Cookiepalooza 2006.

A Balanced Diet is a Cookie
in Each Hand.

Every year, a friend of mine throws a gigantic holiday cookie exchange party. Everyone is asked to bake a batch of cookies…and by a batch, I mean a hell of a lot; tripling or quadrupling a recipe…and then bring that batch over to her amazingly fantastic house. She is Christian, her husband is Jewish, and their house is filled with a wide variety of fantastic holiday trimmings, doings and goings on. I’m telling you, it’s festive, people.

At this point, we each spend the day in the most gigantic kitchen ever making even more extremely large batches of entirely different kinds of cookies. Then, everyone lays the thousands of tiny treats out on the dining room table to divide, conquer and bag up all the sugared varieties. We all head home with giant trashbags full of sweets thrown over our shoulders, as if we were 300 lb. senior citizens circling the globe with livestock.

It’s cookie making on sterioids. And it’s surprisingly fun.

Every year, I look forward to it, and every year I always completely dread the necessary day-before preparation. The measuring. The mixing. The mashing. The mind-boggling baking marathon. Because as much as I luhuve cookies, it takes some serious time and energy to make 700 dozen of them.

But the joy of the baking day is always worth it. I’m not terribly craftsy, homemakey and/or domesticky, but there’s something about making lots of cookies with lots of friends in the most gigantic kitchen ever…complete with wassail and lots of champagne…that just puts me in the holiday spirit. In fact, I’ve found it doesn’t really feel like the holidays until I’ve spent a day covered in flour, icing, and red and blue sugar crystals.

And even better, everyone goes home with about 25 dozen different kinds of cookies. This year I was able to make cookie trays for everyone who works in my office. Literally. I came in on Monday with the sweet offerings of inexpensive, much appreciated, quickly vanishing gifts. I’m super popular at the office right now.

Plus, my contributions to the exchange turned out really swell and looked a lot like this.

Chewy Molasses-Spice Cookies*

2 cups whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a shallow bowl, place 1/2 cup sugar; set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and remaining cup of sugar until combined. Beat in egg and then molasses until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in dry ingredients, just until a dough forms.

3. Pinch off and roll dough into balls, each equal to 1 tablespoon. Roll balls in reserved sugar to coat.

4. Arrange balls on baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. Bake, one sheet at a time, until edges are just firm, 10 to 15 minutes (cookies can be baked two sheets at a time, but they will not crackle uniformly). Cool 1 minute on baking sheets; transfer to racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container, 3 to 4 days.

*Recipe and photo from Martha Stewart dot com.

Chocolate Rum Balls

3 1/4 cups crushed vanilla wafers
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup rum

Combine crushed vanilla wafers, 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, cocoa and nuts. Blend in corn syrup and rum. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in additional confectioners’ sugar. Store in an airtight container several days to develop flavor. Roll again in confectioners’ sugar before serving.

So what are your favorite seasonal cookie recipes? Please do tell. And add your pick to the Queso cookie exchange by posting it in comments, or linking us to your place or your recipe book of choice.

Happy Holidays. And Happy Cookies. From the house of Queso to you and yours.

The Details

0 Responses to Cookiepalooza 2006.

  1. LaLa says:

    Hmm. What is to wassail? I am thinking it has somethimg to do with singing?Anyway…. Merry Christmas! Here is a couple of recipes emailed from my favourite person in the world, my Grandma who is in her 80's.Dear JuliaThanks for your e-mail. Herewith recipes:Anzac BiscuitsOne cup of plain flour, l cup sugar, l cup rolled oats, l cup desiccated coconut, 113 g (quarter pound) butter, 1 tablespoon golden syrup, half teaspoon carbonate of soda dissolved in l tablespoon boiling water.Melt butter and syrup in a saucepan, add soda and water, pour over dry ingredients, and mix well, drop pieces the size of a walmut on a greased slide, and bake slowly a golden brown. Leave on slide till cold.Julia, sometimes I just do that and others I flatten the pieces out a bit – these are crisper. Chocolate SliceHalf pound margarine, three-quarters cup brown sugar, melt these together then add l dessertspoon cocoa, l cup S.R. flour, pinch salt, l cup coconut. Mix well, spread on tray and bake 10-15 minutes. Ice with chocolate icing.Moderate oven.Hope they turn out – I actually double the mixture when I make them but you may not have the extra trays.Good luckLoveGrandma

  2. Lady M says:

    Soooo hungry now! Those look great. I'm hoping to get a little baking in this weekend.

