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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Vanilla-Scented Quince and Pear Pie

If you’re looking to mix it up in the dessert department this holiday season, this is the pie to do it with. The quince, pear, rosé wine all give this pie a very distinct, yet homey flavor. This pie is a labor of love, but it’s mainly wait time, and it’s definitely worth the wait.

photo 1 (1)Vanilla-Scented Quince and Pear Pie
Adapted from Saveur

  • 2 pie crusts
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, separated into seeds and husk
  • 2.5 lb quince, peeled, cored, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup rosé wine
  • 1.5-2 lb firm, tart pears (such as Bosc or Russet), cored, diced into 1/8 inch cubes
  • 1 cup unbleached cane sugar
  • Egg wash: egg yolks and splash of cream
  • Tools: 9-inch pie tin, cheesecloth
  1. Tie lemon zest, anise, cinnamon, and vanilla husk into cheesecloth to make a spice satchel.
  2. In heavy pot, over medium-low, combine quince, sugar, vanilla seeds, lemon juice, and wine. Stir until most of the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Submerge spice satchel into the quince mixture.
  4. Bring to a hard simmer, then bring down to a bare simmer. Let simmer for 10 min uncovered, then cover and cook for 2-3 hours (I let mine go closer to 3 hours), until the quince is rosy, the consistency is jammy, and most of the moisture is absorbed (if you have excess liquid, just strain out). Don’t rush this process!!
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool
  6. Roll out pie crusts to 1/4 inch. Cut fun shapes out of 1 of the pie crusts if you want.
  7. Place uncut crust into bottom of 9-inch pie pan and fit snugly. Let the edges drape over the sides of the pan.
  8. Spoon a thin layer of the cooled quince mixture on the bottom of the pie tin, then cover with a thin layer of pears. Repeat these layers until the pan is close to full. You will likely have some leftover filling (put it on ice cream!).
  9. Place the second crust over the top of the mixture. Seal the edges and trim them back. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. If you have cutouts, attached them to the pie with the egg wash.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min, then for 40-45 min at 350 degrees (until crust is brown and the filling is bubbly). Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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.)