Back-to-back snowstorms -- I know it is hard on all you commuters, but I love being able to stay home, stuck inside, sitting by the fire and, during this time of year, enjoying some Christmas cookies.

Saturday I made two types of cookies, both clipped from the wire stories that have already run in the

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' Food section. I made the eggnog snickerdoodles, which were good even though I found that they did not have that much eggnog flavor but they are nice and moist, and the chocolate and orange lace oatmeal cookies, which I thought were amazing. So tasty that I'm kind of hiding the rest of them from my husband to make sure he doesn't eat them all.

I plan to make a few more varieties before Christmas, since cookies are always great to have on hand when company drops by (or you get snowed in). I also have a bachelor uncle who does not bake and has no daughters to bake for him, so I send him some cookies, too.

I've shared most of my family favorites over the years, so this week's recipes are some new varieties that I've been considering. I didn't find that many enticing recipes this year, though I must give the disclaimer that I rule out any cookies that you have to roll out, nor do I like to make things that take frosting in order to look appealing. I know that can be fun for some people, but personally, I'd rather make three kinds of cookies in the time it would take to make one batch of those, and I find that the end result of a frosted cookie is too sweet. Let the cookie shine on its own merit.

The first recipe is for a salty-sweet butterscotch cookie, which caught my eye because I used to make an oatmeal butterscotch chip cookie through most of childhood, but then got tired of it. This recipe has a brown sugar base, more like a chocolate chip cookie, and uses cashews, which I don't think I've ever had in a cookie. Sounds delish.

The second recipe is for a bar cookie, a s'mores blondie. I'm kind of obsessed with s'mores, or really anything marshmallow, so this recipe made me do a double-take as I was flipping through a slideshow of Christmas cookie recipes. Next party, this is what I'm taking.

I wanted to round these recipes out with a third chocolate cookie recipe, but I really couldn't find anything that exceptional. So I'll probably stick with a chocolate crinkle cookie -- those are always a favorite. If you have a chocolate cookie that you think I and other readers would enjoy, please send it my way!

Enjoy!

Salty-sweet butterscotch cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
¾ cup coarsely chopped salted dry-roasted cashews
2/3 cup butterscotch-flavor pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined.
Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Stir in cashews and butterscotch pieces.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool. Makes about 48 cookies.
Source: http://www.bhg.com

S'mores blondies
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
4 graham crackers, broken into small pieces
1 cup miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil; butter the foil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the brown sugar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs until combined. Mix in the flour mixture until combined, then the pecans.
Spread the flour-nut mixture in the prepared pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate chips and bake until the marshmallows are pale golden, 7 to 8 minutes more.
Set the pan on a wire rack and let cool completely. Lift the blondies out of the pan, using the foil to help, and cut into 24 bars. Storage suggestion: Keep the blondies at room temperature, between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
Source: http://www.realsimple.com

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