2 Sisters 2 Cities

We are two sisters, Keelin and Meaghan, living in two different cities with two different lifestyles. We created this blog to share our day-to-day adventures in San Francisco and Boston. 2 Sisters 2 Cities was first started in December 2009. On our blog, we love to share our favorite recipes, DIY projects, party ideas, and stories about our lives.

Valentine’s Day Round-Up

It’s officially one week until Valentine’s Day and I have got some serious planning to do!  I have yet to make a single treat or card and our V’day menu remains a blank sheet of paper.  I figured a Valentine’s Day round-up was in order to spark some serious inspiration!

Cutout Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

These heart-shaped Cutout Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting have recently been our most popular post and for good reason!  They are amazingly delicious cutout cookies without all the fuss that royal icing requires.

Valentine's Day M&M Cookies {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

I also love these these M&M cookies.  While I made them for the first time last year for Valentine’s Day, I made them throughout the year with various colored M&Ms.

Golden-Oreo-Truffles

These Golden Oreo Truffles are only 5 ingredients and are perfectly easy to make for your sweetheart!

chocolate_covered_strawberries

It’s also a great time of year to make Chocolate-Covered Strawberries (or pretzels or bananas!)

3 Layer Brownies- chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, and brownies together in one bar!

Or you could package up these amazing Three Layer Brownies to give out as gifts for Valentine’s Day!  The three layers include chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and brownies…wow!

Red-Velvet-Cupcakes-for-Valentines-Day_thumb.jpg

Our Red Velvet Cupcakes were recently selected as part of the Blog Better Boston {hub}LINKS newsletter as part of their “Let’s Talk Love” round-up.  Here were the other blog posts that were selected as part of this week’s theme:

hublinks-featured-blogger-LOVE

  • Looking to buy your sweetie a V-day gift? Mandy’s Money has a guide that covers gifts of various price points.
  • Who doesn’t love wedding photos? Lindsay’s Look takes us back to her wedding, 3 years ago.
  • DIY to your heart’s content with these Valentine’s Day DIYs (that aren’t cheesy) from Design Fixation.
  • Three words: Red. Velvet. Cupcakes. Two Sisters Two Cities has the recipe…and it involves cinnamon cream cheese icing.
  • This Valentine’s Day themed shoot from Stephanie Rita Photography is just too cute!
  • Want kissable lips? Cobbs Hill has the recipe for this two step process.
  • Inspired by grammar school valentines, Glitter Trim cooked up these adorable envelope cookies.
  • Wearing your heart on your sleeve is so last year! Style Tab recommends wearing it on your sunglasses instead.

Happy Valentine’s Day planning!

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Taco Dip

Taco Dip

It’s been awhile since my last post and I decided to dive back into things with an easy recipe.  I’m far too often guilty of trying to come up with new and creative (and often complicated) recipes whenever we have guests visit.  However, with the birth of baby N, there are just not enough hours in the day to make every recipe that I would like to make.  I’ve come to the realization that it’s perfectly acceptable most of the time to just stick with easy, classic recipes.  This recipe for taco dip can be whipped up in no time at all!  If you are on the search for an easy recipe to add to your menu for this Super Bowl Sunday, this one has your name all over it (in cheese!)

taco dip

K actually posted this recipe for taco dip back in 2011, but we are trying to redo any of our old posts that did not have pictures or just have really bad pictures.  If you search through some of our archives, you can definitely see some of these photos for yourselves (I’m looking at you blurry iPhone photos of burnt lamb sliders…I’m not going to even link to it I’m so embarrassed.)  One of the many side benefits of working on our blog is that it has definitely honed our photography skills.  While I definitely still need to learn a lot more, blogging has definitely served as a catalyst to learn much more about photography.

taco dip

I accidentally bought the multi-grain version Tostitos scoops at the grocery store, however I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked them.  Serve this dip with any type of tortilla chip you prefer.  You could also mix up this recipe a bit by adding more layers…diced green chills, sliced black olives, or black beans would all be interesting options to add.

