So this post is an extra-special one, because it’s for the annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. This is my third year participating in the event and it gets better every year. More bloggers, more recipes, more fun! I also love the timing of the event – right around the holidays – which is always when I want to start trying out new recipes because I have lots of chances to try out new experiments on friends + family.
The cookie swap which is organized by two of my favorite bloggers – Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen – partners with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer – a national non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer. Baking cookies for a good cause? That’s a no brainer to me.
The past two years I have done peppermint-flavored cookie experiments for the food swap – Peppermint Doodles in 2012 and Peppermint Dipped Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies in 2013. This year I wanted to channel the holidays but figured I needed to branch out from my peppermint go-to flavor. I’ve made a few molasses cookies in the past that no matter what time of year it is taste like Christmas in a cookie. So while I usually feel very comfortable doing some major experimenting in the cookie world – I haven’t baked enough with molasses to know how to tweak and trick it out in cookie form yet. And given my limited time with this new job lately, I figured I’d mitigate the risk by perusing some of my favorite food blogs to see what different molasses cookies they’ve made. And I stumbled upon these Soft Batch Gingersnaps by The Picky Palate. They looked easy and delicious, which is exactly what I was going for. The only modification I made was adding in some vanilla extract because that’s just a must-have ingredient in all of my recipes.
- 1 stick butter
- 1/4 cup softened or melted coconut oil
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar for rolling
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brown the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remember to always whisk and after it gets all frothy and turns amber in color, remove from the heat and transfer to a separate bowl to let it cool.
Oh yes. Served warm fresh from the oven or chilled later on, these are Christmas in a cookie. One bite and you’ll be fa la la’ing and ho ho ho’ing it up (in a classy way, of course). Even more delicious when you know these are benefitting a good cause! I already made these a second time this season for my holiday party. I have some ideas on how to really leverage this sweetness with maybe some cinnamon ice cream in between two of these for a little holly jolly ginger ice cream sandwich? Hey, watch it. You’re drooling.
So I shipped these bad boys out the week of Thanksgiving. Thanks to my handy-dandy Momma who was able to help me with the shipping of these because the whole Monday morning flying out commute has made some of these regular errands challenging. So when I took the train to CT that weekend before Thanksgiving I dropped these with my mom and she made sure they were shipped out the next day. What a lady.
The three food bloggers I shipped mine to were:
- Rhubarb and Honey (Missouri) http://rhubarbandhoney.com/
- Cafe Carol (Virginia) http://www.cafecarol.com
- Spoonful of Flavor (Florida) http://www.spoonfulofflavor.com
And you know what is even more fun than gifting cookies across the country? Receiving goodies from other food bloggers! I received all three of my packages over the past few weeks, which made it fun coming home at the end of every work week to a delicious package.
The first package that arrived was from Linda at The Orange Bee. These Orange + Pecan Biscotti were so delicious and refreshing, and she even sent a nice bag of tea to enjoy them with. They came just in time for my Friendsgiving in November so I brought them to share with some of my friends who all enjoyed them as well.
My next package to arrive about a week later was from Ausra at Vaikai ir Vanile. Her blog is written in Lithuanian so I spent some time with Google Translate learning about her. Vaikai ir Vanile means Children and Vanilla. And while I cannot relate on the kids front, she had me at Vanilla. My favorite ingredient in all of my recipes. She sent me these DELICIOUS Tangerine Olive Oil Cookies, which at first I was skeptical in using olive oil as a main ingredient in cookies, but now I’m a believer (Not a trace of doubt in my mind, ba da ba dum).
And my final package arrived last week, after a longggg work week in Philadelphia I was REALLY excited to get these Champagne Sugar Cookies from Coder’s Kitchen. Champagne, Cookies, Technology. Yeah I think Sarah from Coder’s Kitchen and I could be friends for sure.
So that’s it! Another successful and fun cookie swap. I’m already looking forward to next year. And later in the week, all of the submissions from ALL the food bloggers will be posted. I’ll be sure to share that link on my Insta or Twittah so you can check out all the great recipes.
Since I was late with my post last week, not too much to catch you up on this week. Also I’m writing this post on Sunday, but posting it on Monday (per the FBCookieSwap rules) so I’m not that tired, I know what day today is … I think. Just go with it. I was pretty exhausted at the end of this travel week. I’ve continued to lose faith in the human race after dealing with twice a week airplane commutes. Honestly, the way people behave at airports and on airplanes just blows my mind. So Friday night I reconnected with the gym, my couch, my DVR and sweatpants and a long overdue goodnight sleep. Saturday was a great day because I got a bunch of errands done in the morning, and then the long-awaited reunion of the Young Gunz on the tennis courts of the Boston Athletic Club finally arrived. Last year Caitlan and I met during practice after being new joiners to our gym’s tennis team. I used to be a singles player but one practice ended up playing with her and someone said “you guys would be good as a doubles team.” And we were both like “meh, sure why not?” Little did we know that we actually already knew eachother. I was working as a consultant for my client’s Russia and China ecommerce sites … which Caitlan happened to work on the global ecommerce team. So after exchanging business cards to get eachothers phone numbers so we could practice together we had one of those Tia + Tamara Sistah Sistah moments where we were like wait … you’re BECCA from the phone? get outta here … YOU’RE CAITLAN? And the rest is history. We dominated soccer moms across the greater Boston area earning us the nickname “Young Gunz”. This year we both have been traveling a lot for work so the timing hasn’t worked out for us to reunite the dynamic duo. Until Saturday. When we won our match and our opponents thought we were 24. (For the record, we are not 24 but we are VERY happy to be mistaken for 24 year olds). So we celebrated our victory on the dance floors of The Brahmin last night, and then I sweated out that vodka unpleasantly at the gym this morning.
If you live in the Boston area, and you ever want to try out a fabulous day spa I have to recommend Christine’s Day Spa in Newton Center. I’ve been going there for over 8 years and it’s the most relaxing and enjoyable experience ever. When you need a little “me” time (which for me lately seems to be in high demand) there is no place I can get relaxed quite like Christines. They have great email specials, and this morning when I was thinking how gross my airplane dehydrated skin was feeling, an email popped into my inbox for a Sunday facial special. So I headed over to Newton this afternoon, got my skin hydrated, then got a nice manicure next door at Miniluxe. And then picked up my little mini-me Sammi to experience Shake Shack for the first time. I used to babysit Sammi when I was in college and she was 9. Now she’s 20. Which means I am old. But I still can take her out to eat carby food just like I did when she was a little nugget. Don’t worry, that Diet Coke on the left totally negated the strawberry shake, burgers and fries. Most times I think she just validates how uncool I am, but I felt a little cool today when we were eating our burgers and fries and she told me she doesn’t know how people like me do it. I said, do what? She said “You just get shit done. Every damn day.” She has a point.
I think I need to get that printed on a business card. Becca Shaw “I get shit done. Every damn day.”