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Posts Tagged ‘cookie exchange’

by Caitlin Saniga and Sarah Steimer

Included in the box Caitlin sent Sarah were mocha chocolate chip cookies, rosemary shortbread cookies, a couple of sticks of peppermint mocha biscotti (recipe here) and orange-almond biscotti (recipe here).

Included in the box Caitlin sent Sarah were mocha chocolate chip cookies, rosemary shortbread cookies, a couple of sticks of peppermint mocha biscotti (recipe here) and orange-almond biscotti (recipe here).

We love making cookies for the holidays and sharing photos and recipes of them on the blog (most notable was our 2010 Holiday Dozen guide). We often email or text each other to rave about how good the other’s photos look, or to say how good our own cookies tasted. On a few very rare occasions, we’ve been able to try each other’s creations. This year, we decided to send cookies directly to one another so we didn’t have to be too jealous when the pictures and recipes hit the Web! 

Below are the recipes for the cookies Caitlin sent to Sarah this year. She got sick before she could finish a third batch, which would have been some sort of crunchy pignoli cookie. Oh, well! There’s always next year, right?

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Rosemary shortbread cookies

Caitlin: I had just inherited a robust rosemary plant from a family friend, so I was ecstatic when I found this cookie recipe that included the herb. The flavor intensifies over time for this cookie. Delicious!
Sarah: I fully expected the mocha chocolate cookies to be my favorite — for obvious reasons — but these ended up being my top pick. The cookie is flaky without being dry, and there is literally just the right amount of rosemary in it.

Rosemary shortbread cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar for decoration
Rosemary shortbread cookies

Caitlin:  I haven’t tried this trick yet, but I’ve heard that you can save time by rolling out cookie dough between sheets of wax paper or parchment and placing it on a baking sheet before sticking it in the fridge to chill. I’ll definitely be trying this the next time I make cutouts!

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 2/3 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour, salt and rosemary until well blended. The dough will be somewhat soft. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Use small cookie cutters to make cutouts. Place cookies 1 inch apart on the lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the tops.

Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden at the edges. Cool on wire racks, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from: AllRecipes.com

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Mocha chocolate chip cookies

  • 2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground espresso
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Mocha chocolate chip cookies

Caitlin: I wonder if Sarah realized there was a sparkle of cayenne in this recipe. I added a few heavy shakes at the last minute.
Sarah: Again with the great texture! Chewy and crispy in all the right spots.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time, mixing after each addition to make sure they are well combined.

In a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cayenne and ground espresso.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix everything until the ingredients are fully combined, but do not overbeat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in chocolate chips.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a teaspoon, drop rounded balls of dough on the sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Recipe adapted from: Food 52

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So one of the best things Caitlin sent was actually a baggie of Chex mix. One night in college while we decorated and made cards for Christmas, Caitlin made a big batch of the mix and I probably ate almost all of it. She also sent along a recipe book on seasonal pies and a French baguette-scented candle. I could have happily curled up in this box. Too bad she fattened me up with those biscotti before I even had a chance to try.

Sarah: So one of the best things Caitlin sent was actually a baggie of Chex mix. One night in college while we decorated and made cards for Christmas, Caitlin made a big batch of the mix and I probably ate almost all of it. She also sent along a recipe book on seasonal pies and a French baguette-scented candle. I could have happily curled up in this box. Too bad she fattened me up with those biscotti before I even had a chance to try. Rude.

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by Sarah Steimer and Caitlin Saniga

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Sarah’s package of cookies to Caitlin included cranberry-pecan shortbreads, apple slice cookies (below the shortbreads, wrapped up), gingerbread anise biscotti (recipe here) and peppermint-chocolate swirl cookies. Sarah also included a few chocolate-covered pretzels (another recipe we posted in the past).