Taco Dip
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. block of light cream cheese
  • 16 oz. light sour cream
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (or try 2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning)
  • 1 jar of salsa
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 2 small or 1 large tomatoes chopped
  • Shredded Mexican cheese
  • Tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature. Once the cream cheese is softened, combine with sour cream and taco seasoning until smooth (you can mix it together by hand or mix with an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachment.) Spread the mixture out onto a 9×13-inch or an 8×10-inch pan evenly. Let it set by refrigerating it for an hour.
  2. After an hour or right before you are ready to serve it, use a spatula to spread the jar of salsa evenly over the top of the cream cheese/ sour cream mixture. Next, put the shredded iceberg lettuce on top (you can use as much as you want, I put on about 1½-2 cups), followed by the chopped tomatoes. Finally you sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of everything until it is well covered (about 1½ cups).

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Girl Scout Cookie Weekend Campaign

Disclosure: We are being compensated by GSUSA for our participation in this campaign as part of the Mom It Forward Blogger Network.  All opinions are our own.

Blog Tour Image 2

While we have spent the past week focusing on this weekend’s Super Bowl Sunday, next weekend also has a fun event going on- it’s Girl Scout Cookie Weekend!  Keelin and I both have fond memories of being Brownies as little girls.  I had so much fun at our weekly meet-ups and loved earning badges throughout the year.  I remember sitting in my bedroom admiring all the various badges on my sash.  I also loved wearing my Brownie uniform to school each week with my Brownie friends.

One thing that many people associate with the Girl Scouts program are their cookies.  This annual tradition is the largest fundraiser for local Girl Scout troops.  In fact, after the costs of the cookies are paid for, all revenue stays with the local Girl Scout council.  Cookie selling also helps girls with five life skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.

Fellow Massachusetts residents: more information on the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts can be found on their website Time Well Spent.  They will also be hosting Fork It Over, a competitive, culinary fundraising event featuring some of the region’s top chefs who create original appetizers and desserts using Girl Scout cookies and present their creations to the public and a distinguished panel of judges at Coral Seafood on Thursday, February 6 from 5 – 7 pm.  More details  and ticket information can be found on Time Well Spent website.

Starting February 7th through 9th, please support your neighborhood Girl Scout for National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend!  You can also visit the National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend website to learn more about how to buy cookies.  You can also follow Girl Scouts on Pinterest and Facebook for more cookie information!

Girl Scouts

What’s your favorite Girl Scout Cookie?  For me, it has to be a toss-up between Thin Mints and Samoas…I can’t wait for my boxes to arrive!

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Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts

 Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts

Another food tradition we enjoy in our family is serving lots of appetizers on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  It can be a bit hectic to prepare these apps with a full house so I am always looking for shortcuts to cut down on prep times.  Campbell’s asked us to share a holiday recipe using one of their skillet sauces or slow cooker sauces.  I decided to try out their Scampi Skillet Sauce to make an appetizer: Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts.  This appetizer dish offers all the flavor of traditional shrimp scampi on a bite-size baguette…perfect for holiday entertaining!

shrimp scampi skillet sauce

I tested this recipe out with some guests that dropped by and it was approved by all (including the kids!)  The baguette slices can be toasted and rubbed with garlic ahead of time.  You could also clean and chop up the shrimp to have it all ready to be sautéed.  Whether you are planning your Christmas menu or looking ahead to New Year’s Eve, definitely consider adding this appetizer to your holiday!

Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts

Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 french baguette
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound thawed shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and with tail removed
  • 1 package Campbell’s Scampi Skillet Sauces
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced (optional, for garnish only)
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees (F). Cut baguette into thin slices and place on baking pan. Bake for five minutes on each side or until lightly golden
  2. Remove toasted baguette slices from oven and rub both sides with cut garlic, then set aside.
  3. Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towel.
  4. Pour olive oil into large skillet pan and heat to medium high.
  5. Meanwhile, chop shrimp into small pieces. Once oil is hot, add shrimp to pan, and cook until shrimp turns pink
  6. Once shrimp is cooked, turn heat to low and and add Campbell’s Scampi Skillet Sauce. Cook until thoroughly warmed.
  7. Remove shrimp from oven, and spoon shrimp mix on top of garlic toast.
  8. Place on serving tray, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and garnish with lemon slices and.

