Festive Holiday Treats

If you enjoy baking, you can make quick and easy festive, holiday treats that friends and family will love. They're so simple to make, you can keep them on hand for unexpected guests, holiday parties, or treats for the kids.

Peppermint Twists ( makes 30 cookies)

* 1 1/2 cups softened Holiday Cookie Mix
* 1 cup confectioners' sugar
* 2 tablespoons low fat milk (2%)
* 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
* red colored sugar (for pattern)


1. Shape twists by rolling cookie mix into 3/4-inch balls, then roll each ball into a 6-inch length. Fold in half and twist twice. On an ungreased cookie sheet, place each twist about 2 inches apart.

2. In a preheated oven, bake cookies at 350 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes until bottoms are light brown. Place on wire racks to cool. Combine confectioner's sugar, milk and peppermint extract. Drizzle over twists, then sprinkle with red colored sugar. Serve peppermint twist cookies with chocolate or vanilla ice cream or gelato products.

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 minutes Bake: 10 minutes per batch plus cooling

Almond Bars (makes 48 bars)

* 1 1/2 cups softened Holiday Cookie Mix
* 1 egg white
* 1/2 cup sliced almonds
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Press cookie mix into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan creating a 1/2-inch thick layer. Beat egg white until foamy, then brush over cookie dough. Top with sliced almonds. Combine sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle mixture over entire mixture.

2. In a preheated oven, bake at 350 degrees for 18 - 22 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool, then cut into 3-inch squares or diamond shapes. Serve almond bars with refreshing raspberry gelato and gelato cups and spoons.

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 minutes Bake: 20 minutes plus cooling

Holiday Cookie Mix (makes 156 servings)

* 2 cups sugar
* 2 cups softened butter
* 2 whole eggs
* 2 egg yolks
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon salt

Directions: Cream sugar and butter in a large bowl until it's light and fluffy. With a hand mixer, beat in eggs, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Mix flour and salt together, then slowly add it to creamed mixture and mix well. Holiday Cookie Mix works for a variety of cookies. You can refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to one week.

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 minutes

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