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Even More Christmas Cookies

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If you are still looking for more Christmas cookies, here are some other great ideas for giving (and keeping).

Swedish Peppar KaKar:
(a soft mild gingerbread; even more fun when you make them tiny)

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Mint Oreo Cookies:
(super easy: start with a cake mix)

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Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies:
(soft, chewy cookies all dressed up for Christmas)

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Cherry Nut Mudslides:
(a great cookie for more discriminating tastes)

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Snickerdoodles:
(as much fun to eat as to say)

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Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies:
(my favorite cookies ever)

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Peanut Butter Kisses:
(try using some of the fancy Kisses flavors)

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Chocolate Rolo and Andes Chocolate Mint Cookies:
(two very different cookies from one easy dough)

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Russian Tea Cakes:
(these are the kids’ favorites-they are suckers for a little colored sugar)

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Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints:
(Santa’s favorite indulgence)

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Sugar Cookies:
(soft and slightly sweet; the anchor of any respectable Christmas cookie tray)

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2010 Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies Recap

Here is a recap of our Second Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies. For me, I am off to the gym to try and burn off a few of these calories.

Happy Baking!

DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars

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DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

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DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies

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DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

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DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies

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DAY 6: Trail Mix Cookies

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DAY 7: Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies

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DAY 8: Chocolate Revel Bars

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DAY 9: Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

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DAY 10: Caramel Pecan Bars

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DAY 11: Turtle Pretzel Snaps

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DAY 12: Coconut Macaroons

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Old-Fashioned Coconut Macaroons

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DAY 12: For our final Christmas cookie this season, a traditional coconut macaroon. This is a flourless, gluten-free cookie made from coconut, egg whites, sugar and almond extract. They can be made sugar-free as well by using unsweetened coconut and a sugar substitute. The ones pictured here are the full-sugar variety.

The “dough” is cooked on the stove prior to baking, which leaves you with a wonderful chewy macaroon on the inside and slightly crispy toasted coconut on the outside. Dipping the bottoms in chocolate is optional, but I definitely recommend it.

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RECIPE:

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Coconut Macaroons

1 (14 oz) pkg flaked sweetened coconut
6 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp almond extract
1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a medium saucepan, stir together coconut, egg whites, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly (a spoon drawn through the mixture should leave a clean path). Remove from heat; stir in almond extract.

Drop onto greased cookie sheets (or line with a Silpat) by rounded teaspoonfuls. Let stand on cookie sheets for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on pan for 2 minutes before removing to wire rack. Cool completely.

Dip bottoms of macaroons in melted chocolate, if desired. Place on waxed paper until chocolate has hardened.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies
DAY 6: Trail Mix Cookies
DAY 7: Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies
DAY 8: Chocolate Revel Bars
DAY 9: Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies
DAY 10: Caramel Pecan Bars
DAY 11: Turtle Pretzel Snaps

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Turtle Pretzel Snaps

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DAY 11: Technically, these are a candy, not a cookie, but they still make a great addition to any holiday cookie tray. Sweet & salty; crunch & chewy. A great combination of tastes and textures.

These candies are a simple, fun alternative to traditional Turtle Candies. They are also an easy treat to make with kids. They can do almost all of the work themselves.

The base of these treats is a Pretzel Snap: the square criss-crossed shaped pretzels that look kind of like a window pane. Place the pretzels in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. You can use a Silpat, parchment paper or foil to line the pan. Top each pretzel with half of a caramel. Instead of a caramel, you can also use a Rolo candy. I prefer the flavor of the plain caramel, topped with a bittersweet chocolate chip. Using plain caramels also allows me to make some “chocolate free” candies for Little A. But the Rolos do save you one step.

12-1-10 003-1Bake the caramel topped pretzels for about 5-7 minutes, until caramels (or Rolos) are soft. Remove from oven and immediately top with a chocolate chip.  I like the Ghirardelli bittersweet chips, for both the flavor and the fact that they are slightly bigger than normal semi-sweet chocolate chips. (If you are using Rolos, you don’t need to use any chocolate chips) The chocolate will melt by the time you have finished putting one on each caramel. Press one M&M or toasted pecan half into the soft chocolate. Let candies cool completely before moving from baking sheet. 12-1-10 014-1

RECIPE:

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Turtle Pretzel Snaps

Pretzel Snaps (criss-cross shaped)
Caramels or Rolos
Chocolate chips (if using plain caramels); I like the larger Ghirardelli bittersweet chips
Peanut M&Ms
Whole Pecans, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lay pretzel snaps in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat, parchment paper or foil. Cut caramels in half and place one half on each pretzel (Alternately, top each pretzel with a Rolo candy). Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until caramels are soft. Remove from oven and immediately top each caramel with one chocolate chip (omit chocolate chips when using Rolos). When chocolate is soft, press an M&M or pecan half into the chocolate. Let chocolate harden before moving to a serving plate.

