Chai Snickerdoodles (for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!)

When I signed up for this year’s Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I had no idea what to make. In previous years, I’ve at least had an idea of the flavor I was going for, but this year, nothing was coming to me. How is this possible? Especially when Google comes back with 105,000,000 results for “cookie recipe.” 😛

Then, one day, my coworker shared an almond cookie with me, and it hit me! Almond! I love almond! And do you know what goes perfectly with almond? Cherries! I love cherries! Plus, Andy and I picked cherries in Door County this summer, which meant I had a nice little stockpile for baking. Since I’m a big fan of eating local food, the idea of incorporating a local ingredient really appealed to me, especially since sour cherries aren’t something that’s readily available everywhere. It would be a little taste of Wisconsin for my food blogger buddies. I’d simply convert my lemon-cranberry cookie into a cherry-almond cookie. What could possibly go wrong with this?

Well… cherries, even when frozen, have a LOT more juice than cranberries, which meant that the cookies spread a lot more when they baked, and they didn’t look pretty AT ALL. And while I’ve shared plenty of ugly pictures/food on here, I wanted to send people something that looked somewhat appetizing. I was also concerned with how they’d hold up in the mail, since they didn’t seem quite as sturdy as the original recipe. So, even though the flavor was everything I’d hoped for, I went in a different direction. If I’d had more time, I’d have tracked down some dried Door County cherries and tried a batch with them. However, between Thanksgiving travel and the cookie swap deadline, I knew I wouldn’t have the time to go that route. Time for plan B. (I did end up sending a few of the “failure cookies” in each package so my recipients could taste them, and Andy gladly ate the rest of the failure cookies. The sacrifices he makes…) 

The inspiration for my second batch of cookies actually came from another work moment. We were talking about snickerdoodles, and I started thinking that it had been a while since I’d made them. And with their warm, fall spices, they seemed like the perfect cookie to bridge the gap between fall/Thanksgiving and winter/Christmas. I added ginger and cardamon to take the cookies from “standard snickerdoodle” to “Chai snickerdoodle.”

Let me introduce you to my cookie recipients, and then I’ll share who sent cookies my way!

I sent cookies to Nina at Crazy for Cookies & More (She’s from Ohio! I was so excited to send stuff to my home state); Jennifer at Girl on the Range (I was blown away by the pictures on her blog! So pretty!);  and Matt at Kitchen Man Cooks (The man has an apple crisp recipe from and center on his blog – yum!!).

The only thing more exciting than sending cookies is receiving them, and as the shipping deadline approached, I was more and more excited to check the mail when I came home from work. I mean, boxes of cookies are so much more exciting than the electric bill.

The first package to land on my doorstep was from Jessica at Citrus Blossom Bliss. A girl after my own heart, she sent snickerdoodles to me! Only, she stepped it up and added white chocolate chips to the cookies. Yum yum yum. She included a cute cookie cutter as well. Oh, and you know the trick where they say that a piece of bread will keep your cookies soft? Jessica put a slice of bread in with the cookies, and it totally worked! I’d never tried that before, but I think I will next time. So smart. 🙂

Krista at Destination Delish sent box number two! They were (are you ready for this?) Dark Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Rosemary Shortbread Cookies. So… kind of weird-sounding, right? I LOVED them. Andy wasn’t sure at first, but they had the same addicting properties that my apricot shortbread cookies seemed to have. Maybe it’s the butter in shortbread. Who knows. Either way, I am heading over to her site to snag the recipe ASAP. (Thanks to our crazy warm weather, my rosemary plant is still going strong.) I loved the cute tin that she sent as well! Paying it forward and using the tin for another food gift!

My last box contained some of the cutest bear cookies ever from Amanda at From Me to Vuu. Thanks!!

Finally, thanks to Julie and Lindsay for organizing / hosting the swap! I really enjoy it and appreciate all of your hard work! (Psst! Want to be involved next year? You get great cookies!) 

Chai Snickerdoodles 2

Chai Snickerdoodles

For the cookie dough:
2 3/4 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs

For the cinnamon-sugar mixture: 
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until well-combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture.

In a small, shallow bowl, stir together the 2 tablespoons of sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom.

Roll the cookie dough into balls about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and then place them on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake cookies until they are light golden brown on the edges (1oish minutes in my oven, 12-15 according to Martha). Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Side note: Snickerdoodles make EXCELLENT ice cream sandwich cookies, if you happen to have some vanilla bean ice cream floating around. Just throwing that one out there. 😉 

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s “Cookies

Click here for a printable version.


