The first year I participated in the Great Blogger Cookie Swap (2011 – the year they started it) I titled my post “Cookies = Joy. Period.” I reflected on how much joy cookies bring to the people who receive and eat them.
Well this year I took the struggle bus to cookie town and joy was the last thing I was feeling.
Baking for this year’s swap was too hectic (Thanksgiving weekend), too stressful (ditto), too under-planned (Ms. Indecisive), too expensive (because I used the wrong shipping boxes), too messy (sorry Mike!) and I completely lost sight of the bottom line, that Cookies = Joy. Period.
Normally, I’m just bursting with warm-and-fuzzies when I bake for others. Receiving a picture text of my dad gleefully devouring the box of whoopie pies I sent for Thanksgiving or the comical message inquiring “are there crack in these?!,” are worth every mess, the minutes spent and the groceries purchased.
Luckily I was able to put on my big-boy-baker pants, get these things done and find that cookie joy I knew I had in me.
Now back to my revelation.
The thing that makes the GFBCS so magical, so special is the 360 degree joy; it lets the baker experience joy as the giver and the receiver.
Despite having a freezer full of cookie we’ve made over the past
week months, we bakers really enjoy receiving something once in a while too. And they say that things always taste better when someone else makes it.
So bakers, keep baking because it makes you happy. And cookie-eaters, express that joy and that baker in your life is sure to keep your cookie jar full.
Cookies = joy. Period. Spread the joy.
On to my recipe for the 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1 large egg
Caramel Cream Filling
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 stick butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup caramel sauce
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake oats on the top rack until lightly brown (about 10 minutes). Make sure to stir them once.
- Set aside to cool (don’t put hot oats in the batter).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating just until combined.
- Stir in toasted oats.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon-sized portions and drop onto cookie sheet, leaving space for spreading.
- Flatten the dough slightly with the bottom of a glass.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until slightly brown.
- While the cookies cool, prepare the filling. Mix cream cheese and butter until creamy.
- Slowly add the powdered sugar.Pour in the caramel and mix just until combined.
- Frost the bottoms of half of the cookies and top with remaining cookies.
You can also roll the cookies in colored holiday sprinkles for a festive look.
The Send Off
After the cookies were baked and assembled I packaged them up in Tupperware with ribbon and tags I typed on our typewriter. I’m never sure the best way to pack the cookies, so I’m interested to find out if they make it in one piece.
I bet you’re wondering what cookies I got. I was incredibly lucky this year to receive cookies from three fantastic bakers. They were:
- Sticky Toffee Pudding Cookies from Southern Sweets & Eats: First of all, these get an A+ for packaging. Each cookie was individually wrapped, which made it way to easy to pop one into my pocket on the way out the door…Second, they were delicious. Soft, a bit of spice and not overly sweet.
Sugar Cookies with Peppermint Frosting from A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt: As I was opening the box I was literally thinking “I hope I get something with mint” and there they were. Soft sugar cookies with just the right amount of mint. It was love at first bite.
Nutty Maple Date Cookies & Tropical Peanut Butter Balls from True Blue Baking: Jackpot! This generous baker included two types of cookies. The nutty maple date cookies knocked my socks of – I can’t wait to see what the frosting was on top of those things. The PB balls were a solid and winning combo. A-mazing.
Now in its third year, the premise is this: eligible food bloggers sign up. Receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. Send each of them one dozen delicious homemade cookies. Receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers. Eat them all yourself (or, you know, share. If you want. No judgement either way.) Post your cookie recipe on your blog. See everyone else’s cookie recipes. Salivate. Get lots of great ideas for next year’s cookie swap. Rinse and repeat.
Participants donate $5 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and the swap’s sponsors match our donations. This year the group raised $13,778.40!
Learn more or sign up for the GFBCS.