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies
DAY 6: Trail Mix Cookies
DAY 7: Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies
DAY 8: Chocolate Revel Bars
DAY 9: Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies
DAY 10: Caramel Pecan Bars

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Caramel Pecan Bars

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DAY 10: Rich and chewy caramel coated pecans on a shortbread crust. Drizzled with melted chocolate and sprinkled with just a bit of coarse sea salt. I was a little short on pecans, so I ended up using about one cup of chopped almonds and 2 1/2 cups pecans. Thanks to Alice at Savory Sweet Life for a great cookie bar! The original recipe has you dip half of each triangle into the melted chocolate. I tried this, but I was not very happy with the results, so I ended up drizzling the chocolate over most of them.

To easily drizzle chocolate: melt chocolate slowly in the microwave. Pour into a Ziploc bag. Use a toothpick or skewer to poke a hole in one corner. Squeeze gently over cookies.

Cut into 24 squares while in the pan.

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Cut each square in half to make 48 triangles. 12-4-10 013-1

Drizzle with melted chocolate (I used bittersweet) and sprinkle lightly with coarse sea salt. 12-4-10 016-1

RECIPE:

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Caramel Pecan Bars
————–(from Savory Sweet Life)

Crust:
1/2 cup salted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Caramel Topping:
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1 cup melted chocolate chips (semi-sweet or bittersweet)
coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light.  Add egg and vanilla and beat for one minute.  Add baking powder and flour; mix well. Spray a 9×13” baking pan with non-stick spray.  Press cookie dough mixture evenly throughout the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to brown.  Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine water, sugar, and corn syrup in a large sauce pan.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Continue to cook until mixture turns a dark amber color (like a dark honey); turn off heat, but leave pan on the burner.  Carefully add vanilla and heavy cream, stirring until smooth.  Add toasted pecans,  stirring and coating everything.  Spread caramel pecan mixture over the cookie crust evenly.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or until cold.  Cut bars into small triangles.

Drizzle bars with melted chocolate (or dip half of each triangle into the melted chocolate).  Sprinkle sparingly with coarse sea salt.

Makes 48 triangles.

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies
DAY 6: Trail Mix Cookies
DAY 7: Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies
DAY 8: Chocolate Revel Bars
DAY 9: Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

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DAY 9: The great American classic taste combination: Chocolate & Peanut Butter. This fun-looking swirl cookie was inspired by a cookie failure last year. Unlike last year’s Peppermint Swirl Cookies, which looked cute but tasted awful, this cookie is both delicious and fun to look at. The kids’ memories were better than I thought: they were leery of trying these after being so disappointed last year. One bite and they were hooked though!

I used my standard Peanut Butter cookie dough recipe and pieced together a chocolate dough from a few that I like. The textures of the two doughs swirled together nicely for a soft, fun cookie.  Creating the swirl is an easy process:

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Lay 2 logs of dough side by side.

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Press together and gently twist.

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Pinch off a tablespoon-size chunk of dough and roll into a ball.

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RECIPE:

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

Peanut Butter Dough
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

Chocolate Dough
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peanut Butter Dough: Cream butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in vanilla and egg. Add dry ingredients and mix well.

Chocolate Dough: Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Add 1 cup flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to mixing bowl; beat slowly until well combined. Mix in remaining 1 cup flour.

Roll half of each dough into a log. Press the two logs (of peanut butter and chocolate doughs) together and gently twist the doughs. Repeat with remaining halves of dough. Break off tablespoon-sized pieces of dough. Roll into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes.

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies
DAY 6: Trail Mix Cookies
DAY 7: Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies
DAY 8: Chocolate Revel Bars

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Revel Bars

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DAY 8: This bar cookie has been a long time favorite at our house. The recipe is from a Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that I received as a wedding gift more than 20 years ago.

A layer of rich chocolate fudge sandwiched between oat-filled cookie layers: what more could you ask for in a cookie bar?

