Peanut Sitting Pretties

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If you Google “Peanut Sitting Pretties,” a bunch of links pop up, all pretty much the same recipe, so I’m not really sure where it originated. However, I’m officially giving credit to Renee Saxman, who introduced me to these little morsels of Christmas bliss a number of years back; I think after a fun “Running & Caroling” event, which was so cool, and, course, organized by Renee.

I had the privilege of becoming friends with Renee through the local running club when we both lived in Rochester, MN. In addition to being one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, Renee is both a very talented runner and an amazing baker, especially of cookies. In fact, I’m pretty sure she’s won a number of awards and ribbons for her cookies (and I know she has for her running!). She is also an inspirational coach to her fellow running club members, and from what I gather through Facebook, she’s brought all her talents and inspiration to the running community in the California city where she relocated not too long ago.

Thank you, Renee, for a festive and delicious Christmas treat. You still inspire my running!

Peanut Sitting Pretties
Most of the recipes called for canned vanilla frosting, which makes me shudder, so I’ve included a recipe for a yummy homemade vanilla buttercream—it’s so worth the extra effort!

1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups unbleached flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups finely chopped walnuts

Vanilla Frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar (organic, if you can find it)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
About 2 tablespoons buttermilk (regular milk works too)

Holiday peanut M & M candies (red & green)

With stand mixer or hand-held mixer, cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in egg yolk and vanilla. Sift in flour and salt. Mix well and chill for one hour.
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough into 1” balls. Dip into egg white; roll in chopped nuts and place on baking sheet, about 2” apart. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and press thumb gently in center. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack.
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For frosting: Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, salt and buttermilk with electric mixer until light and fluffy.

When cookies are cool, fill thumbprint with frosting and top with a peanut M & M. Makes about 4 dozen. Enjoy!
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