Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
Note: "My grandma -- Thelma Anderson -- and I would bake up a storm during the holidays," wrote John Michael Lerma of St. Paul. "We lived on a farm south of Grand Forks, N.D. We filled boxes with cookies, confections and cake. One of my favorite cookies -- whether for the [farm] hands or our family -- was Snickerdoodles. I would pour a glass of eggnog and dip my Snickerdoodles. Grandma said we should make an eggnog Snickerdoodle, and that's how it started. I make them to this day and love the odor throughout the house."
• 2 3/4 c. flour
• 2 tsp. cream of tartar
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
• 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/2 c. shortening
• 1 3/4 c. sugar, divided
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 tsp. rum extract, or dark rum
• 2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, and reserve.
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and shortening until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add 11/2 cups sugar and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add rum extract and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and nutmeg. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll dough balls in sugar-nutmeg mixture and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool cookies on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE POPS ON A STICK
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. "Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Pops on a Stick was the result of a chocolate contest I entered at our local county fair," wrote Wendy Nickel of Kiester, Minn. "As a take-off from the Minnesota State Fair, I decided to create something on a stick."
• 4 c. chopped semisweet chocolate, divided
• 16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
• 2/3 c. sugar
• 3 eggs
• 1 c. heavy whipping cream
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 2 tbsp. butter, melted
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 3 1/2 oz. chocolate sprinkles or miniature chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a double boiler over simmering water (or a microwave oven), melt 2 cups semisweet chocolate.
In a bowl using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low, add melted chocolate, whipping cream, cinnamon, butter and vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
Pour batter into a 9-inch round springform pan. Bake for 60 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely.
Line baking sheets with wax paper. Using a small scoop, form balls of baked cheesecake. Place lollipop sticks into center of each cookie, transfer to prepared baking sheets and freeze.
In a double boiler over simmering water (or a microwave oven), melt remaining 2 cups chocolate and cool slightly. Dip frozen cheesecake balls into melted chocolate and transfer cookies to wax paper. When chocolate has nearly hardened, roll cookies in chocolate sprinkles (or miniature chocolate chips), transfer to wax paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.
ROSEMARY-RASPBERRY THUMBPRINT COOKIES
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. "I'm submitting this recipe on behalf of my awesome mom, Lucy Riabokin," wrote Sonia Peterson of Minneapolis. "I found the original recipe in Better Homes and Gardens magazine and knew in her hands -- and oven -- these would be great. The original recipe called for orange marmalade, and for the holidays, she uses raspberry jam, which looks quite festive with the rosemary. They are the first ones we gobble up from our Christmas cookie box."
• 1 1/4 c. flour
• 1/4 c. cornstarch
• 1 tbsp. freshly chopped rosemary
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/3 c. powdered sugar, plus extra for garnish
• Few drops almond extract
• 1/4 c. seedless raspberry jam
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, rosemary and salt, and reserve.
In a bowl using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add 1/3 cup powdered sugar and almond extract and mix until well-combined. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into 11/4-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using your thumb, make an indentation in each cookie. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon jam into each thumbprint. Bake until edges are lightly golden, about 14 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool cookies on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool competely. Garnish with powdered sugar.