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Santa’s Stuffed Belly Cookies

I have been seeing "surprise inside cookies" for a few years and really wanted to come up with my own version. After a little brainstorming, I came up with the idea of making Santa's belly cookies and filling them with miniature cookies. These are so much fun to give as gifts—just wrap in colored cellophane and tie with a festive ribbon. You can exchange the mini cookies for candy or anything you'd like; if desired, you can color the cookie dough red, too. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
  • Total Time
    Prep: 1 hour Bake: 10 min.
  • Makes
    6 stuffed cookies

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ROYAL ICING:
  • 3-3/4 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • Red, white, black and gray food coloring
  • Red and green milk chocolate M&M's

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and extracts. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Divide dough into quarters. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 2 hours.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 4-in. round cutter. Using a floured 3-1/2-in. round cutter, cut centers out of three-fifths of the cookies to make window cookies. Reroll and use dough trimmings. Place solid and window cookies 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake until edges are firm, 8-10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For royal icing, combine confectioners' sugar, water and meringue powder; beat on low speed just until blended. Beat on high until stiff peaks form, 4-5 minutes. Tint with red, white, black and gray food coloring. Keep unused icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.
  • Frost half of solid cookies with red icing; using a pastry bag, pipe them with belts, buckles and trim. Pipe white icing around edges of window cookies and remaining solid cookies so they will adhere. On each solid cookie, layer three window cookies; fill opening with M&M's. Top with a red-frosted cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let stand at room temperature several hours until frosting is dry and firm. Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Facts
1/2 cookie: 765 calories, 25g fat (15g saturated fat), 123mg cholesterol, 502mg sodium, 128g carbohydrate (87g sugars, 1g fiber), 9g protein.
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