Even before Thanksgiving I started seeing Christmas cookies in magazines and on blogs. Well of course I wanted to make all of them! But who has the time? So I asked my good friends Chris and Karen from The Peche if they wanted to have a holiday cookie swap in New York. And how could we have a New York City cookie anything without involving Gail from One Tough Cookie and baker extraordinaire, Abby Dodge. The four of us got to brainstorming and a few weeks later we were at a midtown restaurant havin’ lunch and swappin’ cookies with more than twenty other bloggers and cookie lovers.
The restaurant gave us the run of the upstairs where everyone laid out their cookies over several tables. We were all so busy drooling over the cookie smorgasbord and filling up our containers that it was hard to break away and order lunch, but eventually we’d all had enough sweet and needed to counterbalance with a bit of savory.
The cookie swap was such a great idea. I baked one kind of cookie and came home with more than three dozen different cookies made by some seriously gifted bakers. There was everything from Anna’s Millionaire’s Shortbread and Chris’ Triple-Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies to Erika’s (now famous) Homemade Nutella Chip Cookies and Jackie’s Peppermint Crusted Double Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies. We are enjoying each and every one.
What did I make, you ask? I had intended to make these delicious Chocolate Bites with Candy Cane Kisses that my friend Amber and I had made during an epic Christmas baking session the week before (Quick Aside: If you haven’t yet had a girlfriend over to do some holiday baking, you should get a date on the calendar post haste! What fun we had that day). These are cookie meets brownie bite with a Candy Cane Kiss in the middle. But typical me – the morning of the event arrived and I still had not made my Chocolate Bites and I couldn’t find mini muffin papers at either of the small shops by my house. So I made my mom’s chocolate chip cookies and added some chopped Candy Cane Kisses into the mix. They were really good, but I still wish I had been able to make these! If you don’t like mint and chocolate together, try a different kind of Kiss or candy (just be sure to freeze them first).
Other Cookies from the Swap
Chocolate Bites with Candy Cane Kisses
Makes 3 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup Hershey’s Special Dark or Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
36 Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses, unwrapped and frozen a few hours or overnight
Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and then dry ingredients to form a smooth dough.
Divide dough into 36 portions (refrigerating a few minutes if too soft to work with). Working one at a time, roll a portion of dough around a Kiss until completely covered. Repeat with remaining dough and Kisses. Freeze for at least 30 minutes. (Can be covered and frozen a week or more.)
When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 36 mini-muffin cups with paper liners, filling each with a frozen cookie dough ball. Bake until cookie bites are just set, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely in pans on a wire rack. (Can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days or frozen for a month or more). Serve, dusting with confectioner’s sugar.
Maggy Keet blogs at Three Many Cooks.
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