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Originally published Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 5:13 AM

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Recipe: Eggnog Snickerdoodle Cookies

Eggnog and snickerdoodles, together at last.

The Associated Press

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You can keep your decorated, stained glass, death-by-chocolate, triple-dunked biscotti bombs, or whatever this holiday season’s must-bake cookie will be.

Any time of year — and especially this time of year — I’ll take the delicious simplicity of a chewy, soft and sweet snickerdoodle over just about any fancy, overwrought confection. Even better is to pair that simple, underappreciated cookie with the most perfect of holiday beverages — eggnog.

This year, I wondered what would happen if I blended these two classic treats. That’s right ... An eggnog snickerdoodle. It totally makes sense. Though overtly rich and creamy, at heart eggnog is about clean vanilla creaminess with just a hint of holiday spice. You could easily say the same of snickerdoodles, which are a rich, buttery cookie with a clean vanilla taste and a light dusting of cinnamon-sugar on the outside.

Eggnog Snickerdoodle Cookies

Start to finish: 1 ½ hours (½ hour active)

Makes 36 cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter

2 cups sugar, divided

¼ cup plain eggnog

1 tablespoon dark rum or brandy

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on high to beat the butter and 1½ cups of the sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly drizzle in the eggnog, rum and vanilla, mixing until completely incorporated. Add the eggs, then beat until well mixed.

Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ½ cup of sugar, the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Working with a tablespoon of dough at a time, roll the dough between your hands to form balls. Roll each ball in the sugar mixture to coat evenly, then arrange on the prepared baking sheet, leaving two inches between the cookies on all sides. Bake for eight to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden, but still soft at the center. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Nutrition information per serving: 110 calories; 40 calories from fat (36 percent of total calories); 4.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 2 g protein; 75 mg sodium.

Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook “High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking.” Follow him to great eats on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch or email him at jhirsch@ap.org.

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