Here we go again!

That’s right, I’ve signed up for this year’s Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. It’s so much fun to get cookies in the mail, and I love seeing what other food bloggers have come up with. In addition to spreading cookie goodness around the world, the swap helps raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Win-win, if you ask me. 🙂

This will be my fourth year participating, and, I actually have NO idea what kind of cookies I’ll make this time around.

In previous years, I’ve sent a family favorite, a chocolate-mint version of the “Hershey Kiss” cookies and what’s basically fall in a cookie – maple and brown sugar. So, what should be next? Something with fruit? Or brown butter? There’s always the chocolate-peanut butter combination… good thing I have a few weeks to figure it out!

Interested in participating? There’s still a week to sign up… and who knows, you could get cookies from me! 😀

Spiced Brown Sugar Cookies with Maple Glaze (for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!)

“The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things –  of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.” – Lewis Carroll

OK, so we’re not talking about any of those things (although there is still a giant head of cabbage in my fridge, so we will be talking about cabbages at some point). 😉 Today, we are talking about cookies. After all, it’s reveal day!

I did a lot of thinking about what cookies I wanted to send this year. When I signed up for the swap, I knew that I wasn’t going to have time to get my cookies in the mail after Thanksgiving. So rather than go for a Christmas cookie, I chose a fall cookie and sent them before Thanksgiving. Good thing too, since we’ve spent the last 3 weeks working with drywall, thinset, tile and paint.

It was great, though, in the middle of construction and chaos, to get boxes of delicious cookies in the mail! We made quick work of all three batches, and Andy declared that all of them could become regulars in our house. We received chocolate mint crinkle cookies from Stacy at the Baking Bandit, chocolate peppermint patty cookies from Carla at Alyssa and Carla, and snowball cookies from Terri at Love and Confections. We loved them all. It’s no secret that the chocolate-mint combo is near and dear to our hearts (right after the chocolate-peanut butter combo), and those snowball cookies, well, there was definitely an almond flavor to them, and I LOVE almond extract. And the super cute tin? Totally using that to pack up a food gift this Christmas. So, a big thank you to my “secret Santa” bakers – you fueled us through many late nights!

2014 Swap Cookies copy


Like I said, I chose a fall cookie. Brown sugar, spices and maple. I love maple syrup, and I’ve had Annie’s spiced brown sugar cutout cookies bookmarked for a while. I decided that they’d be the perfect with a little maple extract and a simple maple glaze/icing. They weren’t fancy – especially since I cut them into simple circles, rather than cute shapes. (I thought circles would be less likely to crumble in shipping.)  I’d like to think, though, that what they lacked in looks, they made up for in flavor. I also hoped that the glaze would keep the cookies softer on their trip across the country! I didn’t get around to taking a picture of my packaging, but I decided to use some of my chalkboard painted tins for shipping. I thought they turned out well! Here’s hoping that they traveled just as well and that everyone liked them! I sent cookies to:

Cindy at Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Erin at Erin Cooks
Kaitlin at I Can Cook That

Maple Sugar Cookies

Spiced Brown Sugar Cookies with Maple Glaze

For the cookies: 
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple extract

For the glaze: 
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
pinch of salt

To make the cookies, whisk the dry ingredients (flour through allspice) together in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and the extracts until well-combined. Gently mix in the dry ingredients until just incorporated.

Place the dough on a large sheet of plastic wrap and press it into a flat disc. Wrap the dough and chill in the refrigerator until firm. (I let mine go overnight.)

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, line baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thickness. Cut cookies out of the dough with cookie cutters, rerolling and cutting scraps as needed. Place cookies about 1 1/2″ apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until cookies are just lightly brown, about 9 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before removing cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

While cookies are cooling, whisk the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste, and adjust with sugar/maple syrup/milk until the glaze reaches your desired consistency/sweetness. (I’ll be the first to admit that I made up the glaze as I went along. I was looking for a consistency that was thin enough to drizzle, but not so thin that it would all run off the cookie immediately.) Cover the cooled cookies with the glaze. (I prefer to dip them in a shallow dish and then return them to the cooling rack to “dry.”)

Store in an airtight container. Cookies keep for at least a week (that’s how long we had the extras) and soften slightly as time goes on.

Cookies from Annie’s Eats, who found them at Bake at 350. Glaze is Beth’s Blue Plate original.

Click here for a printable version.

