Here are the packaged Red Velvet Cake Balls (as promised). . .
After my disastrous bout with the flu last week . . . I will never again eat Red Velvet . It was the last thing I ate before three days on hugging my toilet. Hmmm . . . I hope it wasn’t the cake balls! Just kidding . . . I know it wasn’t . . . but unfortunately, the thought of Red Velvet and cream cheese has my gag reflex working overtime. Such a sad day.
There were moments leading up to Saturday’s cookie exchange when I thought I wouldn’t make it . . . but, I managed to pull through. Two days of couching it and eating nothing but chicken soup had me ready to get out!
This is a food and health blog! Move on already.
Yes. On to the Christmas cookie exchange . . . a big hug to Gretchen for hosting us in her beautiful new house and thanks ladies for bringing such delicious treats. Everyone clearly put in lots of effort (no packaged dough was to be seen anywhere . . . there are rules to exchanges after all).
The goodies were put on the table with care . . .
in hopes to be eaten, unwrapped in the air. Sorry, the Christmas spirit overtook me there for a minute.
Now for the cookies and recipes!
Cookie Connoisseur Cassandra with Snappy Turtle Cookies
(Recipe adapted from Pillsbury.com)
Peanut Butter Princess Carol with Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares
1/2 cup butter
1 package butterscotch chips
1 package peanut butter chips
1 cup of crunchy peanut butter
1 bag of mini coloured marshmallows
1. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add chips and stir until melted. Add peanut butter and continue to stir.
2. Remove from heat and add marshmallows.
3. Press into 9×13 pan. Let cool . . . slice and enjoy.
Savory Savvy Patti with Cheddar and Rosemary Shortbread
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups aged white cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
In a bowl, beat butter until smooth. In a separate bowl, toss together cheese, flour, rosemary, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir flour mixture into butter, mixing until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into a log about 9″ long, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Preheat over to 325 F. Slice the log into 1/4″ rounds and place 2″ apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake on the middle rack of the over until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges, about 15-20 minutes. Cool fully and if desired, serve with red pepper jelly.
Biscotti Bella dipping Christmas Biscotti
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs, fork beaten
1 cup Christmas Smarties (or other red and green candies), chopped in food processor
Combine flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Add eggs. Mix until stiff dough forms. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 8 inch (20 cm) rolls, about 2 1/4 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake in 350 F oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown and crusty. Remove from oven. Let stand on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Remove to cutting board. Cut on diagonal with serrated knife into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange in single layer, cut-side up, on same baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes until dry and browned on bottom. Makes about 2 dozen biscotti. Don’t be afraid to change it up by adding your favourite dried fruit, nuts or even chocolate.
Timid Tanya with Basic Shortbread Wedges
2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup of confectioners’ or granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Butter an 8 1/2″ cake or springform pan; set aside. Sift together flour and salt in a small bowl; set aside. Place butter in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Cream until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar, and continue to beat until very light in color and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, about 2 min- utes more. Add vanilla, if using. Add flour mixture, and combine on low speed. scraping with spatula if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with fingers.
Pat dough into prepared pan. If rolling out dough to cut into shapes, form into a flat disk; wrap in plastic. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
Heat oven to 325~ Bake until firm and just starting to color, about 50 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack before packaging. Will keep 3 to 4 weeks in an airtight container.
Glorious Gretchen with Thimble Cookies
Gretchen says: “When asked to complete a cookie exchange I knew I wanted to make Thimble Cookies as I can’t remember a Christmas without them, they were always a part of my childhood baking memory. I even remember the picture in the recipe book! This recipe comes from The Purity Cookbook which was first published in 1967 and is still a family favourite for tried and true recipes. Enjoy!”
Preheat oven to 350′
1. Cream Together
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 well-beaten egg yolk (reserve the egg white)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
Combine until well blended
4. Shape dough into 1′ balls.
5. Dip ball in
1 slightly-beaten egg wash
6. Then roll in
About 1 cup finely chopped nuts
7. Place on greased baking sheets and make a fairly deep indentation in the centre of each cookie.
8. Bake in preheated oven (350′) for 5 minutes adn then quickly indent the centres a second time.
9. Bake for another 5-6 min. or until cookies are just set.
10. Fill warm cookies with brightly colour jam of your choice…our family favourite is raspberry.
- makes 2 doz. cookies, doubles well, freezes well
Luscious Lisa with Orange Granola.
1/4 cup liquid honey
2 tbsp frozen concentrated orange juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp canola oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp grated orange zest (optional)
1/2 cup large flake rolled oats
1/2 cup finely chapped dried apricot
1/4 cup medium sweetened coconut
1/4 sliced natural almonds
Preheat oven 375 F. Combine first 6 ingredients in small dish. Reserve 2 tbsp in small cup. Set aside.
Put oats into medium bowl. Drizzle remaining honey mixture over top. Stir until coated. Spread evenly on greased baking sheet with sides. Bake for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to crisp and lightly brown.
Meanwhile, combine remaining 3 ingredients in small bowl. Drizzle reserved honey mixture over top. Stir until coated. Add to oat mixer. Stir. Bake for 4-6 minutes until crisp and golden. Transfer to baking sheet to wire rack to cool. Makes about 4 cups. Serves 8.
Thanks again ladies for the great night out! There are only 363 days until next year’s exchange!
Advice for Hosting or Participating in a Cookie Exchange:
- make a 1/2 dozen per person . . . does anyone really ever need 8 dozen cookies? Umm, perhaps not.
- have participants bring an extra half dozen for sampling during the evening (I found this helped my desire to rip into every single package and taste every cookie the second I got to my car . . . slightly)
- have participants bring an extra half dozen each to donate to a local shelter. These people need cookies too!
- have a variety of beverages (alcoholic and non) available for guests. We had mulled cider, and wine for ours (and Gingerale for me!).
- Provide a large bag or box for guests to bring their cookies home in, so they’re not struggling down your steps . . . after drinking too much vino . . . trying to find their way home. At least if they fall over in a snowbank, they will have enough cookies to get them through the night.
- have lots of appies! Everyone loves finger food.
- have fun with your cookie! Make sure you aren’t being too adventurous, after all, even if you’re only doing a half dozen per person, that is still A LOT of cookies (ya . . . 77 cake balls!) This is the chance to do something a little extra . . . a cookie exchange is no place for chocolate chip cookies or any other you would find in a lunch box!
- have fun!
Do you have any tips/ideas/advice for cookie exchanges? I would love to hear from you.