1995 5th place: joan's little joys

Yield: 36 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 cup Unsalted butter, softened
1¾ cup Confectioners' sugar
1½ teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
1½ cup All-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
½ cup Finely ground hazelnuts or macadamia nuts
¼ cup Seedless raspberry preserves (approx)
Food coloring as desired, for decorating

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet(s) or line with parchment paper.

2. Beat butter and ½ cup of the confectioners' sugar in large bowl of electric mixer on high speed until well combined. Mix in vanilla.

Stop the mixer and add the flour and ground nuts. Mix on low speed just until combined.

3. Using 1 teaspoon dough for each, roll into rounds. Place on baking sheet. Dip the bottom of a flat glass in confectioners' sugar, reserving ¼ cup for this purpose. Press each ball, flattening to a 1-inch round.

4. Bake just until they begin to color, 9 to 11 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

5. Spread bottoms of half the cookies with preserves, using about ¼ teaspoon for each cookie. Sandwich together with another cookie.

6. For icing, mix remaining 1 cup confectioners' sugar with just enough water to make it spreading consistency. Tint icing with food color, if desired.

7. Decorate top of cookies with icing, using a pastry bag, if desired.

Fifth-place winner in the 1995 Chicago Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest: by Isabelle Clarke Garibaldi of Burr Ridge

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