Baking Up Seasonal Cookies

Cookies have a way of brightening any day, especially around the holidays, when they offer many delicious opportunities to spread seasonal cheer.

It's not just eating cookies that's enjoyable. The mere act of making cookies with your family can help create some of the best memories. Giving everyone a task makes the job easier, and baking cookies together is a delightful way to spend time with the children.

Cookies make an appetizing gift, a thoughtful way to show you care and a one-of-a-kind creation to give during the holidays or for special occasions. Sharing homemade cookies is a wonderful way to thank friends and families, a much-appreciated gift for a hostess or a delicious treat for a church, school or work function.

Some of the best cookies are made with Argo Corn Starch and Karo Syrup, products that have been classic staples for bakers. For example, did you know that cornstarch is the secret ingredient for softer shortbread cookies? The right blend of cornstarch and flour is found in Peppermint Candy Shortbread Cookies. The rich color and flavor of dark corn syrup is an essential ingredient of moist, chewy Oatmeal Hermits, an old-fashioned cookie favorite.

Peppermint Candy

Shortbread Cookies

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 25 to 30 minutes

Makes: 31/2 dozen

Cookies:

1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup crushed peppermint candy

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/4 cup Argo® Corn Starch

Parchment Paper

Frosting (optional):

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons crushed peppermint candy

Mix butter, sugar, crushed candy and vanilla thoroughly using an electric mixer. Gradually blend in flour and corn- starch.

Form into 1-inch balls and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Gently press down on each cookie to flatten using fingers or a flat-bottomed drinking glass (dipped in sugar to prevent sticking).

Bake in a preheated 300º F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown.

Cool for 5 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and mix until frosting is smooth. Drizzle cookies with frosting and sprinkle with crushed candy.

Recipe note: For European- style shortbread, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pat into a 1/3-inch thick rectangle measuring 11 x 8 inches. Cut into 2 x 1-inch strips. Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Prick with a fork. Bake as above.

Oatmeal Hermits

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 15 minutes per batch

Makes: 3 dozen cookies

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup raisins

11/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup Karo® Dark OR with Real Brown Sugar Corn Syrup

1/2 cup Mazola® corn oil

2 eggs

Mix oats, sugar and raisins in large bowl; add flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon and mix well.

Whisk together corn syrup, oil and eggs in a small bowl. Add to dry ingredients.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 375° F until lightly browned around edges. Remove cookies to wire rack to cool.

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About The Author, Wendy Mitchell