Christmas cookies aren't a one-person job for Sherry Manka, of Galloway Township. In fact, her favorite thing about her winning recipe in The Press' 12 Days of Cookies contest is that she gets to share the labor - and the enjoyment.

"My kids love them," she said, "and it's a fun recipe to make together."

Her kids are Jeffrey, 24, Jackii, 20, and Daniel, 13. One job they've always gotten since Sherry started making the cookies more than 20 years ago is unwrapping the foil-covered, miniature peanut-butter cups that give the recipe its name. That assignment comes with risks, though, the baker-in-chief says: "Mainly, they like eating them. That's why I have to get the huge bag."

She says the maker keeps changing the size of the bag of candy, but this recipe makes about four dozen cookies, and you need one peanut-butter cup for each one.

Martin DeAngelis

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Ingredients:

•3 cups all-purpose flour

•1 teaspoon baking soda

•1 teaspoon salt

•1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter

•1 cup sugar

•1 cup brown sugar, packed

•1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•2 eggs

•1 package of Reese's mini peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla with a mixer until creamy, then beat in eggs. Slowly beat in flour mixture until well blended.

In mini muffin pans, drop in rounded teaspoonfuls of dough. (If using aluminum pans, use paper liners so they don't stick.)

Bake 10 to 12 minutes until puffy and lightly brown.

Immediately after removing from the oven, press peanut butter cup into center of each cookie. Allow to cool in muffin pan.

For a quick and easy variation, use Betty Crocker sugar-cookie mix or peanut-butter cookie mix; or even quicker, use Pillsbury ready made sugar cookie dough following same baking instructions. Substitute Hershey chocolate kisses or even Rolos for a different treat!