Creative Christmas Cookies

by Teagan O'Sullivan

Everyone loves cookies. The holidays are a perfect excuse to roll up your sleeves, tie on an apron and try baking something a little more creative than run-of-the-mill chocolate chip.

Think of creatively iced sugar cookies, colored butter cookies pressed into holiday shapes, and those special molasses spice cookies that fill your kitchen with the smell of Christmas.

Here are two of our family's favorite special Christmas cookies, to add some "pizzazz" to your holiday cookie plate. Easy – and fun – to make and eat!

Old Fashioned Stained Glass Cookies

½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
hard candies for crushing up

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugar.
Add egg and vanilla.
Blend in the flour and baking powder.

Roll the cookie dough on a generously floured surface, leaving slightly thicker than you usually would.

Cut into shapes with cookie cutters then carve a corresponding hole in the middle of each cookie.

Place cookie outlines on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Place candies into Ziploc bags, one color to each bag or complementary colors to make swirly designs.

Crush into small pieces with rolling pin or kitchen mallet.

Use the bits of hard candy to fill in the holes in the cookies.

Bake 8-10 minutes, until candy is melted and the cookies are lightly browned.

Let cool for at least 5 minutes (so you don't burn yourself on the hot candy) before transferring to wire racks.

**Tip** If you want the look of "stained glass" without mixing up cookie dough, you can buy cut and bake sugar cookies and roll them out.

And if you poke a hole in them before baking, you can tie ribbon on to hang them on the tree as tasty ornaments.

Peanut Butter "Blossoms"

½ cup margarine
¾ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
white sugar for rolling
unwrapped Hershey Kisses

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together margarine, peanut butter, and sugars.

Blend in egg, milk and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients.

With clean hands, roll small amounts of dough into walnut size balls.

Roll balls in sugar to coat. Place on baking sheet.

Bake about 10-12 minutes.

As soon as remove cookie tray from oven, place one unwrapped candy in the center of each cookie, pressing chocolate down into soft, warm cookie.

As the cookie cools fully, the chocolate will harden into place.

Got "leftover" unwrapped candies? Me neither!

Teagan O'Sullivan is a seventh grade honor student at Harwich Middle School. She loves to bake – especially at the holidays. Any holiday.

Photographs courtesy of Katie O'Sullivan