Sweet treats for family gatherings

By Nancy Drago
Times-News correspondent 
   Need some holiday cookies for your celebrations during the next two weeks?
   Try these out; they’re some of my family’s favorites. They’ve been passed down on my mom’s side of the family and shared in our recipe book.
Gâteau bonbons
• ⅔ cup soft butter or margarine
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 3-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
• ½ teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ⅛ teaspoon soda
• Orange marmalade
• Easy Creamy Icing
      Mix first six ingredients until light and fluffy. Measure flour by sifting. Blend dry ingredients; add to butter mixture; mix well. Chill.
   Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Using ¼ of dough at a time (keep rest refrigerated), roll ⅛-inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut 1-inch rounds. Place half the rounds on lightly greased baking sheet. Put ¼ tsp marmalade in center of each.
   For larger bonbons, cut 1 ½-inch rounds and fill with ½ teaspoon marmalade. Cover with remaining half of rounds; seal edges with floured finger. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are browned. When cool, frost with tinted icing.
   For icing: Blend 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon lemon extract, 1 ½ tablespoons cream.
Lemon blossom cookies
• 2 cups butter, softened
• 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• 4 cups flour
   Beat butter and powdered sugar. Beat in lemon juice. Mix in flour, and chill for 2 hours.
   Roll into balls and roll in powdered sugar. Press with thumb and put in jam. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes.
Better-than-nookie cookies
• 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ¾ cup cocoa
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 9-ounce packages chewy caramels in milk chocolate
   Beat butter at medium speed of electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
   Combine flour, soda, and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Cover and chill dough at least 2 hours.
   Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Work with 1 portion at a time, storing remainder in fridge. Divide each portion into 12 pieces. Quickly press each piece of dough around a caramel; roll into a ball, then roll in powdered sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
    Bake at 350 degrees F. for 8 minutes (they will look soft). Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove wire racks and let cool completely.
Nancy Drago is a senior at Chapel Hill High School and a Teens & 20s writer. 
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