The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

It’s that time of year again!  Time for shopping and fighting to get the last parking spot in a half mile radius of the mall.  Time for getting red sparkly nail polish on your fingers AND toes because you can.  And of course, time to bake & send and receive & eat 3 dozen delicious cookies!

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is hosted by Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen, and every year it seems to get bigger and bigger!  The swap benefits all the participants (and whoever is nearby when they open their packages of cookies), of course.  More importantly it benefits Cookies for Kids Cancer, an amazing organization that supports pediatric cancer research.

So, you bake 3 dozen cookies, send them to your assigned 3 other bloggers, and then wait to receive your very own cookies from other bloggers around the country!  This year, I (Hannah) got some amazing Raspberry Thumbprint cookies from Lisa at Taste Cook Sip – so soft and buttery, and filled with some pretty fantastic homemade raspberry jam!  Still waiting on my other 2 packages, and I’m excited to see what they are!

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For my 3 dozen, I made Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies from Martha Stewart.  Soft, chewy, super chocolate-y, with just a little heat from some cinnamon and cayenne.  Perfect for winter (or winter-ish, as we have in Texas) days and nights!

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Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies (I made 1.5 recipes to get just over 3 dozen)

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar, divided use
1 cup (= 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp cinnamon, divided use
1/8 tsp cayenne

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375F with a rack in the middle position.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, 2 tsp cinnamon, and cayenne.  Set aside.
3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs 1 at a time.  Beat in the vanilla.
4. Gradually add the flour mixture with the mixer on low speed, mixing just until dry ingredients are incorporated.
5. In a small, shallow dish, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.  Using a medium cookie scoop to scoop out balls of dough, roll each cookie ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place cookies about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.  (I didn’t chill my dough prior to doing this, but it might make rolling in cinnamon sugar easier.)  Continue until all cookies have been rolled in cinnamon sugar.
6. Bake cookies until cracked and dry on top, about 10 minutes.  They might not look completely done, but they’ll continue to cook once you take them out.  Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 5-10 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.  Cookies will keep in airtight container for 5 days.

 

Now it’s my (Kate’s) turn! There is very little that is better than coming home to AWESOME cookies in the mail. This year I got some awesome Toffee Peanut Butter(scotch) Pudding cookies from Michelle at My California Kitchen. They were basically all of my favorite things rolled into one dozen cookies. Next I got some Chocolate Meringues from Diana at Life off the Clock. So light and airy! You can eat half a dozen at a time, right? Last (but not least duh) I got some Red Velvet Peppermint cookies from Carrie at Diet Deep Dish. They taste like Christmas and look like it too!

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For my three dozen, I went with Joy the Baker’s Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies. Who doesn’t love an abundance of sprinkles?!

Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies

Makes about 4 dozen cookies 

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
1+ cup sprinkles (Jimmies work best I think)

Directions

  1.  Whisk together your flour, baking powder and soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cream together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Don’t get impatient here. Give the mixer a few minutes to get everything incorporated and fluffed.
  3. Split your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds from the pod into the butter mixture. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  4. Slowly add your dry ingredients with the mixer on low. Mix until just combined.
  5. Your dough is going to be pretty hefty, so it’s best to mix in the sprinkles by hand. Add 1/2 cup of sprinkles to the dough and combine with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  6. Place remaining jimmies in a bowl. Then scoop out a heaping tablespoon of dough, form into a ball, roll in the sprinkles, and place on a plate. Repeat until all the dough is gone. I found it best to create layers on the plate with parchment in between when the plate got full. Mostly because my fridge is too full of leftovers and alcohol to fit more than one plate in there. Normal things.
  7.  Cover the dough and let it chill in the fridge for at least two hours. 
  8. When your dough is good and chilled out, preheat your oven to 350°F. Line your baking sheets with parchment.
  9. Place cookies about 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Watch them pretty carefully. You want the cookies to still be pretty soft and puffy in the center when you take them out. The edges will be just barely set.
  10. Let cool on the baking sheet for about five minutes. Then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

As always, Hannah and I are so pumped we got to be a part of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap this year. It’s such a blast and raises money for such a good cause. Get into it!

Thanks for reading and happy baking/Bake with love!!

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