Pressure, unusual pressure, to be Betty Crocker. Or even worse, to emulate Martha Stewart, with out a team of professionals to have my back. I am hosting a cookie swap. It's a pretty basic cookie swap in the spectrum of over-regulated and policed traditions. If you have a moment, google cookie swap and see how completely insane some women get about their cookie swaps.
Here's the guideline:
- There are 11 total participants, so bring 10 individual bags of cookies to give out with the recipe for each.
- Package 4-6 homemade cookies in each bag.
- Bring an additional 1 dozen cookies to share, so we can sample them at the swap.
- Leave with a boatload of delicious cookies!
We didn't even discuss what type of cookies people were bringing. In my opinion, if we had duplicates, we could eat both and see which one we liked better. Turns out, there weren't any duplicates and I can say there wasn't a cookie I didn't like. How democratic of me. But seriously, ten different varieties of treats, of which I didn't have to bake in entirety. Delicious and my kind of night.
So for my personal choices, I picked recipes from Martha. I found other recipes that I am going to try out, but the batches weren't big enough. I thought I would save those recipes for a personal baking session with my darling, Sj or shall we call her Little Martha. Ha! It makes perfect sense to pick some fabulous recipes for Santa's Cookies, doesn't (s)he deserve it?
In fear of breaking some sort of publishing rights, I am going to put the links for the recipes, with my personal opinions on how they turned out.
The Lime Meltaways were very unique as far as holiday cookies go. They seem like a perfect treat to make for a barbecue mid-summer, the quantity of fresh lime zest alone is what drew me into the recipe. I have to admit, they were rather fragile and other people's opinions on the site, encouraged me to hand dip the confectioner's sugar on at the end, rather than toss them in a bag. For me, they were fabulous, almost like a palate cleanser in between all the fudge and other treats.
The second choice was the Oatmeal Toffee which also lured me with the ingredients. I didn't want to drive all over town seeking out the typical Martha unique items, I went for available at my local market, but not totally traditional. The cookies were alright, nothing to write home about. I did like the dried cherries and the toffee, but we had to use Heath Bars, because our market didn't stock the Hershey toffee bits, how not convenient for me. If you are bored with chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies, switch it up with these.
The last important recipe I must share is for the Sangria I made. What's the holidays without a little festive fruity drink? This recipe is so simple for Sangria, I highly recommend it. I switched it up in two ways, shame on me, the folks at Cooks Illustrated would be disappointed I didn't follow their overly-tested methods to-a-"t". I used Grand Marnier and I warmed the orange juice and the sugar on the stove top, to guarantee the sugar would melt and not just sit on the bottom of the pitcher. It worked like a charm.
Host a cookie swap, but keep in mind a more light hearted spirit. We have enough pressure on us this time of year, leave the list of rules and regulations for more important things. Happy baking and better yet happy eating!