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Scrumptious Holiday Cookie Seeks Devoted Lifetime Companion

November 9th, 2010

Ah, yes.  Love is in the air.  And if, like us, you pledge your deep, eternal love to butterscotch, gingerbread spices, chocolate, and peppermint during the holiday season, then these delectable holiday cookies will find their soulmates in your kitchen.  So go ahead, adopt a lonely holiday cookie this season.  Your loved ones will appreciate these new additions to the family.

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

(Makes 32 large cookies)

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
11/2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons honey
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/3 cup light molasses
11/2 cups butterscotch flavored morsels (butterscotch chocolate chips)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in small bowl.

2. Beat butter, honey, brown sugar, egg and molasses in large mixing bowl until fluffy and creamy. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in butterscotch chips. Use cookie scoop to drop dough (about 2 tablespoons) onto baking sheets that have been coated with canola cooking spray. Press dough down with fingers or palms to lightly flatten.

3. Bake for about 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned but still soft. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

French-Style Holiday Macaroons with Peppermint-Chocolate Ganache Filling

Ingredients:
Peppermint-Chocolate Ganache Filling
36 ounces Bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups Whipping cream
1/4 cup Light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons Peppermint extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Macaroons
6 ounces Sliced blanched almonds (not slivered; 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups Confectioners sugar
3 large Cage-Free Egg
3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
3 tablespoons Granulated Cane Sugar

Directions:
1. PEPPERMINT-CHOCOLATE GANACHE FILLING:
Place chocolate in large bowl. Bring cream to boil in small saucepan. Pour cream over chocolate. {Step Three} Add corn syrup and extracts; whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Transfer 3 cups ganache to medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until very thick and light colored, about 12 minutes. Set aside.

2. MACAROONS:
Make macaroons:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Pulse almonds with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a food processor until very finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Sift in remaining cup confectioners sugar, stirring to combine.

Beat egg whites with salt in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, a little at a time, beating, then increase speed to high and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks. Add drops of food coloring to reach desired shade and mix at low speed until evenly combined. Stir almond mixture into meringue with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate.)

Spoon batter into bag, pressing out excess air, and snip off 1 corner of plastic bag to create a 1/4-inch opening. Twist bag firmly just above batter, then pipe peaked mounds of batter (the size of a chocolate kiss) onto lined sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Let cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature until tops are no longer sticky and a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 300°F.

Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until crisp and edges are just slightly darker, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on racks, about 30 minutes.

3. ASSEMBLE COOKIES:
Carefully peel cookies from parchment (they will be fragile). Sandwich a thin layer of ganache (about 1/2 teaspoon) between flat sides of cookies.

NOTE: Filled macaroons keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 days

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