We love making cookies for the holidays and sharing photos and recipes of them on the blog (most notable was our 2010 Holiday Dozen guide). We often email or text each other to rave about how good the other’s photos look, or to say how good our own cookies tasted. On a few very rare occasions, we’ve been able to try each other’s creations. This year, we decided to send cookies directly to one another so we didn’t have to be too jealous when the pictures and recipes hit the Web! 

Below are the recipes for the cookies Sarah sent to Caitlin this year:

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Cranberry-pecan shortbreads

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Sarah: These cookies freeze incredibly well — and they’re the first ones I made this season, so how well they stored was very important.
Caitlin: I enjoyed the toasty, earthy flavors of these cookies. I can picture using raisins and walnuts instead of cranberries and pecans as alternative.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk (I used skim)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the milk and vanilla, mixing until just combined.

Gradually add the flour, salt, cranberries and pecans. Continue to mix until everything is well combined.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces on a clean workspace. Roll each piece into an 8-inch log, and wrap each log in wax paper. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about two hours.

When ready, use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices. Place the disks on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake at 375 degrees until the edges are golden, about 14-16 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through.

Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

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Apple slice cookies

  • 7 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon light cream (as a substitute, I used 1 tablespoon skim milk and added about a 1/2 tablespoon extra butter)
  • 1/3 cup thick applesauce
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Sarah: The cookbook I found this recipe in said it “won an award in 1945,” but gave no details as to why or how. If you’re looking for a mysterious, World War II-era fan favorite, look no further.
Caitlin: I loved these because they remind me of something my Baboo would have made. They’re slightly sweet and not too rich. Delicious!

Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the flour and cream (or substitute), mixing well.

Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll each out to 12-inch logs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Use your finger to make a deep indentation (although all the way to the sheet pan) down the center of each log length. Fill the indentation with the applesauce – you may not use all the applesauce.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookie itself begins to turn golden. The cookies will still feel relatively soft when you remove them from the oven and have flattened out a bit.

While still warm, cut the cookies into 3/4-inch-wide diagonal slices. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Recipe adapted from: Swedish Cakes and Cookies

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Peppermint-chocolate swirl cookies

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk

    Sarah: I love the little flecks of candy in these cookies — but there's a heck of a lot of steps involved in making these.Caitlin:

    Sarah: I love the little flecks of candy in these cookies — but there are a heck of a lot of steps involved in making these.
    Caitlin: I opened the box, and my jaw dropped at the sight of these pinwheels. How pretty! They look and taste perfect.

  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes (use Caitlin’s advice and grab the little candy canes, they’re way easier to crush)

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and milk. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Divide the dough in half and refrigerate, wrapped in plastic wrap or wax paper, for about two hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature to soften a bit.

Place one half of the dough in a bowl and add the chocolate and vanilla extract. Using your hands, combine the mixture well until the chocolate has been fully incorporated into the dough.

In a separate bowl, combine the second dough half with the egg yolk, peppermint extract and the crushed candy canes. Combine with your hands once again until the candy is well distributed throughout the dough.

Chill both of the doughs in the refrigerator for five minutes. Roll each half out on a clean surface over a sheet of wax paper. Each half should be rolled out to about a 1/4-inch thickness and about the same shape.

Place the sheet of peppermint dough on top of the chocolate dough, removing the peppermint’s wax paper. Press the edges of the dough together. Using the wax paper underneath, roll the dough into a log (working length-wise).

Wrap the log in wax paper and refrigerate for another two hours. Cut the cookies into slices a little thinner than a half inch-thick. Arrange about 1-inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-13 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through. Remove from the oven and let sit on the pan for about 2 minutes before letting fully cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Recipe adapted from: Alton Brown via the Food Network

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xxx

Caitlin: I was so impressed with Sarah’s cookies! Each variety looked and tasted perfect even after a trip in the mail. And cookies weren’t the only thing I found in my package of goodies. She snuck a few Christmas presents into the box as well, including this Scrabble letters tray with a customized nod to the blog. She also sent a pretty blue and white bowl and a gorgeous bird-themed tea towel — both of which you’re likely to see in blog photos sometime soon.

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