I've never taken part in a cookie swap before. I'm thinking maybe I should put one together next year between me and my friends, because this one was so much fun. This month, with hundreds of other bloggers, I participated in:
Basically, a bunch of bloggers baked three dozen cookies and sent a dozen each to three different bloggers, none of whom knew who was sending to them. A Secret Santa of cookies, I suppose. Lindsay at Love and Olive Oil and Julie at The Little Kitchen put the swap together and are doing next year's as well, which I will gladly take part in.
It's hard for me to pick out a favorite cookie. But these cookies, pizzelles, are quintessential holiday cookies for me. My pseudo-grandma (she's the mother of my aunt through marriage who has been a grandmother to me) Mildred makes these every Christmas, and it was always super exciting when my uncle showed up with the old ice cream tub filled with these thin cookies. We don't get to see Mildred and that side of the family as often as I'd like anymore, and when I came across a pizzelle iron, I knew it would need to become my own cookie tradition.
As for the cookies I received, they were scrumptious. I got peanut butter cup cookie bars from Raenell at Raevyn's Nest; coconut chocolate chip cookies from Aaron at the Hungry Hutch; and cream cheese walnut cookies from Liz in Colorado (whose blog I have yet to find). All were amazing, and I'm trying my hardest not to eat them all at once!
I sent my cookies to three lovely ladies: Amanda over at MarocMama; Rebecca over at Peace, Love and Bagels; and Nadia at Cooking My Way to Healthy. I could tell when they received my cookies, because I got notifications they were suddenly following me on Twitter, and then we talked about cookies. Not too shabby!
And you know what else is great? I instantly connected with these people. Amanda also has a family tradition of pizzelles, which I can best describe as waffle cone cookies, only SO much better. Mildred used to make them with anise, which is licorice flavoring. I hate licorice but always liked her cookies. Somehow, though, when I tried making them with anise once, they weren't as good. So I make mine vanilla or lemon. These were classic vanilla, and they're one of my favorites.
1 cup margerine (2 sticks) Use Fleishman's or any "no water added" brand (I actually used unsalted butter and they turned out fine)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. extract (Lemon or Anise work well) OR 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1. Melt margerine and let cool
2. Beat eggs thououghly until frothy
3. Add sugar gradually to eggs-beat well
4. SLOWLY add cooled margerine, beat well as you do so
5. Add extract or vanilla
6. Add flour---a little at a time and mix well after each addition
7. Chill dough---minimum of 2 hours, overnight or as much as several days to enrich flavors
8. Using a small cookie scoop bake cookies following Pizzelle maker directions--dough will be sticky. Cookies will be soft and flexible right off the baker.
9. Use cooling racks and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container. These are best crispy, in my opinion, so it's not the end of the world if you leave them out for a while.