 

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Disclosure: This post brought to you by Campbell’s Dinner Sauces. Weekend-worthy dinners with only weekday-level effort needed! Learn more at http://www.campbellsauces.com/

Get Minted For The New Year

I know we are still a few days away from Christmas, but it’s time to start thinking about the next holiday around the corner- New Year’s!  If you didn’t get a chance to send Christmas cards out this year, check out the great selection of New Year’s cards at Minted.  I love the new tradition of photo cards…it’s so fun to see photos of everyone’s family from year to year!

While I love all the Christmas cards that we receive, there is also something special about New Year’s cards from friends.  After the bustle of the season has quieted, it’s nice to reflect on these cards.  Here are a few of my favorite designs:

new year stripe

new year card

2014

Minted also offers some great New Year’s personalized party decorations. I especially love the silver and gold themed party decor.  K and I were both swooning over the personalized bunting today.

bunting

These silver and gold wine tags would also be perfect to ring in the New Year with.

wine glass tags

I also love this table runner that can be customized with your own special message…so many possibilities!

table runner

While I certainly can’t wait to savor every moment of Christmas, just looking at these New Year’s ideas is getting me inspired for all the celebrating to be done over the next couple of weeks!  How do you like to celebrate the new year ?

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Minted.  All opinions are our own.

3 Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

Today’s 12 Cookies of Christmas countdown post is brought to you by Kraft.

A Little Help For The Holidays From Kraft

Christmas is less than a week away and it’s time to get serious about Christmas preparations!  When I saw this Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookie idea on Pinterest, I knew I had to make these little guys.  These reindeer are so stinking cute and peanut butter cookies are a family favorite in our household.  They also reminded me of K’s Black Cat Cookies and I had fun making those for T this past Halloween.  Whether you are baking for kids or grown-ups, these reindeer cookies will be sure to bring a smile to their faces.

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

I was able to save a little bit of money this holiday season by picking up some Planters Peanut Butter at Target.  Kraft is currently offering a number of coupons for exclusive use at Target to make your holiday entertaining a bit easier. ( Save up to $20 on participating Kraft products, only at Target.)  These Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies will be the hit of your Christmas party!

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies
Author: 2 Sisters 2 Cities
Recipe type: cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36
Ingredients
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup Creamy Planters Peanut Butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and ¼ cup all-purpose flour.
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • chocolate-covered pretzels, cut in half (for the antlers)
  • mini brown M&Ms (for the eyes)
  • regular-sized red M&Ms (for the nose…you could also use brown M&Ms if you prefer non-Rudolph cookies!)
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar using the paddle attachment. Next, add in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla and mix together until combined. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the baking soda, flour, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the electric mixing bowl and mix until fully incorporated. Once all the flour mixture has been added, chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. Once dough has chilled, use a mini ice cream scooper to scoop out small balls of dough. Place the ball of dough on the cookie sheet and gently flatten it with your hand. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until edges turn slightly golden.
  3. Remove cookies from oven and immediately add the chocolate-covered pretzels as antlers, two mini brown M&Ms for eyes, and red M&M for the mouth. Carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Reindeer Cookie idea from Bakergirl and Peanut Butter Cookie recipe slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Here’s the rest of our 2013 Cookie Countdown in case you have missed any!

4 Oatmeal Chocolate Mint Cookies
5 Sprinkle Cookies
6 Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cutouts
7 Chocolate Hazelnut Coins
8 Italian Lemon Drops
9 Chocolate Toffee Crackers
10 Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
11 Christmas Snickerdoodles
12 Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

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From shopping for gifts to planning family dinners, it’s hard to keep up with all your holiday to-do’s. This year, Kraft is helping out with great weeknight meals and entertaining ideas to make the season a little bit easier. Plus, Kraft is offering up to $20 in coupons, redeemable exclusively at Target, to make food shopping easier and to help you have a happy holiday season.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kraft. The opinions and text are all mine.

