Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cookie Swap

For some reason, this holiday season seems a little more hectic to me.  It may be that I have been more of a procrastinator (which is very unlike me) this year with things like shopping, but we have also had some problems with the computer which has prevented me from posting for a longer time span than usual.  In any event, I am back and wanted to share some pictures and a recipe from the cookie swap I hosted just a few days ago.  There were five of us total which was a good number, but you could certainly have more.  The more people attend, the more cookies you take home with you. 

In case I have never mentioned it before, my house is very small.  I like it that way.  Less to clean.  However, it is a little trickier when you have people over.  In this case, the cookie 'bar' was set up on a back counter just outside the kitchen so that everyone could gather around it easily, and I kept things very simple.  A homemade garland made of kraft paper, a small Christmas tree, cookie boxes, burlap, and canning jars (which had candles in them although they weren't lit in the pictures).  White platters and bowls displayed the assortment of cookies nicely.  And what great cookies they were!  From left, here is what we had...

Molasses Cookies-  these were soft and chewy with a sugary coating and just the right amount of molasses to flavor

Oreo Balls- Oreo cookie mixed with cream cheese and coated in white chocolate

Speculoos Buttons- lightly spiced, crisp cookies similar to gingerbread edged in sprinkles and glazed

Chocolate Walnut Cookies- crisp on the outside, soft on the inside with a taste reminiscent of a brownie

Snickers Filled Peanut Butter Cookies- peanut butter cookies formed and baked around a Snickers miniature candy

Each person at the swap made 5 dozen of one type of cookie and we divided them so that we each received a dozen of each.  A cookie swap is a perfect way to have your holiday treats without doing all the baking yourself.   

I leave you with two for the Speculoos Buttons I made from Bon Appetit and the other for Oreo Balls.  You can also make the Snickers cookies by simply mixing up a homemade or store-bought peanut butter cookie dough and rolling it in balls around a miniature Snickers candy before baking.  The cookies will spread out leaving the candy piece in the middle.  Yum!

Speculoos Buttons- makes about 90 cookies
from Dorie Greenspan for Bon Appetit

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • Sanding or other decorative sugar

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • Sprinkles, colored sanding sugar, or dragées (optional)
Whisk first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter in a medium bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add both sugars and molasses; continue to beat until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla; mix for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients and mix to blend well.
Scrape dough from bowl and divide into thirds. Using your palms, roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch log. Wrap logs tightly in plastic or parchment paper and freeze for at least 3 hours. (For neater edges, remove logs from freezer after 1 hour and roll on counter.) DO AHEAD: Dough can be made up to 2 months ahead. Keep frozen.
Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven; preheat to 375°. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Whisk egg white in a small bowl to loosen; lightly brush all over 1 log. Sprinkle with (or roll in) sanding sugar. Using a long, slender knife, slice off a sliver of dough from each end of log to make ends flat. Cut log into 1/4 inch-thick rounds. Transfer to 1 baking sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart; place in freezer while you cut the next log. (The cookies hold their shape better if you bake when dough is cold.) Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake 2 sheets of cookies, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 6 minutes, until tops are golden brown and centers are almost firm, 11-13 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool. Repeat with third sheet of cookies. DO AHEAD: Cookies can be baked 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Mix powdered sugar and 7 teaspoons cold water in a large mixing bowl (glaze will be very thick). Spoon about 1/2 teaspoons glaze onto each button (alternatively, fill a resealable plastic bag with glaze and cut a small hole in 1 corner; pipe glaze in an even circle around edges of cookies, then fill). Decorate with sprinkles, colored sugar, or dragées, if desired. Let stand on rack at room temperature for at least 30 minutes for glaze to set. DO AHEAD: Cookies can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Oreo Balls
1 package Oreo cookies
8 oz cream cheese
1 bag white chocolate morsels
Grind the Oreos in a food processor.  Add the cream cheese and continue processing until well blended.  Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls and chill in refrigerator or freezer for 30 minutes. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler and dip each ball into the chocolate using a toothpick or skewer.  Place on wax paper until the chocolate hardens.  Keep refrigerated while storing.

1 comment:

  1. Yay cookie swap! It's such a great idea, since nobody wants to make ten kinds of cookies, but everyone sure wants to eat them. :) We do a smaller swap with a half dozen per person, which turns out to be just about perfect.