Have you ever been to a cookie exchange?
I attended a cookie exchange a little over a week ago and I was a bit nervous. My baking skills are just adequate so I don’t go out of my way to bake when there are so many great bakeries in the city. Also, I’ve realized that I don’t enjoy the constraints of a recipe and for baking you have to be exact. I prefer cooking. I can throw in a bit of this and tweak it with a bit of that.
My friend Mona was kind enough to organize 24 women and we each brought five dozen cookies and a large container for collecting cookies. Each person went around and shared 2 cookies with each person and any extras were left for for the end for those who wanted more a specific cookie or we could just eat them. Recipes for the cookies were also sent to the organizer to email out to everyone.
I was impressed by the different types of cookies – some I’ve never even heard of like Marscapone Truffles and Chocolate Crinkles! Maybe I just need to get out more.
I came home with all of these fabulous cookies and it was a challenge not to eat them all right away. I was tempted to take a bite from each one so I can taste them all but I did restrain myself until I got home. I closed my eyes and stuck my hand in the container and ate five cookies – one right after the other. This is why I only have dessert on special occasions because I find it difficult to control myself.
Getting back on topic, can you guess which I cookie I baked?
The recipe I chose to bake was from my friend Dawn who has the touch. She cooks and bakes and does both well! The recipe was straightforward but its the little things that I didn’t pay attention to that made this simple recipe a stressor for me. For instance, taking the butter out of the fridge when you are ready to start baking does not translate into softened butter. Doh! Also, having one baking pan makes the process a lot longer when you have to wait for the pan to cool and then put in the next batch. I won’t tell you how long it took for me to bake five dozen cookies but I managed.
Fast forward to last night, I attended my second and final exchange for the season. This time I was more prepared. I took the butter out to soften in advance and had more than one baking pan to use. I shaved off hours from my previous attempt and the experience was positive enough for me to want to try baking for fun rather than under pressure. Whew! For last night’s exchange that was hosted by Connie, each person baked seven dozen cookies and distributed them by the dozen into holiday themed boxes, tins or ziploc bags (that can be found at the Dollar Store) for each guest.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that none of the cookies at this exchange appeared at the previous one. What I loved the most about attending both events was that it was nice to get together and catch up with friends and make new ones. Okay there were wine some lovely wines and food involved as well that just enhanced both soirees. On the plus side, I don’t need to shop for any sweets this holiday season as there will be plenty for my entertaining.
So… can you tell what cookie I baked?
If you haven’t figured it out yet, here is the recipe that I used:
Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Cookie
1 cup softened unsalted butter
2/3 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup dried cranberries (chopped)
1/2 cup pecans (roasted and chopped)
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, cornstarch and salt.
Add dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture.
Add cranberries and pecans.
Using a tablespoon, drop cookies on baking sheet and flatten with back side of spoon.
Bake in a preheated 350 C oven for 12-15 minutes or until very lightly browned.
I love eating shortbread and this cookie is simple to make and really good to eat.
Did you attend a cookie exchange this year? Tell me what cookie you think should be on the list for the holidays.