If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I absolutely LOVE making appetizers, hence the weekly series – Friday Night Bites was born. Next to appetizers, is making cookies. They are a one to three bite delight that simply makes your mouth sing and puts a smile on anyone’s face. With my love of cookies, I was elated to learn that the 4th annual “Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap2014” was taking place. I immediately got signed up and anxiously waited for my three matches to arrive in my email. The next question was – what type of cookie would I send this year. Here is what I sent in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
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Several weeks ago, I attended my monthly book club dinner. Each month or so, we alternate houses and the host will make dinner and dessert for everyone while we discuss the book. Yes, we really do discuss the book. Smile. In fact, we read Gone Girl several years ago and now it is a movie and we also read Unbroken, which is coming soon to a theater near you. By the way, I loved Unbroken and would highly recommend reading prior to the movie arriving. With the last book club, our host Alex made the most divine Cranberry and Orange Shortbread Cookies. They simply screamed holiday and I almost could not stop eating them – they were that good. I knew – that would be my cookie for this years swap. Like Alex, I substituted the dried cranberry for fresh and kicked up the orange zest. The original recipe can be found here.
Here is the package that I sent to my three matches - Dianna from The Kitchen Prep, Kristen from Bourbon and Honey and Kaylin from Keep It Simple Sweetie
I was excited to receive my first dozen cookies and they were a divine Tangerine Butter Cookie from Matthew at Plating Pixels. He actually is another Bay Area blogger and his cookies simply melted in your mouth. Next to arrive at my office was a dozen darling little Iced Gingerbread Men from Kimberly at Bake Love Give. Kimberly actually lives in my very own city – what cool thing to meet a neighbor blogger virtually. These little gingerbread were incredibly tasty and looked like they came from a professional bakery. Last but not least, was a dozen Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies from Megan at The Housewife in Training Files. They were light and tasty bites of goodness. My office absolutely devoured them.
Each year Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen host the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. They create a lot of buzz and fun along with raising money for a great cause. This year they partnered with Cookies for Kid’s Cancer which is a non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer. Last year they were highlighted in the online magazine from Heidi from Foodiecrush. In fact, I had my very own HolidayCheckerboard Cookies highlighted in the magazine.
There were almost 700 participants in this years cookie swap. Check out Lindsey and Julie’s blogs in the next several days to see links to ALL of the recipes. Happy Holidays Everyone!
Orange Shortbread Cookies
Makes 4 dozen
2 Sticks butter, room temperature (1 Cup)
½ Cup + 4 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
3 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Grated
½ Cup Fresh Cranberries, chopped well (Can use dried cranberries instead)
2 Cup Flour
¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
2 pinches of salt
In a stand mixer, cream the butter well until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar slowly until incorporated. Add the vanilla, orange zest and salt and mix well. Add the flour and baking powder slowly until well incorporated. Slowly add the fresh cranberries and mix quickly.
Form dough into 2 logs, about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap or parchment paper. Slice ½ inch rounds and space about 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake until pale golden brown, about 12 minutes and let cool. Store in an airtight container.