  3. Suzanne says:

    These look yummy! I wish I knew people who threw parties…I usually make, and this is embarrassing to admit, the Toll House recipe for chocolate chip cookies. They are always delicious; I just wish I were following a more esoteric recipe!

  4. Sandra says:

    That sounds like pure heaven to me. "A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand" Love it!!!!

  5. Marmite Breath says:

    I know that Christmas is not necessarily a time to watch your waistline, but I do feel less guilty about eating these. And they're delicious! You can put these out at a party and point the dieters to them! Peppermint Chocolate Chip MeringuesMakes 32 meringues16 red and white peppermint candy rounds4 large egg whites 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartarpinch course salt1 cup granulated sugar1/2 cup baby chocolate chipsPreheat oven to 225 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminium foil (shiny side down). Place candies in heavy duty zip-top bag. Squeeze out air, seal, and using a heavy bottomed saucepan, crush well.[I actually used a metal meat tenderizer]In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt with a mixer until soft peaks form (about two minutes). Reduce speed to low and put in 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time, beating for several seconds between each addition. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Blend in crushed candies and chocolate chips. [ At this point, even though the recipe doesn't call for it, I add 6 drops of green food colouring]Drop 16 well rounded tablespoons of meringue onto each baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake 1 hour on oven's top rack. Move cookie sheets to bottom rack and bake 1 more hour. Turn off oven; let meringues sit in oven to completely cool. Remove from baking sheets and store in airtight containers.Nutritional score per serving (3 meringues):163 calories3g fat32g carbs>1g fiberFrom Shape magazine. December 2006.

  6. Leslie says:

    i'm totally trying those molasses cookies. delish! sounds like a fun party.

  7. Girl con Queso says:

    LaLa…wassail is more of a drinking thing than a singing thing. And thank goodness for that. I'll post a recipe for that just for you. Oh and your grandmother's recipes are divine.Suzanne, Toll House rocks.Marmite, Peppermint + Chocolate Chip = Love.

  8. mark says:

    This isn't a "seasonal" cookie recipe – I like them year-round. Cherry Chewbilees1 cup margarine, softened3/4 cup granulated sugar3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar2 eggs1 tsp vanilla extract2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour1 tsp baking soda1-2/3 cups coarsely chopped white chocolate or vanilla milk chips1-1/2 cups dried tart cherries1 cup cashews, coarsely chopped Combine margarine, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until thoroughly mixed. Combine flour and baking soda; gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture. Stir in white chocolate, dried cherries and cashews. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden brown. Do not overbake. Let cool on wire racks; store in a tightly covered container. These cookies freeze well.Makes 4-1/2 DozenFrom the Food Services of America Website.And one more that is particularly refreshing (and simple).Lemon Whippersnappers1 Pkg Lemon Cake Mix2 Cups Cool Whip-thawed1 Egg1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar Grease cookie sheets.. Mix cake mix, egg, cool whip. Stir well. Drop by teaspoons into powdered sugar; roll to coat well. Place 1 1/2" apart on cookie sheet. Bake 350 for 10-15 minutes..until very light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cool.Makes 5 dozen.Note: Very sticky, making it somewhat difficult to work with.That's an old family recipe dating back to the 1400s… I have no idea where it came from.

  9. Kristen says:

    Wow. The idea of 25 dozen cookies makes my head spin. Yummmmmm.

  10. Eric says:

    Isn't it so much more fun to actually bake your own cookies rather than going out and BUYING cookies? Seriously, I'm asking, as a person who buys holiday cookies instead of baking them. I imagine it would be so much more fun for you.

  11. Bek says:

    I make these every year. We used to always get them from my husbands Grandma…so now they are called Grandma cookies. They are the taste of fall/winter. :-)I have new recipies to try….

  12. HB says:

    Yum! Cookies!I have a few recipes to share. I will type them out later from home.

  13. Super Zoe says:

    If I liked cookies, I would be very hungry! But, I don't like cookies. When can you post about some Beef Jerky Extravaganze you have attended?! I do love some beef jerky. Nothing celebrates the spirit of the season like dehydrated meat!So wonderful to see you and the Hurricane last night! Always a treat!

  14. Her Bad Mother says:

    I LOVE YOU for that recipe. (and more, obviously, but MOLASSES COOKIES? hellyeah!)

  15. Jenny says:

    If I learn how to cook will you bring me along next year? I may not be very good in the kitchen but I tell the most wonderful, risque stories after a snoot of champagne.

  16. Girl con Queso says:

    Mark, I'm totally making the Lemon Whippersnappers. Fantastic.Jenny, you're in. But you can't dress like a zombie. I think holiday cookies and zombies mix like chainsaws and puppies.

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