CSA 2014: Week 18

Is it just me, or did this year go really fast? Like, Chuck-Yeager-in-the-Bell-X-1 fast. Somehow, it’s the beginning of November, and we’re looking at the last regular-season share of our CSA. (No worries, there’s one final last-season delivery coming. I’m hoping for lots of squash and cauliflower.) 

CSA2014 week 18

Week 18 had a lot of good stuff. We had tomatillos, red and purple potatoes, mixed greens, red onions, jalapenos, leeks, radishes, celery, Brussels sprouts, a butternut squash and some of the sweetest, juiciest apples I’ve ever tasted. (The picture only shows three apples. I later learned that we did indeed get four apples, but someone ate one before I came home and took the picture.) 

I roasted the tomatillos for sauce for my favorite green enchiladas. (Although my green sauce always comes out tan, rather than green. Not sure what I’m doing wrong there!) I tried a new recipe for the squash and stuck with a tried-and-true favorite for the Brussels sprouts. I’m not sure what exactly I’ll do with the leeks, although I did see a recipe for a cheesy leek and potato dish. And we all know how much I love potatoes. 😀

In other news: It’s cookie time again!!


Yep, I signed up for this year’s Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! I love getting boxes of cookies in the mail, and it’s so much fun for me to send them out to people. I’ve been brainstorming ideas for the last couple of weeks, but, as always, I’m keeping it a secret until the big reveal on December 15. I’m open to suggestions though – what kind of cookie would you like to get in the mail?

Chocolate Mint Thumbprint Cookies (for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!)

I spent a lot of time thinking about what cookies I’d make for this year’s swap. I needed a cookie that stored well, shipped well AND still tasted good. The last thing I wanted was for my recipients to open a box of dry, tasteless crumbs. I’ve been thinking about thumbprint cookies for quite a while, and while I didn’t send out my first idea (I didn’t think jam-filled cookies would ship or store well), I was pretty happy with the end result. Especially because it features one of my favorite flavor combinations (after the chocolate/peanut butter combo, of course).

It’s a chocolate-mint cookie with a Hershey’s Mint Tuffle kiss in the middle. They’re rolled in sprinkles for maximum happiness. (Because sprinkles make EVERYTHING better. They’re like the bacon of the cookie world.) I opted for fun, rainbow sprinkles instead of Christmas sprinkles because I mailed these out before Thanksgiving, and I’m opposed to all things Christmas before Thanksgiving. 😀

I did double the original recipe, since I knew I’d need at least three dozen for shipping, plus a few extra for quality control purposes, if you know what I mean. 🙂

I sent boxes to Veronica at My Catholic Kitchen, Micky at What Micky Eats and Angela at the Spinach Tiger. I hope you all enjoyed them!!

I received cookies from Melanie at Aesthetic Eats / The Inside Dish,Tal at Ba-Li Cravings and Chris and Amy at A Couple in the Kitchen. It was so much fun to get boxes of goodies in the mail, and I loved that each cookie was so different. They were all things that I’d never made before, and, as you may have guessed, I’m all about trying new things.

Fbcs Choc Thumb2

Chocolate Mint Thumbprint Cookies

1 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark.) 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon mint extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
sprinkles, for rolling
Hershey’s Mint Truffle Kisses, unwrapped (I used most of a regular-sized bag.) 

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the cocoa powder and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs and extracts and beat until well-mixed.

Mix in the baking soda and salt, and then add the flour. Stir until just combined. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for about an hour (to make it easier to handle).

Roll the chilled dough into 1″ balls and then roll the balls in the sprinkles. Place balls 2 inches apart on parchment lined-sheets. Using your thumb, make an indent in the top of each cookie.

Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until cookies appear set. Remove from the oven, press a kiss into the center of each cookie. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: Approximately 4 dozen.

Barely adapted from the Curvy Carrot, who found the recipe in the Ultimate Cookie Book

Click here for a printable version.

C is for Cookie… SWAP!

Guess what day time it is!? 😀 (Bonus points if you read that in the voice of the Gieco camel.)

It’s cookie swap time!

I am excited (perhaps ridiculously so) about being a part of this year’s Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Last year was my first time participating, and I had a blast. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up.
  2. Get matched up.
  3. Make cookies.
  4. Send cookies.
  5. Receive cookies.
  6. Eat cookies.
  7. Share cookies (well, the recipe anyway).

Even though I’ve had a year to think about this, I’m still not sure what cookie I’ll make to send to my three victims taste-testers/new blogger friends. Maybe something lemon. Or something maple. Things with sprinkles are always good too! So many choices… be sure to come back on December 11 to see what I end up sending. 🙂