8 Italian Lemon Drops

Italian Lemon Drops

As I have told you all before, I have a crazy food memory in which I can practically remember everything I have eaten at most events in my life.   Can I remember a phone number or where my keys are…uhhh nope!  It’s funny how selective memories can be, but I guess it shows my love for all things food.

Where were we?  Oh right, when I think of Christmas as a child, all the cookies my mom made around the holiday time come to mind.  I can remember the peanut brittle, the chocolate crinkles, the peanut butter cup blossoms, the Mexican wedding cakes, the cut-out cookies, the buckeyes and endless more.  As I grew up and learned how to bake, I started taking on more baking around the holidays and emulated the same tradition my mom had in my own place.  The whole Christmas cookie process of planning, sharing, giving and of course, eating has become quiet an obsession of mine and really how our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies started here at 2s2c.

Italian Lemon Drops

I have shared most of the above recipes that I remember growing up with, but there was one cookie missing that I couldn’t put my finger on.  I kept remembering a round puffy lemon cookie with lemon glaze.   It was driving me crazy that I couldn’t find the recipe in any of my family cookbooks.  When I asked my mom, she remembered where it was from: a school fundraiser cookbook she had bought over 30 years ago.  Alas, here is how we came to cookie number eight on this year’s countdown- the Italian Lemon Drop cookie (i.e. the Lemon Anginetti.)  I have updated some of the ingredients to more modern ones since the original recipe included melted Crisco and 3 tablespoons of lemon extract!

Italian Lemon Drops
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Cookie-
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Zest from one lemon
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 tsp baking powder
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp. lemon extract
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
Glaze-
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1-1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer add sugar and lemon zest. Mix for 1-2 minutes to infuse the sugar with the lemon flavor.
  3. Add melted butter to lemon sugar and combine. Mix in eggs and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together flour and baking powder.
  5. In measuring cup mix together milk, lemon extract and vanilla extract.
  6. Mix in ⅓ of flour mixture to butter followed by ⅓ of milk mixture. Repeat process ending with milk and stirring until all ingredients are combined.
  7. Line baking sheets with non-stick baking mats or parchment paper. Roll dough in balls the size of walnuts. The dough may be sticky so make sure your hands are well floured. Leave about 2 inches between each cookie.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are firm to touch. Let cool on wire rack.
  9. To make glaze- whisk together 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Continue to whisk until smooth, adding more lemon juice as needed. If glaze gets too thin add additional confectioners’ sugar. Dip each cookie top in glaze and let excess drip back into bowl. Place on parchment paper and let dry completely before putting away. Can be store in air tight container for up to three days or frozen up to 3 months.

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iPad Air Giveaway

ipad air giveaway

In addition to our Totally Awesome Christmas Giveaway, we’ve partnered with some blogger friends to bring you the chance to win one of the biggest prizes of the year. This time, we’re giving away an iPad Air!

ABOUT THE IPAD AIR

The new iPad Air is unbelievably thin and light. And yet it’s so much more powerful and capable. With the A7 chip, advanced wireless, and great apps for productivity and creativity — all beautifully integrated with iOS 7 — iPad Air lets you do more than you ever imagined. In more places than you ever imagined.

GIVEAWAY

Prize: iPad Air 16GB Wi-Fi ($499 ARV)

Sponsors: 2 Sisters 2 CitiesBay Area MommyClare’s Weight Loss Journey with Plexus SlimCouponing For 4Dallas Single MomDream a Little BiggerFood Folks and FunFun Fierce Fab Beauty Over 50!Happy Deal – Happy Day!Joyful ScribblingsMamamusingOh My Gosh Beck!Patchwork PosseThis Mama LovesYou Justincredible

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily – all entries are optional. Giveaway ends 12/31 and is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!
m&k

9 Chocolate Toffee Crackers

Chocolate Toffee Crackers (from 2 Sisters 2 Cities)

I have seen this recipe for Chocolate Toffee Crackers so many times on Pinterest and I have been wanting to make it for such a long time.  It goes by a lot of different names- Christmas Crack, Chocolate Saltine Toffee, Sweet & Saltines, Saltine Toffee Candy, etc.  I knew I could not refer to this recipe as Christmas Crack as my son picks up on everything we say lately.  I really do not want a note from his nursery school asking why T made “crack” with his mother over the weekend.

