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The Holiday Cookie Jar

Palmiers, molasses cookies and hazelnut shortbread make delicious gifts.

In our kitchen during the three weeks before Christmas, there's hardly a day that goes by without sticks of butter thawing on the counter, flour dusting the tile floor and used measuring cups waiting in the sink. 'Tis the season for cookie making (and eating).

Each year, we bake dozens of cookies to give to friends. But with a family of six, and more visiting for the holidays, there has to be extra treats to fill the cookie jar. Last year, we made .

For this season, we whipped up our two annual favorites, Chocolate Crinkles and Molasses Cookies. But we also tried two new treats, Palmiers and Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies.

Palmiers are the easiest cookies I've ever made that didn't come in a tube or frozen in a box. These crispy and light cookies are made using only a few ingredients, thanks to the frozen puff pastry. I added 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg to the sugar for some holiday flavor. But the directions and cooking time for Barefoot Contessa's Palmiers are perfect. The caramelized sugar lends a glossy color to the sweet cookies, and the children like to help fold the dough.

The next recipe for Martha Stewart's Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies wasn't quite as simple, but the flavor was just as rewarding. After chilling, the dough is rolled and cut into whatever shapes you like. I used raspberry jam to sandwich some cookies, and Nutella for others. Both fillings lend delicious flavor to this crisp rich shortbread.

Every family has their holiday favorite baked goods. Let us know what's in your cookie jar this time of year.

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