Monday, December 13, 2010

Buttercream Sandwich Cookie



What do the holidays mean to you? This can be a simple or complex answer depending on your own personal experiences.

To me, the holidays are magical. The air has a certain mystique all around. Whether it is the scent of pine or cinnamon, or fresh baked holiday cookie or roast beef with fresh popovers baking in the oven, the scents to me are enchanting. Often either particular scents or songs will transport you right back to a time in your life. Not quite sure why it is such a common phenomenon.

















There is a radio station in the Bay Area that begins to play all of the cherished holiday songs round the clock during Thanksgiving Day weekend. My husband and I completely enjoy listening and the music certainly enhances the holiday season. Along with the music, baking cookies is synonymous with the Holiday Season. This tradition is fervently anticipated by avid bakers around the world. The only negative, is the immense amount of time it takes to make an abundance of assorted cookies. The solution to this daunting task is to host a Holiday Cookie Exchange with friends and family.



















When hosting a cookie exchange party, you invite friends and family who share the same passion for baking cookies. "Cookie" is a loose term for the exchange since you can include confections and other festive sweets to create variety. English toffee, fudge, divinity and bark are all delicious additions to the cookie exchange.




















Holiday Cookie Exchange Tips

Plan ahead! Set the date at least 4 weeks prior to prevent last-minute cancellations. Send traditional invitations or use Evite. Note on the invitation to bring plastic storage bags or containers to transport cookies back home.

Decide on how many dozen cookies you will ask each guest to bring, plus a dozen for the party. In addition, ask each guest to call or email you with their cookie choice, so there are not repeats. Two dozen is a good benchmark number to consider.

Request that each person bring copies of their recipe to share with all of the attendees. Provide folders with each guests name on the front as a nice touch for them to put the recipes. You can decorate in a holiday theme or with a photo of the cookie each person brought. Use a Polaroid camera to take a photo before they leave and adhere with photo corners on the outside of the folder.

























Prepare a large table or kitchen island for everyone to set out their cookies. Spread a festive cloth on the table and decorate with your favorite holiday items. Provide a festive plate on the table for each guest to place their contributions. Place an extra platter on the table for the cookies that will be enjoyed during the party.

Create a festive holiday play list from i-tunes and play throughout the gathering.

A cookie exchange can be held any time of the day. Mornings or evenings are a wonderful time during the holiday season. Your guests will have the remainder of the day for other holiday activities such as shopping, wrapping, their own decorating, or other parties.

Plan to serve refreshments that can be prepared in advance and merely reheated at the party. You want to focus on your guests and keeping the exchange flowing. A simple brunch in the morning is perfect and assorted appetizers for an evening event.




















Serve at least one holiday beverage such as egg nog or hot mulled cider along with coffee, tea, juices and, of course, milk. Evening events could include a signature holiday cocktail or wine. Try a Pomegranate Martini!

Come prepared with several containers to transport your treasured treats home.  The re-usable plastic containers by Glad or Ziplock are just perfect.  Light and easy to use.

A Twist: If you are going to have a small group (less than 6), you can have a cooking baking day. A true extravaganza! If everyone is enjoys the art of baking, chatting and spending time together, this is a terrific way to do a cookie exchange. Each person brings 2 to 3 different prepared cookie doughs. Make sure you have enough cookie sheets or ask your guests to bring extras. Ask your guests to bring anything special needed for baking or prepping, to ensure a smooth day. I suggest starting at 9am in the morning, since this will be an all day affair. Once the cookies are baked, divide among the participants!

The butter cream sandwich cookie is a perfect addition to your holiday cookie exchange. It is simple to make, has just a few ingredients and will impress with its beauty and decadent flavor.

Butter Cream Sandwich Cookie
(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

Cookie:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 t. Vanilla
½ t. Salt
Decorating sugar

Filling:

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
Food color

Directions:

In medium bowl, mix flour, 1 cup butter and the whipping cream. Divide dough into thirds and wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm.

Heat oven to 375º degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. On a lightly floured surface, roll one-third of dough at a time 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured surface. (Keep remaining dough refrigerated until ready to roll.) Cut into desired shapes with 1 1/2-inch cookie cutters. Sprinkle each one with decorator sugar. Place on prepared baking sheet. Prick each cutout with fork about 4 times.

Bake 7 to 9 minutes or just until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

To make cream filling, mix powdered sugar, butter, and extract until smooth. Add food coloring if desired. Spread with a knife on the cookie or transfer filling to a disposable decorating bag attached with a decorating tip. Pipe filling between bottoms of pairs of cookies.







15 comments:

  1. Beautiful festive Christmas cookies! I love your cookie exchange party tips. Last year I hosted a cookie baking clinic:) This year I'll be lucky if I have time to bake a few of my favorites. You've inspired me to get out the apron, flour, butter, eggs, sugar and get to work!

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  2. I just loved the feel of this post; it screams Christmas! The holiday season is indeed such a special time of year. Thanks for the great tips on the cookie exchange. I've never participated in one so this info is especially helpful. And I love your buttercream sandwich cookies. Gorgeous photos!

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  3. These are some great tips! I hope to host a party myself next year. This year I was fortunate enough to be invited to a cookie baking party. It was so much fun! Btw I love your cookies they look so festive!

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  4. I love cookie exchanges, especially if you host. The reason? People always leave with fewer cookies than they bring, leaving you with tons of cookies!

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  5. Cute as heck. I love the red filling...and of course the sprinkles. ;)

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  6. These cookies look so good and festive! Whoever's going to receive them is going to be very happy!

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  7. i love how festive this cookie looks!! thanks for sharing this.

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  8. These cookies look fantastic! I've always wanted to host a cookie exchange and have never given myself enough time to do it. Hopefully next year I can plan ahead! Thanks for the tips!

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  9. You are a great event organizer and hostess...I already knew that but you just confirmed this with this post! And, you know, you also bake super yummy cookies. I love this ones...they are indeed very festive!

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  10. Those cookies are just so cute! I especially love the first photo of them stacked. I can't resist cookies with buttercream frosting!
    What a fun idea to have a cookie exchange. :)

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  11. Summed up the season in one post. The cookies look great and the exchange tips should help anyone who is dipping in for the first time.

    Jason

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  12. These are GORGEOUS and perfect for a cookie swap!

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  13. These are some lovely, festive cookies! I'd gladly take a batch of them with a side of buttercream to dip them in :-)

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  14. Absolutely delightful! These are so perfect for the Holidays, really gorgeous :)

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