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Easter Basket Cookie Centerpiece

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups blanched almonds or walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped M&M's plain chocolate candies

Decorating Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • About 2 tablespoons warm water

Instructions

  1. Cookies: Toast nuts at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
  2. Process nuts in blender or food processor until ground; set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy; beat in extract and eggs.
  4. Stir in flour, salt and nuts, mixing well to form dough.
  5. Stir in chopped candies.
  6. Form 1/2 cup dough into a 5 inch solid circle, 1/2 inch thick, on greased cookie sheet to form the bottom of basket.
  7. Roll small handsful of dough into 1 inch ropes; form ring, 6 inches in diameter, on greased cookie sheet.
  8. Repeat with remaining dough forming four additional rings, 7, 8, 9 and 10 inches in diameter.
  9. Pat each ring 1/2 inch high, 3/4 inch wide.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are light golden.
  11. Carefully remove to wire racks to cool.
  12. To assemble, place solid circle on 12 inch serving plate, drizzle glaze around edge of circle.
  13. Place smallest ring on circle; drizzle with glaze.
  14. Top with next largest ring; glaze.
  15. Continue with remaining rings and glaze.
  16. Decorate, if desired, with additional candies.
  17. Decorating Glaze: Gradually combine onfectioners' sugar with about warm water, mixing until smooth and of desired consistency.

Yield: 1 centerpiece