Though I normally don’t thrill to baking in quantity, The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap piqued my interest when I read about it on my friend Kasha’s Facebook page. The brainchild of Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen, this event brings together bloggers from around the world to share cookies and support a worthwhile cause. After registering and paying a nominal fee, you receive the names of three bloggers and send each of them one dozen freshly baked cookies. In return, you receive one dozen cookies from three other bloggers.
How could anything go wrong? Pull up a chair and I’ll tell you how. Things can go wrong if you only skim the instructions then start baking weeks later without returning to them. If I’d reread the instructions before diving in, I might have saved myself a bit of time and a lot of trouble, but then three bloggers wouldn’t have received THREE DOZEN gluten-free cookies each. But it’s the season of giving, and I hope Sara from And a Little Chaos, Jackie from La Casa de Sweets and Jennifer from Nibbles ’n Bites are enjoying the cookies as much as I enjoyed baking them!
As you can imagine, all of this baking really put the damper on my already-minuscule sweet tooth, but I really did love all of the gluten-free cookies I received: Oatmeal Toffee Cookies from Andrea of Delicious by Dre, Classic Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies by Ariana of Ari’s Menu and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies by Heather at A Sweet Simple Life.
But on to my entries! Spicy molasses cookies and oatmeal cookies are always duking it out for my favorite cookie, so I thought I’d send both. With the help of this brilliant post at Gluten-Free Goddess, I managed to substitute flours pretty heavily for the molasses cookie and they turned out GREAT; the flavor was just what I was looking for and the texture was spot-on — not overly soft, as you’d expect from a gluten-free cookie.
For an oatmeal cookie that would stand up to shipping, I made Oatmeal Lace Cookies adulterated with loads of spices.
And you didn’t think you’d get out of this holiday season without another tweaked version of my Pecan Macaroons, did you? I added some coconut flour to bind the ingredients together and hopefully keep them in one piece during shipping.
But that’s not all! Once I realized my mistake, I went COMPLETELY overboard, figuring I might as well bake more and turn it into something special for the holidays since I’m not doing my annual Advent Calendar this year. Instead, I’m debuting an online magazine called Savory & Sweet! Check it out here or click the picture below for the three recipes from the cookie swap, plus several more. And let me know what you think. I’ve been a little bored with the standard blogging format, as you might be able to tell from my infrequent posts, so I’m considering putting out one of these online magazines every quarter or maybe even every month.
The cookie swap was a success, by the way. We raised over $13,000 for the charity Cookies for Kids’ Cancer! If you’re interested in participating next year, sign up here for updates.
Molasses Spice Cookies adapted from Recipe Girl
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp teff flour
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon psyllium husk
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
additional sugar for rolling
In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (teff flour through salt).
Melt butter in medium saucepan over moderate heat until foam subsides, then lower heat and swirl butter in pan until milk solids turn light brown and smell nutty.
Combine butter and sugar in a stand mixer set to low. Increase speed by one level and blend in molasses, then egg. Add dry ingredients a little at a time until well blended. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least four hours or up to three days.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a melon baller, scoop out a spoonful of the dough, roll it into a ball, then roll it in the additional sugar. Place dough balls about three inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are set and starting to crackle on top. Cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Oatmeal Lace Cookies adapted from Hippo Flambe
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 cup sweet white rice flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt butter in medium saucepan over moderate heat until foam subsides, then lower heat and swirl butter in pan until milk solids turn light brown and smell nutty. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt. oats, flour and and spices until well mixed. Turn off heat and add egg, stirring well until batter is thoroughly combined.
Drop batter onto baking sheets in two teaspoon increments. Leave at least two inches of space between cookies, as they’ll spread in the oven. Use the back of your teaspoon to flatten each cookie into a two-inch round.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, rotating trays halfway through baking, until cookies are browned and set.
Cool cookies on baking sheet, or cool for five minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
1/4 cup organic palm sugar, packed
1 large egg white
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably homemade
Pinch of coarse salt
1 teaspoon coconut flour
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Whisk together sugar and egg white in a large bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients and allow mixture to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Form dough into sixteen 1-tablespoon mounds and drop each onto sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake macaroons until golden-brown on bottoms and edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
To finish, using a spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over cooled macaroons. Macaroons will keep, covered, for up to one week.
Sugary, almond-y, and the perfect little bites when you want a nibble, not a full-blown dessert.
finely ground almond flour
Preheat oven to 300°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer set to low, mix almond paste and sugar until ingredients start to combine. Increase speed by one or two levels until ingredients are well mixed. Reduce speed, add almond flour and salt, mixing again until thoroughly combined.
Add egg whites, jam and almond extract, and beat at medium speed until a wet dough is formed. It will be very sticky.
Scoop out a level tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball between your palms. Place dough on prepared baking sheet and continue with remaining dough, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between cookies.
Top each cookie with a pinch of sliced almond, pressing almonds down into the cookie until cookie flattens into a disc about 1 1/2 inches wide.
Bake at 300°F for 25-30 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets.
Dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar if desired. Store in a closed container at room temperature.
This recipe calls for finely ground almond flour. Brands I've used and can recommend include JK Gourmet, Wellbee's and Honeyville. Whatever brand you use, just be sure the flour is finely ground, as this recipe will not work with almond meal.