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If you haven’t started nibbling yet, it won’t be long before Christmas cookies will be here, there, everywhere and completely irresistable.

Every family has their favourites. Mine is my sister’s cherry-centred dainty. They disappear as quickly as she sets them out. Their only rival is my Mom-in- law’s substantial slices of sweet shortbread which are known to disappear even before she sets them out.

Ginger and orange scented, sugary and delicate, nutty and chocolate-filled, these once-a-year cookies are always perfect lures for getting even the heftiest Santa down that chimney and for settling all your favourite elves in one place.

Here’s a few more ideas to add to your recipe box collection. All recipes are courtesy of Manitoba Canola Growers Association ( www.mcgacanola.org).

NUTTY BANANA BITES

1 c. peanut butter

1 c. honey

2 c. powdered milk

2 tsp. vanilla

1 firm banana, cut into

1/2-inch slices

Flour for coating balls

2 eggs, beaten

3 c. frosted flakes,

crushed into

medium-fine crumbs

Combine peanut butter, honey, milk powder and vanilla. Mix well to combine ingredients. Flatten dough into a 1-inch ball in palm of hand. Place banana piece in centre and wrap entirely with peanut butter mixture. Insert long skewers into balls and place on cookie sheet. Freeze till firm. Remove from freezer. Roll balls in flour then egg wash, and then roll it into frosted flake crumbs. Return to freezer for 1 hour. Heat canola oil to 375 F in a large deep saucepan or deep fryer. Fry a few balls at a time for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Yield: 36 balls.

ICEBOX COOKIES

These crispy cookies are great to have in the freezer at all times, for those unexpected guests. You can make several varieties of these cookies.

4 oz. cream cheese, at

room temperature

1/3 c. canola oil

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

2-1/4 c. flour

Optional flavours (below)

Cream together cream cheese, canola oil and sugar. Add vanilla and egg, beat until fluffy. Add flour and fold in optional flavours (see below). Separate batter in two balls. Roll into logs with hands and wrap with wax

paper. Freeze for one hour or up to three months. When ready to use, thaw for 15 minutes. Slice and bake at 350 F for 12 -15 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.

Optional Flavors:

Cherry Almond CookiesAdd 1/2 cup candied cherries and 1/4 tsp. almond flavouring.

Chocolate Nut CookiesOmit 1/4 cup flour and add 1/4 cup cocoa and 1/2 cup whole nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans).

Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

ORANGE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

4 c. cake and pastry flour

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. orange zest

1/4 c. milk

1/2 c. orange zest

1 c. canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. semi-sweet

chocolate chips

In mixing bowl, combine cake and pastry flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, combine orange zest, milk, orange juice, canola oil and vanilla. Mix well. Add the canola oil mixture to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed just to combine the ingredients. Quickly mix in the chocolate chips.

With small ice cream scoop (number 30) drop the cookie mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheets, approximately 1 dozen per sheet. Press lightly with a fork. Bake at 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes or until nicely browned.

Yield: 3-1/2 to 4 dozen.

ManitobaCo-operatorRecipeSwap

Box 1794, Carman, Man. R0G 0J0

or email [email protected]

SWEET CHERRY CUT-OUT COOKIES

1 (10-oz.) can sweetened

condensed milk

1/3 c. canola oil

2 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

3 c. flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Combine condensed milk, canola oil, vanilla, and eggs. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; mixture will be sticky. Separate mixture into thirds; place on plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for 15 minutes. Knead on well-floured surface; roll into 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 F for 8 to 12 minutes until golden; cool completely.

Cherry Filling

2 c. maraschino cherries, drained and juice reserved

1/2 c. reserved cherry juice

1/4 c. sugar

1-1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

1-1/2 tbsp. cold water

Combine canned sweet cherries, cherry juice, and sugar in heavy saucepan; bring to boil on medium-low heat. Combine cornstarch and cold water; add to cherry mixture, constantly stirring until it boils. Remove from heat; set aside. In blender, purée mixture until smooth; cool.

Simple Icing

2 c. powdered sugar

2 tsp. milk

Maraschino cherries

Combine powdered sugar and milk; blend until smooth. Glaze cookies and place maraschino cherry on top. After cookies cool completely, spread cherry filling on one cookie. Place another cookie on top to make a sandwich. Press together gently. Glaze cookies.

Note: Amount of filling to use will depend on the size of the cookies.

Makes 18 cookie sandwiches or 36 individual cookies.

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RECIPE SWAP

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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