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RECIPE:

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Chocolate Revel Bars
——–(from Better Homes and Garden Cookbook)

1 cup butter
2 ½ cups flour (white or whole wheat)
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
4 tsp vanilla, divided
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups rolled oats
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbs butter
½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat 1 cup butter with mixer for 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the brown sugar, eggs, 2 tsp vanilla and baking soda. Mix thoroughly. Beat in remaining 1 cup flour. Stir in oats.

In a saucepan, combine chocolate, sweetened condensed milk and 2 Tbs butter. Cook over low until chocolate melts. Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts and 2 tsp vanilla.

Press 2/3 of the oat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1” baking pan. Spread chocolate mixture over oat mixture. Using your fingers, dot remaining oat mixture over chocolate.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until top is lightly browned (chocolate layer will still look underdone). Cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares.

Makes about 3 dozen bars (2” square).

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies
DAY 6: Trail Mix Cookies
DAY 7: Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies

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DAY 7: A nice alternative to regular Sugar Cookies, this dough can be rolled flat and cut into shapes with cookie cutters, or rolled into logs and cut into circles (super fast and easy!). For decorated “log-rolled cookies”: either roll the entire log in sprinkles before slicing, or slice and then top with sprinkles (press sprinkles into dough slightly).

I made these during the summer, so they don’t look very Christmassy, but with some fun Christmas sprinkles (I love the large variety packs that they sell at Target and other stores with the shaped sprinkles-trees, gingerbread men, holly, snowflakes!), they are an easy way to add fun sugar cookies to your Christmas Cookie Plate.

I also like to use this recipe when I am using cookie cutters with an imprint on the top (one that shows on the face of the cookie). Frosting covers up all of those great details. For those cookies, I mix sprinkles directly into the dough. Chill and roll out like regular sugar cookie dough and cut out with your cookie cutters. That way you get the imprint on the face and some festive sprinkles throughout the cookie.

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RECIPE:

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Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
About ¼ cup “sprinkles” candies

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer. Beat in sugar, egg and vanilla. Add half of the flour and the baking powder; mix well. Beat or stir in remaining flour and sprinkles (**For round cookies, don’t mix in sprinkles; see note below).

Chill dough for 1-3 hours. Roll to ¼” thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters. Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes. For a soft cookie, be sure not to overcook! Cool on a wire rack.

**For round cookies: Do not mix sprinkles into dough. Divide dough in half and roll into logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill dough. For sprinkles on outside edges: roll entire log in sprinkles, then cut into slices and bake. For sprinkles on top of cookies: Cut logs into slices; top with sprinkles. Press sprinkles into cookies slightly; bake as directed above.

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies
DAY 6: Trail Mix Cookies

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Trail Mix Cookies

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DAY 6: We’re half-way through our sugar-laden journey through Christmas cookies. Time for a cookie that at least pretends to be healthy. Packed full of everything you love in a good trail mix: dried fruits, nuts, 3 different seeds (and a little chocolate, of course); plus rolled oats, honey, whole wheat flour and wheat germ.  I find these cookies very addicting. I love the hearty mouth-feel and chewy texture.

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RECIPE:

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Trail Mix Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour (white or finely milled whole wheat)
½ cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup slivered almonds
¾ cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/3 cup flax seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cream butter and brown sugar; beat in honey, eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour, wheat germ, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats, fruits, nuts, seeds and chocolate chips.  Mix well.

Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes.

Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before removing to wire racks.

Makes about 60 cookies

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Almond Macaroon Brownies

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DAY 5: An easy way to dress up a boxed brownie mix!

Brownies topped with a coconut and almond cheesecake layer: thick, rich and delicious. As a real nut-lover, this recipe is one of my favorites.

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RECIPE:

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Almond Macaroon Brownies

1 brownie mix for 9×13” pan PLUS ingredients for preparing (usually water, oil and eggs)
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
16 oz (2 pkg) cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
2 Tbs. flour
1 pkg (14 oz) flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare brownie mix according to box directions. Add half of almonds to brownie batter. Spread in two greased 8×8” pans (or one greased 9×13” pan: see NOTE below).

With a mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and sugar. Beat in 2 eggs, vanilla and almond extracts and flour. Stir in coconut and remaining almonds. Carefully spread over brownie layer. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes (50-60 minutes for 9×13” pan) until center is completely cooked (cover with foil if top layer starts to get too brown). Cool completely before cutting.

NOTE: I usually bake this in 2 square baking pans because the center will set faster. You can use a 9×13” pan instead, but be sure the center is completely cooked before removing from oven.

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

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