Have a Merry Cookie Collection 2010!


It's December 18th, and Christmas week is officially here! No school for two weeks, and the feeling of hectic pressure is finally dissipating, replaced by a better type of frenzy, enjoying the holidays. Time for mulled wine (there's a good stash waiting thanks to bottles of Two Buck Chuck Dave picked up from Trader Joe's on his Silverman trip); time to break out the cookie tin resting smugly on a pillowy bed of frozen peas in the freezer, filled to the brim with interesting assorted cookies, thanks to two cookie swaps. This year's cookie swap planning included a share of behind-the-scenes drama, but how can COOKIE and DRAMA really go hand-in-hand without some kind of humor? I'm already laughing a little bit about how stressed my friend Kristin and I became at intervals, and of course everything worked out just fine. I did learn a few lessons, though, and in 2011 am making a resolution to follow through with plans to swap early, before craziness takes over. Cookie swap number one, the teacher swap, was held really early; it was a quick and simple exchange, at school in the teachers' lounge exactly one week after Thanksgiving. The previous year, the teacher swap took place right before break, when everyone was already frazzled from hyper students and multi-tasking, and long settled on autopilot. This year, teachers were still (briefly) refreshed from Thanksgiving break, and therefore, I received just about everyone's recipes on time (go teachers!)!

Cookie swap number two was for awhile an amorphous idea--there was a concrete invitation, but the event relocated, had an understandably variable guest list, and nearly didn't happen. When I initially send an inquiry e-mail out to get a feel for interest level in cookie swapping this year (was dubious because this season has seemed to be so packed for everyone), Kristin generously insisted on hosting, since I'd been struggling with a massive, extended sinus infection, and she and I had been talking for awhile about holding one for a group of great women we both rode with over the summer. Who knew Kristin would sell her house, and close on a new one in the midst of holiday bustle? Or that everyone who initially replied happened to be the people Kristin didn't personally know, except for her Mom? (By the way, if you're a local friend reading this and wondering why you weren't included in the invite, you probably were, but copying and pasting into Evite often yields typos, like the loss of the m in com, as I discovered at the last minute, thanks to Hillari and her wonderful directness! ) The idea of Kristin hosting was starting to feel ridiculous, but I was worried our house would be too tight for the number of respondees (should have trusted Martha, and everyone who wisely reassured me that the moth-to-the flame effect of kitchens causes magical expansion during holiday gatherings, and also that people would have to drop out up to the last hour...not that I wanted anyone to drop out, of course!). Plus, my mother-in-law was visiting from the UK, and my lovable cuddly dog is prone to anxiety with new people and/or large numbers of them. Of course, long and not-so-sensational after all story short, everything worked out, and it was lovely. Thanks so much to all of you  gorgeous friends  and co-workers who participated! Here are the recipes I received from both swaps, so you can enjoy them again next year! I'll update with any additional recipes people send. Happy Holidays!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Espresso Cookies

Adapted from Triple Chocolate Espresso Bean Cookie Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

  • 1 ¼ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1  tablespoon instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 T hot water
  • ¾  teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ baking powder
  • ½  teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 1/2 cup natural, dark unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (melt with butter)
  • 1 cup sugar plus 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Approximately 30 chocolate covered espresso beans

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

1)      In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cacao powder. Set aside.

2)      In a big bowl mix the butter with melted chocolate, coffee-water blend, and sugar. Mix in the eggs one at a time, making sure the first egg gets incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla and mix until it is incorporated.

3)      Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring to form a moist, brown dough that is uniform in color. Stir in chocolate chips and mix only until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough. 4) Roll dough into balls and place roughly one inch apart on baking sheets. Press a chocolate covered espresso bean in the center of each cookie.

4)      Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes on the middle rack. You don't want to over bake these cookies at all or they will really dry out. If anything, under bake them just a bit. When they are done, pull them out to cool.

Chocolate Kisses (meringue cookies)

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 oz. chocolate chips
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Beat egg whites until frothy, add cream of tartar and salt. Continue to beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Add sugar 2 Tbsp at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Fold in chocolate chips and vanilla. Drop from teaspoon onto baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 300 for 25 minutes or until light brown. Remove while still warm.

Peppermint Bark

  • Crushed candy canes, to yield 1 cup
  • 2 pounds white chocolate
  • Peppermint flavorings, optional

Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Combine candy cane chunks with chocolate (add peppermint flavoring at this point if desired.) Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle.)


Five Minute Fudge

  • 1 package butterscotch chips
  • 1 package milk chocolate chips
  • 2 packages semi-sweet chips
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk

Melt ingredients in microwave for 4-5 minutes. Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 ½ cups nuts. Mix well and put in well greased pan to cool.

Brown Sugar Pecan Rounds

*Tancy’s cookies were made with all low-cal ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 F. Mix butter, brown sugar, and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes.

Hershey’s Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1-1/3 cups (8 oz. pkg.) HEATH BITS 'O BRICKLE Toffee Bits
  • 1 cup MOUNDS Sweetened Coconut Flakes (optional)

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Beat butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; beat until blended.

2. Stir in oats, toffee bits and coconut, if desired, with spoon. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto prepared sheet.

