumbs until they hold together; shape into a circle. Wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a 15-inch circle.

Carefully roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to a 9×2 1/2-inch springform pan, pressing it into the sides. Trim the overhanging pastry to 1 inch and press it firmly against the outside of the ring to help prevent it from shrinking. Use the trimmings to fill any cracks. Freeze the shell for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the springform pan on a baking sheet. Line the pastry shell with a double thickness of aluminum foil long enough to overhang the sides. Bake about 20 minutes or until the edge of the dough is lightly browned. Remove the foil and continue baking the pastry shell for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the pastry cool.

Serves 10

Per serving: 385 kcal cal., 21 g fat (11 g sat. fat, 2 g polyunsaturated fat, 6 g monounsatured fat), 199 mg chol., 563 mg sodium, 23 g carb., 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 25 g pro.

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