‘Tis the season for garland. 24 hours of Christmas carols on the radio. Christmas movies overflowing on Netflix…which leads to White Christmas and continuous loop finding their way into the same sentence. Rooftops outlined in twinkle lights…making me question people’s idea of what a straight line actually is … because if it means wavy, they are spot on – or maybe their houses need re-roofed and if that is the case, I am just being an ass…however, butthead or not, I continue to wish people would stop outlining their houses in lights if they have no desire to make the lights straight or if they have a crooked roof. They make these for a reason. And since I am on a roll here… let’s talk about the infamous Leg Lamp and A Christmas Story or as I refer to as the worst Christmas movie … ever. I am fully aware of this so-called crazy stance against an ‘American classic’…but, I can’t pretend to like something that awful. I tried, I failed. I stand firm in my distaste.
I love Christmas. I swear. I love…
The decorated trees – deciduous and coniferous alike- to be draped in twinkle lights – making city centers absolutely magical.
Christmas caroling…or at least the charming idea of such an event. An activity, I believe, I missed out on by merely being born in the wrong decade/century.
Christmas Eve midnight church service. Where it begins at the top of the final hour of a day full of anticipation and preparation, squished into pews among friends and family. There is a gentle buzz of conversation that rises and falls as the church fills with followers…This is a place where we celebrate the reason for the following day, Jesus Christ’s birth…where the service ends as the first minutes of Christmas day arrive and we stand and sing Silent Night by candle light. This is my favorite tradition.
And of course…
Cookie swapping or exchanging or trading – whatever your circle goes by is fine, because when it comes to cookies and friends – umm, it’s just bonkers amazing! (and yes, I just followed up church service with cookies) And who to take cookie swapping to the next level than we food bloggers. I have seen this food blogging cookie swapping extravaganza from afar for the past 2 years and finally decided to join in all the fun this year. Julie from The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil have created quite an event….inviting food bloggers from anywhere and everywhere to join together to not only bake and swap cookies and share our love of butter, sugar, and flour…but also raise money for Cookies For Kids’ Cancer and to spread Christmas cheer.
From explaining this event to others not in the food blogging community, most are floored by the friendliness, friendship, and trust that is and has always been overflowing in this dear community. It is not surprising that people baking cookies and cakes and pies in their kitchens aren’t lovely people, but that a group of people, who in all rights are competing for the same audience and readers, are so willing to work together and achieve together and be such a tight knit bunch. And the trust…many have asked me ‘ you mean, you are going to eat cookies shipped to you from a stranger’…without thinking, my answer has been a quick and firm ‘yes‘. And trust me, the cookies have been delicious!
In our efforts to raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and with help from the lovely sponsors, we as a food blogging community raised over $13,000. Wow, right?
To say I am thankful to find myself in and among these folk is an understatement.
Once we signed up, we were then emailed our cookie swapping matches. I mailed my cookies to Laurie from Crunchy Gooey; Carly from Icing on the Cake; and Shari from Tickled Red. I devoured cookies from Deanna in New York – she baked crunchy molasses cookies that took me right back to my grandmother’s kitchen. Deanna, so good! Valerie, from Pursuit of Sweetness , made banana bread sugar cookies with a brown sugar cinnamon glaze that took me by surprise. It is no secret, that I am not a ‘fan’ of banana baked goods (as mentioned here and here), however these cookies – HOLY SMOKES! I had to hide them from myself in the depths of my freezer behind the bacon and well, more bananas. Could not, would not stop eating. And finally, Cait from The Patriotic Baker baked chocolate peppermint sandwich cookies – think homemade peppermint Oreos – yeah they are as good as you think they might be. Girls, you seriously out did yourselves! Plus, the packaging … seriously?!? I need to up my game next year. Game on food bloggers. Game on.
So what cookies did I mail across the country? Chocolate Pistachio Sables. A chocolate shortbread like cookie…AKA durable when in the hands of the United States Postal Service. Chopped bittersweet chocolate…because what is the harm in more chocolate? And pistachios….a punch of salty nutty flavor and peeps, they are GREEN!
‘Tis the season. ‘Tis the season.
- 2+1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2+1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1+1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg white
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped (salted or unsalted)
- Flaky sea salt (used Maldon)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, and vanilla, until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Reduce mixer speed to low, and add dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Beat in egg white.
- Fold in chopped chocolate and pistachios.
- Divide dough into 2 sections and form into 2 logs measuring about 8 inches x 2 inches or so. Wrap tightly in parchment paper (or plastic wrap or tinfoil) and place in fridge for at least 3-4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cut logs into ¼ to ½ inch thick cookie rounds and place cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets about ½ inch apart from each other. Sprinkle cookies with flaky sea salt
- Bake in preheated oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to finish cooling.
Recipe Adapted from Bon Appétit December 2013