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Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had wonderful and festive weekends.

I spent the weekend continuing my search for the perfect Christmas cookie. I also stayed the night at a beautiful lodge in the Columbia River Gorge with my mom and sisters, enjoying spa treatments and my first night away from Eden. But what’s that compared to a Christmas Cookie?

I’m kidding, of course. It was a fantastic weekend getaway where I hardly thought about baking and blogging at all. Eden, however, I thought about a lot.

But now, back to work. Today I offer my Eggnog Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies. These little cookies pack in so much holiday flavor, they may just become essential for the Christmas season. With hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggnog, you could bite into these anytime of year and with your eyes closed you might just believe it’s Christmas time.

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Eggnog Cheesecake Thumbprints

Makes about 30

Spiced Cookie

2 sticks (1 cup) non-hydrogenated vegan buter (I use Earth Balance)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp applesauce
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

Eggnog Cheesecake Filling

6 ounces vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti)
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup soy nog
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg + more for sprinkling on top

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In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add powdered sugar and spices and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. With mixer running, slowly pour in soy nog. Beat until smooth. Transfer to small bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line to baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.

Cream together vegan butter and granulated sugar in the electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add applesauce and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture in three batches, scraping down the sides in between. Mix until all flour is hydrated and the dough is uniform.

Using a level tablespoon, scoop cookies and roll them into balls. Make a teaspoon-sized indentation in the center with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and make indentations again. Bake for another 7-9 minutes, until edges turn slightly golden and are firm to the touch. Transfer to wire racks and allow cookies to cool completely.

Fill the center of each cookie with 1 rounded teaspoon of cream cheese filling so that it’s slightly mounded Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cheesecake filling has firmed. Remove from oven, transfer cookies back to wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.