{Side story: we made a joke about having raccoon and coyote steak this past summer while we were having a regular (cow) steak dinner.  T still requests raccoon and coyote steak to this day…it makes me snicker out loud when I think about him telling his teachers that his favorite meal consists of raccoon and coyote meat.}

Anywhoo…it’s a super easy recipe to make.  I once again attempted a cookie recipe while T & N were both awake.  I even made this one during the “witching hour”…basically anytime between 4:30-7:30pm in our house.  I let T add the nonpareil sprinkles to the top of the chocolate toffee crackers as they were cooling.  He was grabbing them by the fistful and throwing them on top.  We had a fun time making this recipe, but I tell you, my kitchen may never be the same after I brought out those nonpareil sprinkles.  I’m trying very hard this holiday season to let go of my need for everything to be clean all the time and to just have fun making memories with the kids!

Chocolate Toffee Crackers (from 2 Sisters 2 Cities)

9 Chocolate Toffee Crackers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • cooking spray
  • 40 saltine crackers
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • nonpareil sprinkles or any other type of decorative candy (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Lay down a single layer of 40 saltines on the foil surface.
  2. Meanwhile, melt together the butter and brown sugar in a medium-sized sauce pan. Allow it to reach a boil, then lower the temperature and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir the butter & sugar mixture occasionally and remove from the heat once it has thickened.
  3. Stir in the vanilla to the saucepan and pour the mixture over the crackers on the jelly pan. Use a spatula to spread the mixture over any crackers that are dry. Put in the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes, or until it gets bubbly. Remove pan from oven.
  4. Sprinkle chocolate chips over crackers evenly. Allow the chocolate chips to melt for a few minutes and use a spatula to smooth it out over the crackers. Then, sprinkle on nonpareil sprinkles or any other decorative candy (this step is optional). Place the pan in the fridge for 30-45 minutes or until chocolate is hard. Break up into pieces and serve. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from Trisha Yearwood and Averie Cooks

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11 Christmas Snickerdoodles

Christmas Snickerdoodles (from 2 Sisters 2 Cities)

For my first Christmas cookie recipe of the season, I decided to turn a traditional year-round cookie into a Christmas version of itself.  I used red and green sugar crystals in the recipe to turn these Snickerdoodles into Christmas Snickerdoodles!

This recipe was super simple and it was the perfect cookie recipe to make with a 3-year old and 5-month old.  After I formed a ball of cookie dough, I handed it to T and he would roll it in either the red or green sugar & cinnamon mixture, then place it on the pan.  We got a good laugh as Baby N sat in his Bumbo chair and kept trying to grab for the red cookies…you can have cookies soon baby!  I hope you have as much fun as I did making these Christmas Snickerdoodles this holiday season. (Just keep in mind that the dough needs to be refrigerated for one hour before baking- the perfect amount of time to grab a quick afternoon nap or watch a Christmas movie by the fire!)

Christmas Snickerdoodles (from 2 Sisters 2 Cities)

11 Christmas Snickerdoodles
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Turn this classic cookie recipe into a Christmas one by using green and red-colored sugars.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 and ½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons red sanding sugar or sugar crystals
  • 2 tablespoons green sanding sugar or sugar crystals
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Add the softened butter to a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat butter on high for 30 seconds. Add the 1 and ½ cups sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt and mix until combined. Use a spatula to scrape the side of the mixing bowl if necessary. Turn off mixer and add in eggs and vanilla- mix for 30 more seconds until combined. Turn off mixer and add 1 cup of flour at a time, beating after each addition until flour is incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour or more.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper. Add the red sugar into a small bowl and the green sugar into a second small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon into each bowl and mix. Shape dough into ~1 balls (you can make the balls smaller or larger based on how what size cookie you prefer. I ended up making 36 cookies from this batch of dough.)
  3. Roll balls in either the red or green sugar mixture until dough is coated. Place 2 inches apart on the parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer to wire racks and allow to cool.

Source: BHG.com

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