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Christmas Cookies

Every year, I participate in a online Christmas cookie exchange. I send a half-dozen cookies to four different people throughout the US and get two dozen cookies back. I have had to get creative with which types of cookies I bake and how to package them so that they arrive in one piece and are still fresh. Here are two cookie recipes that work nicely for the exchange. Enjoy!

Coconut Macaroons Makes 12 servings • ⅔ c. all-purpose flour • 5 ½ c. flaked coconut • ¼ tsp. sea salt • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk • 2 tsp. vanilla extract Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, coconut and salt. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla using your hands until well blended. Use an ice cream scoop to drop dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about golf ball size. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until coconut is toasted.

Snowballs Makes 30 servings • 1 c. butter • ½ c. confectioners' sugar • ¼ tsp. salt • 1 tsp. vanilla extract • 2 ¼ c. all-purpose flour • 1 c. chopped pecans • ⅓ c, confectioners' sugar for dusting, or as needed • ¼ c. finely crushed candy canes Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter with 1/2 cup of the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla. Mix in the flour, pecans, and salt. Roll about one tablespoon or so of dough into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven until bottoms are golden, about 15 minutes. Do not allow these cookies to get too brown: it's better to undercook them than to overcook them. While cookies are still hot, roll them in confectioners' sugar. Once they have cooled, roll them in confectioners' sugar once more.