Contributed by: NAPSA
(NAPSA) - Bakers everywhere are dusting off their rolling pins and gathering up their measuring cups. Every corner of the country has its own unique spin on holiday cookies and candies, with recipes that are often inspired by local ingredients or a reflection of traditions unique to the people who live there.
Wherever you may live on the map, there is a recipe-or two-to add to your holiday cookie plate, such as:
Bananas Foster Bars
Makes 16 2-inch Bars
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter and flour 9-inch-square pan*.
In large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with electric mixer until creamy. Add egg and rum; mix to combine. In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to butter mixture. Mix in bananas and pecans; stir to incorporate. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
In large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, sugar and extract with an electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Add cinnamon and 1 cup confectioners' sugar; blend until smooth. (Careful; overmixing will cause separation.) Add additional confectioners' sugar to create desired consistency.
Spread frosting immediately over cooled bars. Cover and store bars in refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, cut bars into 2-inch squares.
*For a thicker bar, use an 8-inch-square pan.
Makes 4 Dozen Candies
In large bowl, combine butter, almond butter, rum, almond extract and confectioners' sugar using electric mixer. Dough will be smooth and firm. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Melt chocolate in shallow, microwave-safe dish. Heat 30 seconds; stir; then continue in 10-second intervals, stirring after each cook time. Chocolate should be melted and smooth.
To dip balls, insert a toothpick about 1/2 inch into the ball, dip into melted chocolate, leaving a small circle of dough visible at the top, and place on parchment paper to dry until chocolate is firm. Repeat with remaining candies. Store in airtight container for up to three days.
*You may substitute peanut or cashew butter for almond butter; omit almond extract if you use a substitution.
Visit butterisbest.com for more regionally inspired recipes, from Mount Rainier Macaroons to Apple Cider Buttons. While there, sign up for the daily holiday cookie e-newsletter, "Better Baking with Butter," available to subscribers from Nov. 27 through Dec. 24.
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