SOURCE: McCormick

December 01, 2011 16:30 ET

Share the Spirit of the Season With Holiday Cookies

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Dec 1, 2011) - (Family Features) The holidays are a season of sharing -- sharing memories, sharing recipes and sharing the holiday spirit by making and giving homemade cookies. This year, the baking pros at McCormick are collaborating with cookie-sharing expert Kim Ima, owner of New York City's The Treats Truck and author of the new "The Treats Truck Baking Book," to make sure flavorful cookies are at the top of everyone's gift list.

"Making and sharing cookies can really be a gift from the heart," says Ima. "That's what 'The Treats Truck' is all about -- sharing a little of myself through my fresh-baked treats. It really is one of the greatest ways to connect with people."

McCormick and Ima share some simple tips for making holiday cookies extra-special:

  • Fantastic Flavor Combinations - Certain flavor match-ups are real winners around the holidays. Cinnamon and ginger are comforting holiday classics, while a splash of peppermint extract adds a surprising hint of refreshment.
  • Dress it Up - Spruce up versatile, go-to recipes like Spiced Holiday Sugar Cookies with seasonal flavors and creative decorations. Add a hint of almond extract to deepen the flavor, or play with festive cookie cutters and colorful frosting.
  • Gift It - In a mason jar, combine pre-measured spices, seasonings and other dry ingredients for a homemade "cookie mix." With a strip of ribbon, attach a recipe card with baking and decorating tips.

To capture the magic of holiday cookie-baking virtually, McCormick is helping bakers share their own delicious gifts from the heart in "The Big Cookie Share" at www.Facebook.com/McCormickSpice. After choosing a signature cookie recipe and customizing it with their own flavor twists, McCormick fans will receive an e-cookie to share with Facebook friends -- complete with a frosted holiday message -- and the accompanying recipe to bake up a batch at home.

Spiced Holiday Sugar Cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 to 10 minutes per batch
Refrigerate: 2 hours

2 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 egg
2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract

Colorful Cookie Icing:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
3 to 4 drops McCormick Assorted Food Colors and Egg Dye

1. Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat granulated sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Refrigerate dough 2 hours or overnight until firm.

2. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Place on greased baking sheets.

3. Bake in preheated 375°F oven 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

4. For the icing, mix all ingredients except food colors. (Stir in additional milk as needed to thin icing or more confectioners' sugar to thicken, if needed.) Place small amount of icing into small shallow bowls, using one bowl for each color desired. Stir drops of food coloring into icing until desired shade is reached.

5. To ice cookies, hold cookie by its edge and dip top of cookie into icing. (Or spoon icing onto cookie using a teaspoon.) Place iced cookies on wire rack set over foil-covered baking sheet to dry. (The foil-covered baking sheet will catch drips.) To add decorative details to cookies, spoon tinted icing into resealable plastic bag. Snip off tiny piece of corner. Squeeze icing through hole in plastic bag to decorate cookies. If desired, colored sugar may be sprinkled onto freshly iced cookies.

Makes 6 dozen or 24 (3 cookie) servings.

Test Kitchen Tip: Mix 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar to use for dusting surface.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 184 Calories, Fat 8g, Carbohydrates 26g, Cholesterol 29mg, Sodium 137mg, Fiber 0g, Protein 2g

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