Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012 and Ginger Molasses Cookies

As you may or may not know, during The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, you send cookies to three random food bloggers, and receive cookies from three random food bloggers. Fun, right?

I didn’t think that this year’s cookie swap could top last year’s, and I hate to make it seem like I’m playing favorites, but I am. This year’s batch was both creative and delicious, and appealed to two of my addictions: chipotle and toffee. How can you top that? I’m sorry, you can’t.

My cookies, packed and ready to go

My cookies, packed and ready to go

I sent Ginger Molasses Cookies to Madeline of Munching in the Mitten, Kasha of The FarmGirl Cooks, and Alissa of Sweet Tea and Sunshine. I hope you ladies enjoyed!

Ginger Molasses Cookies
Adapted from AllRecipes

  • 2.25 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tbsp white sugar, for rolling
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (if possible), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, then stir in water and molasses.
  3. Slowly begin to add the dry ingredients. Continue to add and mix a little at a time until all the dry mixture has been added into the wet mixture.
  4. Optional: Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. I found this made it easier to handle and shape.
  5. Shape dough into heaping tablespoon sized balls. Roll them so the edges are neat. Roll each ball around in the extra sugar to coat. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, and lightly flatten.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes and allow to cool for a few minutes extra on the cookie sheet before moving to wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Now onto the cookies I received…

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The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and My Egg Nog Snickerdoodles

This year I partook in the first ever Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. What did this swap entail, you might ask? It involved me baking three dozen cookies and sending them to three different food bloggers. It then involved me receiving three dozen DELICIOUS cookies from three different bloggers myself. Pretty cool if you ask me. It’s a great way to network in the food blogger community and a great way to chomp on some delicious cookies.

The cookies I made for the swap are my Egg Nog Snickerdoodles. They are my first EVER venture into a recipe that is 100% my own (read: no recipe to follow, chances for disaster very high). My process was:

Make the dough.

Bake one cookie.

Try the cookie.

Tweak the recipe.

Bake one more cookie.

Try the cookie.

Tweak the recipe.

I continued this process until I got it just right. I really think these taste like egg nog and I hope you’ll agree.

egg nog snickerdoodles

Egg Nog Snickerdoodles

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp nutmeg (divided)
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar, divided 1 1/2 and 1/4
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp  unsalted butter, room temperature (2 1/4 sticks)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup [Andrew’s good] bourbon (I generally use more – closer to a 1/2 cup, but it’s a matter of personal taste – don’t tell Andrew)
  • 3 tbsp rum
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Set a cookie sheet aside. No need for non-stick spray or parchment paper. These bad boys don’t stick.
  2. Mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream the sugar into the butter and egg until smooth in a large bowl.
  4. Add bourbon and rum to the sugar, butter, egg mixture.
  5. Slowly pour the dry ingredients mixture into the liquid ingredients mixture, 1/3 at a time. Mix until all ingredients are combined and smooth.
  6. In a large, shallow bowl or on a plate, mix together 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp nutmeg.
  7. Take a piece of dough and create a ball roughly 1 inch in diameter. Roll the ball around sugar/nutmeg mixture until the ball is completely coated. Place ball on cookie sheet.
  8. Continue this with the rest of the cookie dough. Make sure that the balls of dough are no closer than 2 inches on the cookie sheet.
  9. Place cookie sheet on top rack of oven so as to ensure the bottoms of the cookies do not burn. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from over and let cool on the baking sheet for another 1-2 minutes. Remove cookies and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
Silly side note: while I was making these cookies, Andrew got tired

so tired

Then he got hungry

open sesame

As for shipping, I sent the cookies off in these tupperware containers from Container Store. Cute, right??

Now, on to the cookies I received in the swap. The first batch of cookies I devoured were from Vesta Vamps. They were amazingly delectable and perfectly sweet. They’re her Great Aunt Thelma’s Butterscotch cookies. Delicious.

The second batch of cookies I received were from Nora in Portland, Oregon who writes Cats and Commas. They were ginger snaps made with three different types of ginger. How inventive is that?? They were rich and complex with a degree of spice that perfectly offset the sweetness.

The last batch of cookies I received were from Addison at Changing My Destiny. They’re Dark Chocolate Dipped Oatmeal Chewies – a great new spin on a traditional (and delicious) oatmeal cookie. The dark chocolate paired with the oatmeal was a perfect balance!

All in all, the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to be a part of it next year. As for now, I’m gonna go chomp some more cookies…

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

With Fall in full force, I feel compelled to enjoy as many pumpkin recipes as I possibly can. These pumpkin snickerdoodles were my first foray into the land of pump since fall began. This recipe is flawless. It’s from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen and I’m so happy I found it.

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided (1 1/2 c, 1/4 c)
  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and either line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray two baking sheets with non-stick spray

2) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside

3) In another large bowl, cream the butter with 1 1/2 cups of sugar with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add pumpkin puree and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Make sure you scrape down the sides to get all the ingredients in there.

4) Place the remaining 1/4 sugar and the cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Roll one heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and roll it in the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Place the cinnamon sugar ball of dough on the prepared baking sheet. Continue to do this with the rest of the dough, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart

i had already made a few batches. i promise i don’t keep my baking sheets this dirty 🙂

5) Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time until the edges are firm but the middle of the cookie looks soft and puffy – about 10 to 12 minutes. If you want, you can rotate the baking sheets halfway through. I didn’t and they still turned out great.

6) Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have to admit, I don’t love chocolate. I don’t like chocolate bars. I don’t like chocolate cake. I DEFINITELY don’t like chocolate ice cream. But there are some times when all I want is chocolate. Usually it comes in the form of a Reese’s peanut butter cup, sometimes in the form of a baby Hershey’s kiss. Rarely does it come in the form of a chocolate chip cookie.

This cookie recipe, however, has changed my mind about chocolate chip cookies. I can usually eat 1 or 2, which is like 23948712349876124 cookies in the world of people who actually like chocolate chip cookies. As in, 1 or 2 cookies leaves me on the floor sobbing with a headache from chocolate overload. But I do it anyway.

I got this recipe from a TF (TA to anyone who didn’t go to the H) in a History of Art and Architecture class. Let’s just say I wasn’t exactly the most copious note taker, nor was I really one to participate…or pay attention….WHATEVER it was a slide slow class and the lights were always dim. Anyway. My TF brought these to class one day and I must have missed lunch or been hungover, but either way I decided to chomp on a chocolate chip cookie. I was STUNNED. A chocolate chip cookie I actually liked! After class I asked her for the recipe. She was also stunned. Likely because this was the first time I’d talked to her all semester and the only time I ever stayed after class to chat. Anyway, I found out this recipe is just the recipe on the back of the bag of Ghirardelli chocolate chips. How funny is that?? Well wherever it came from, it sure is delish. And now, I share it with you.

hello beautiful.

up close and personal

i had to peek. doesn't my oven look really high tech and awesome? ha.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, obvi)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla (or vanilla extract)
  • 2 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (only if you want)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt – set aside

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and both sugars  until creamy and light in color (easiest with a hand mixer). Add the vanilla and one egg. Mix until incorporated. Add second egg. Mix again.

Gradually blend in flour mixture until the dough forms a creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if you’re using them)

Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. (I like to take mine out a little early and let them finish on the baking sheet. It prevents them from burning.)