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute; remove to wire rack. About 4 dozen cookies

Chocolate Crinkles


  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 sq. unsweetened chocolate (4oz.) melted
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • ½ salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Mix oil, chocolate, and granulated sugar.  Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed.  Add vanilla. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting.  Stir flour, baking powder, and salt into mixture.  Chill several hours or over night.

Toffee Chip Thins

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 32 squares)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup English toffee bits or almond brickle chips
  • 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine butter and condensed milk; mix well. Combine cracker crumbs, flour and baking powder; gradually add to the butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, toffee bits and coconut if desired.
  2. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.

Chinese Almond Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg and extract. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Roll into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a fork. Sprinkle with almonds.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg white and water. Brush over cookies. Bake at 325 degrees F for 14-16 minutes or until edges and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.

Pecan Snowballs

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast pecans for 8 minutes, let cool and chop roughly.

Mix butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy, mix in extracts and salt.  Gradually add flour.   Mix in pecans.

Shape dough into tablespoon size balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Transfer balls to second parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake until lightly golden 18-22 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Place 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl.  Toss warm cookies in sugar a return to baking sheet.  Sift remaining 1/4 sugar over cookies before serving.

Chocolate Mint Brownies

If you can't find mint chocolate chips for the topping, use semi-sweet chocolate chips with a few drops of mint extract.

For the base: 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup butter, softened 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 (16-ounce) can chocolate-flavored syrup 1 cup granulated sugar

For the filling: 2 cups confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 tablespoon water 1/2 teaspoon mint extract 3 drops green food coloring

For the topping: 1 (10-ounce) package mint chocolate chips 9 tablespoons butter

To make the base: Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Combine the ingredients for the base in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour batter into a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes (top of brownies will still appear wet). Cool completely.

To make the filling: Combine filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl; beat until creamy. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate until set.

To make the topping: Melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat in a small saucepan (then add mint extract, if using). Let cool for 30 minutes or until lukewarm, stirring occasionally. Spread over filling. Chill before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.

Servings: 60

Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies

3 cups old-fashioned oats 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 cups packed light brown sugar 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 1/2 cup maple syrup 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 2 teaspoons baking soda 1/4 cup boiling water 1 teaspoon maple or vanilla extract 2 cups chopped toasted pecans



  1. Preheat oven to 300F and position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 2. Combine oats, coconut, flour, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar in a large bowl; whisk to blend. 3. Combine butter, maple syrup and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally; remove from heat. 4. Combine baking soda and boiling water, stirring to dissolve. Add to maple syrup mixture, stirring well. Add maple extract. Stir into dry ingredients. Add pecans; stir well. 5. Place 1/4-cup size balls of dough on baking sheets, 3 inches apart. Flatten slightly. 6. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and set, rotating positions halfway through the baking process. Cool on the baking sheets 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Candy Cane Cookies

1 C Shortening (or butter) 1 C confectioners sugar 1 egg 1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 1/2 C flour 1 tsp salt

Combine shortening and confectioners sugar until fluffy. Mix in egg, peppermint extract, and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt

Mix everything together and then split in half.

Add in food coloring to one or both halves and start creating your candy canes!

Pine Nut Cookies

  • 1/3 cup almond paste
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespons butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, divided
  • 4.5 oz. all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Grate almond paste on large holes of a box grater.  Combine paste and next 4 ingredients (through egg white) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

3. Place 3/4 cup pine nuts in a mini food processor; pulse until finely ground.  Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.  Combine ground nuts, flour and baking powder, stirring with a whisk.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat on low speed just until combined.

4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Shape dough into 48 equal sized balls (about 1 tablesppon each).  Press 3 to 5 of the remaining pine nuts in a sunburst shape on top of each ball.  Place 12 balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.  Bake 14minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned.  Cool 5 minutes on pan.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Hershey Kiss Cookies

2 2/3 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup butter 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter 1 cup sugar 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Additional sugar 5 dozen kisses, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Add butter and peanut butter and mix until smooth. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Make balls out of level tablespoons of dough - add flour if needed. Roll in sugar.

Bake 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet for 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and add 1 kiss to the center of each cookie. Return to the oven and bake for 2 more minutes.

Cool and enjoy.

Kiss Cookies

  • ‎1/4 lb butter softened
  • 1 c flour
  • 3 tbl confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts

Cream butter w/ sugar, add vanilla and mix w/ flour. Shape dough into 1" balls around a kiss. Roll until round then in the the nuts. Bake 35...0* for 15-18 min. Delicious warm and cold.

Wheat-free Gingerbread Cutouts

  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter
  • 1 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add about half the flour, the sugar, molasses, egg, vinegar, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat till thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. Cover and chill for three hours or until easy to handle.

Divide the chilled dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 5 to 6 minutes or till edges are lightly browned. Cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Spice Island® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
  • 2 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Spice Island® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
  • GLAZE:
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons shortening

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg and extracts; mix well. Combine flour and pudding mix; add to the creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Shape into 1-in. balls; roll in nuts. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets; make a thumbprint in center of cookie. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. For filling, cream butter, sugar, vanilla and milk. Spoon into center of cooled cookies. For glaze, if desired, melt chocolate chips and shortening; drizzle over cookies. Let stand until set. Yield: about 7 dozen.

Photo credit: Flikr user jypseygen