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Christmas Ball Cookies

Servings: 56 cookies
Kids of all ages will love to decorate these easy Christmas Ball cookies. Try colored sugars and sprinkles, gumdrops, and small candies -- all of which go on before baking.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks/6 oz/170g) butter, softened
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Small multicolored decorative candies, sprinkles, gumdrops, and assorted colored sugars

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat or stir in flour.

2. Divide dough in half. Shape each half of dough into a 7-inch-long roll. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Chill for 4 to 24 hours or until easy to handle.

3. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place slices about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using decorative candies, colored sugars, and/or gumdrops rolled out and cut into festive shapes, decorate the slices to resemble Christmas balls.

4. Bake in a 375 degree F (190 C) oven for 8 to 10 minuts or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.

Makes about 56 cookies.

Tips for Decorating Christmas Ball Cookies:
Visions of Sugar Plums:
Decorate frosted cookies with candy ornaments crafted from gumdrops. Here are three ideas. Use your imagination to conjure up some more.

Cut a large gumdrop lengthwise into 4 slices. Add a red cinnamon candy along the long flat side of each slice of the gumdrop to form a bell.

Use your fingers or a rolling pin to flatten a gumdrop to about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out small shapes using a knife or hors d'oeuvres cutters.

Holly Leaves:
Arrange slices of small green gumdrops around red cinnamon candies to create holly and berries.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens
Date: July 20, 2002