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Cookie Time



Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 8 to 10 minutes
Yield: 3 dozen

* 1 1/4 cups flour
* 3/4 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/2 cup peanut butter
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 36 chocolate kisses

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed 30 seconds. Add peanut butter and both sugars; beat 2 minutes, until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Slowly add the flour mixture; beat to combine.
3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, just until edges start to brown.
4. Remove cookies from oven and press a chocolate kiss into each. Cool on wire racks 15 minutes.

How kids can help: Measure ingredients; roll dough into balls.
Per cookie: 108 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated), 66 mg sodium, 14 mg cholesterol.

Sprinkle Cookies

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 8 minutes
Yield: 3 dozen

* 2 1/2 cups flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* Sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed, about 2 minutes or until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, then the vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined.
3. Using a heaping table-spoon for each cookie, roll dough into balls. Put the sprinkles in pie plates so they won't scatter. Roll the top half of each ball into the sprinkles and place balls on ungreased baking sheets, 3 inches apart. If the dough is too sticky, chill it for 5 minutes.
4. Bake the cookies for 8 minutes, just until they start to turn golden but are still soft. Remove from the oven and cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

How kids can help: Measure ingredients; roll dough into balls, then into sprinkles; place on baking sheets.
Per cookie: 109 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated), 47 mg sodium, 25 mg cholesterol.

Holiday Gingersnaps

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 10 minutes
Yield: 5 dozen

* 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1 tsp ground ginger
* 1/2 tsp ground cloves
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 2 tsp baking soda
* 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/3 cup molasses

Cinnamon sugar:
* 1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.
2. Combine flour, spices, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar and egg at medium speed 2 minutes, until fluffy. Add molasses; beat 1 minute. Slowly add flour mixture; beat to combine.
3. Using a rounded teaspoon for each cookie, roll dough into balls, then roll each in cinnamon sugar and place on baking sheets.
4. Bake 10 minutes, or until cookies are golden and crisp. Cool 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

How kids can help: Measure ingredients; roll dough into balls, then into cinnamon sugar.
Per cookie: 60 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated), 64 mg sodium, 10 mg cholesterol.

White Chocolate-Cranberry Gems

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 9 to 10 minutes
Yield: 6 dozen

* 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
* 3/4 cup light brown sugar
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 tsp hot water
* 1 cup dried cranberries
* 1 12-oz package white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and coat baking sheets with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars 2 minutes, or until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat 1 minute.
3. Whisk flour and salt in a bowl. In a small cup, stir baking soda into hot water.
4. Slowly add half the flour and salt into creamed mixture and beat 1 minute. Beat in baking-soda mixture. Add the rest of the flour and beat a minute or two, until well combined. Stir in cranberries and chips.
5. Using a heaping teaspoon for each cookie, drop dough onto baking sheets 2 inches apart.
6. Bake 9 minutes, or until golden. Let cool on a rack.

How kids can help: Measure ingredients; stir in cranberries and chips.
Per cookie: 87 calories, 4 g fat (3 g saturated), 58 mg sodium, 14 mg cholesterol.

Magic Bars

Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen

* 1/2 cup unsalted butter
* 1 1/2 cups graham-cracker crumbs
* 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
* 1 cup chocolate chips
* 1 cup butterscotch chips
* 1/2 cup shredded coconut

1. Put the butter into a 9 by 13-inch pan and place pan in the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (The butter will melt as the oven preheats.)
2. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle the graham-cracker crumbs over the melted butter. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crumbs. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut. Press down carefully with a spatula. (The pan will be very hot.)
3. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool about 1 hour, then cut into small bars (they're very rich!). Serve bars immediately or refrigerate.

How kids can help: Unwrap butter; crush graham crackers; measure ingredients; sprinkle chips and coconut on top of condensed milk.
Per bar: 194 calories, 11 g fat (7 g saturated), 64 mg sodium, 15 mg cholesterol.

[PAGEBREAK "Helpful Hints"] Cookie Care
* The dough for all of these cookies (except the magic bars) can be made up to 8 weeks ahead. Seal in plastic wrap; tuck into a zip-close bag and freeze until you're ready to bake. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
* Store cookies in an airtight container, lay-ered with wax paper. They'll keep at room temperature 1 week, or frozen up to 3 months.
* Keep crisp and soft cookies separate; otherwise, the crisp cookies will go limp.

Perfect Present
* To wrap cookies, think beyond the gift tin: Decorate wooden or papier-m¿¿ch¿¿ boxes (find them at crafts stores), clear canisters, or cellophane bags with stamps or stickers.
* Line boxes or tins with wax paper and pack carefully but snugly so cookies are less prone to break.
* Tie with ribbon and include the recipe on a card or hang tag.

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