Food bloggers and cookie cravers, start your egg beaters… it’s time for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap once again!
Hot Pink Apron has proudly been involved with The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap since it launched three years ago. Hosted by Lindsey of Love & Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen, this is a great cause to raise funds for the Cookies For Kids’ Cancer Foundation and an excellent opportunity to really connect with other active food bloggers. Plus, receiving scrumptious holiday cookies in your mailbox is SO MUCH BETTER than the usual bills.
Now, this has been a very productive year in the land of Hot Pink Aprons – new contributors, new format, nearly one hundred new recipes. For this cookie swap, I thought I’d apply some of the great blogging lesson I’ve learned from it all and skip my usual habit of frantically flipping through cookbooks, hunting for the perfect inspiration to create a simple – yet sophisticated – creative – yet traditional holiday cookie recipe.
Lesson 1: Be yourself. Write what you know.
Sticking to what I know (and do) very well, I thought I would holid-ize my very best chocolate chip cookie recipe by replacing the chocolate chips with every white and dark chocolate peppermint-flavoured thing I could find at my local bulk store. What was intended to be a simple recipe adaptation, quickly turned into a series of life/blogging lessons I will not soon forget.
Lesson 2: Always have a back up plan.
My first round of cookies was a total flop. The butter must have been too cold because the mix was so crumbly. This totally shook my baker core. This was my GO TO chocolate chip cookie recipe, from which I have probably baked about 500 AMAZING cookies from. Why didn’t it come together this time?! I forced the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and baked them for 10 minutes. Once cooled, they were still awful. Imagine biting into a dry chocolate chip cookie seconds after brushing your teeth. *blech*
Lesson 3: Don’t put all your eggs in one
I whipped the butter for an additional three minutes on my second batch of cookies. With some added pecans (to give the mind a more familiar peppermint crunch with that strong minty flavour), the second batch was much better than the first. One dozen down, two more to go — but I had no more eggs. I left the dozen decent cookies resting on a cooling rack and bolted out the door. I’d only be a few minutes so didn’t see the point of waking our new rescue dog, Bowie, to move him to his crate. He looked so sweet and peaceful curled up on the carpet in the living room.
Lesson 4: The dog will eat anything/everything.
Ya, he ate the cookies. Ate them all. There wasn’t a shred of evidence left, not a single crumb. When I walked through the door, he just looked at me with those big innocent eyes, as if to say, “Were those cookies NOT for me??”
I started to panic. The deadline to ship my Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap cookies was the following day and I had NO COOKIES. Worse yet, I still didn’t have a clear idea about the recipe I was trying to create and my time was up. My dedicated afternoon to bake was over, it was time to pick up my kids from the school bus, and I had nothing to show from it.
I arrived to the bus stop disappointed and ready to whine to anyone willing to listen. Deanne, neighbour, friend, fellow mom and cookie fan, offered me a solution — she called them Kris Kringle Cookies. Praising this recipe as one that “never lets her down and always has people begging for more”, I was convinced that I needed to abandon my solo efforts and put my trust in her holiday ideas.
Lesson 5: Embrace community.
Because cooking, baking and food blogging is as much about sharing experiences and making connections as it is about the final (delicious) outcome.
These cookies are outstanding. The Kris Kringle Cookie concept is very similar to what I was attempting to create with my adapted chocolate chip cookie recipe but instead of bold peppermint chocolates it is jam packed with chunks of white chocolate, dried cranberries and plenty of crunch from a combination of chopped almonds and pecans. Thanks to Deanne I was able to effortlessly bake up a few dozen cookies that night and make my shipping deadline the following day. Of course, rewarding my mouth with many cookies along the way.
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar (I like the richness of dark)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 18 ounces of white chocolate, chopped (That’s 2 packages (6 squares each) of Baker’s White Chocolate, chopped)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts and/or almonds (Combine to your own likes)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter and both sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla; beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. With the mixer on low, add the flour and mix just until incorporated. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl again.
- Using a sturdy wooden spoon, stir in the chopped white chocolate, dried cranberries and chopped nuts of choice.
- Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto lightly greased baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely on wire racks before diving into.
- Store in tightly covered container in the refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for a month.
A BIG congratulations to the coordinators of The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap for raising over $13 000 towards a very worthy cause. And applause all around for Planet Byn‘s incredible Brown Butter Bourbon Spice Cookies with Bourbon Caramel Filling, to Olive & Ruby for the classic Raspberry Sugar Cookies, and to The Bold Baker for her Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Cornflake Crunch & Marshmallow Gooeyness. They were all exceptional — this holiday season is off to a delectable start!Add to favorites