Recreate leftover cookies into new desserts

Between kindly neighbors, generous officemates and your own seasonal baking lust, it's easy to get overwhelmed by cookies during the holidays. What to do with all the cookies that don't get gobbled up right away?

Kate Merker, associate food editor at Real Simple magazine, suggests morphing cookies into a different kind of dessert treat. Or simply storing them in the freezer to preserve freshness until you're once again craving gingerbread.

For those cookies left untouched, Merker offers these suggestions:

• Sprinkle crumbled meringue cookies over orange or raspberry sorbet.

• Make a parfait by layering chocolate pudding and crumbled peanut butter cookies, then topping them with a dollop of whipped cream and another sprinkling of cookies.

• Make a quick pear crisp using crumbled oatmeal cookies. Place halved and cored pears in a baking dish cut-side up. Combine 1 cup crumbled cookies with 4 tablespoons butter (cut into pieces) and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the pears and bake at 400 F, or until the pears are tender, about 15 minutes.

• In pie crust recipes that call for crushed graham crackers or vanilla wafers, try using shortbread, peanut butter or gingersnap (not gingerbread) cookies instead.

• Make an ice cream sandwich. Try traditional chocolate chip, or go for gingersnaps with chocolate or strawberry ice cream. But remember, ice cream sandwiches taste best with fresh cookies and fresh ice cream. Assembled sandwiches can be wrapped and frozen for up to three days.


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