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It's the cook-cookiest time of the year: Recipes, contests, treats

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That Santa is one lucky guy. The jolly old high-carb gourmet is going to have a lot of cookies to choose from when he drops into homes in the Upper Midwest, based on contests and recipes in regional newspapers.

The Star Tribune on Thursday published results of its highly anticipated 11th annual Taste Holiday Cookie Contest. This year judges picked through more than 2,300 recipes submitted by readers to come up with the five top cookies. The winning finalists included cinnamon bun cookies, candy cane sugar cookies, hot cocoa cookies and organ-almond melting moments. The top cookie was cappuccino flats, submitted by Dianne Sivald of White Bear Lake, which the judges liked for their "sophisticated chocolate-coffee profile." Here's the recipe, which the judges called easy to prepare, using a cut-and-bake technique.

The Star Tribune offers readers a Cookie Finder feature and an e-book with prize-winning recipes from the contest archives.

The Fargo Forum is accepting recipes until Dec. 11 for its Holiday Heritage Recipe Contest. Already the contest has accepted recipes including Old World favorites like Icelandic Pönnukökur, Bavarian Creme and Croatian Ustipke.

The Pioneer Press carried a cookie story featuring all-Scandinavian favorites in keeping with the Nordic cuisine trend. Here are those recipes, which includes step-by-step instructions for making krumkake, sprtiz, lemon logs, peppernuts and hallon cookies.

Last summer on WCCO, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, noted food writer at Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine, listed her top five cookies found at metro area bakeries. They include the bittersweet chocolate chip Cookie from Rustica, the maple nut bars from St Paul's Bars Bakery, the espresso flavored vanilla shortbread cookies at the Black Walnut Baker and the whoopie pies at Petite Sweets.

Dara's No. 1 cookie was the marcaroon at the Salty Tart at the Midtown Global Market, which Grumdahl said are often termed “crackeroons” for their addicting taste.

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