Tag Archive for christmas cookies

Virtual Cookie Swap

If there’s one thing I love this time of the year, it’s making cookies. I know it’s just a silly little thing, but I think, in today’s world, people really like getting homemade cookies.

Normally, I’d make baking dates with friends, or I’d organize a cookie swap.

The idea of a cookie swap is you invite a bunch of friends over for an evening or an afternoon. Each friend brings a certain amount of cookies. I usually say 1 or 2 dozen–one dozen to swap, and 1 dozen to eat.

Then everyone puts out their cookies, and you take home the same amount of cookies you brought. You get to try different types of cookies, different recipes, and it’s always a fun, social event.

Clearly that’s not happening this year.

Virtual Xmas Cookie Exchange

But you can do a Virtual Cookie Swap.

There’s two different ways you can do it:

Cookie Swap: Each person in the swap bakes the required amount of cookies (1 doz, 2 doz, whatever you decide) and then wraps up that amount of cookies separately for each of the participants. Then you either mail or drop off the packages (safely–no contact). Then you organize a zoom call where you all open a bottle of wine, or even better, make a festive cocktail, and open and try your cookies all at once.

Virtual Cookie Swap (recipes): This will cost you less money in postage. Each person contributes a beloved favourite Christmas Cookie recipe, and the organizer puts them all together in an online “book.” You can use Evernote or OneNote for something like this (it even allows you to create chapters!). Then each of you can choose one or all of the recipes to make yourself. You can still have a zoom party.

Charity Component? One thing you might want to build into your virtual cookie swap is a charitable component. Maybe you’ll all donate to a specific cause, or agree to try to solicit donations for a specific cause. Many charities are suffering this year because of COVID, as they’ve been unable to do their normal fundraising campaigns and events. And this year, people are struggling more than ever. Or maybe you want to make extra cookies and donate them to your local homeless shelter.

You need music! You can create your own Spotify playlist (everyone can contribute their favourite songs) or use one that’s already been built.

Christmas Cocktails. If you wanna get real fancy, add the component of a Christmas Cocktail (for a few of my favourites, click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page) to your party. You can either send out the recipe in advance so everyone can pick up the ingredients, or even make little cocktail kits. A bunch of Vancouver restaurants are also offering ready-made cocktail kits.

Virtual Christmas Cookie Swap

I wanted to share with you a few of my personal favourite Christmas Cookie Recipes.

Salted Dark Chocolate Shortbread: super easy to make, these employ the “lazy” method of making shortbread. Few ingredients, but maximum impact.

Easy Spiced Chocolate Christmas Cookies:  Again, not hard to make, beautiful result.

Amaretti Cookies (vegan): Amaretti are those meringue-like, crispy cookies you get with your coffee in an Italian restaurant. This is my vegan version, using Aquafaba. Very festive!

Miniature Brownies: This is a Christmas recipe I’ve been making for a minimum of 20 years. They’re so yummy and festive.

Matcha Shortbread Cookies: all the shortbread recipes pack and ship well, but this one incorporates the green colour of matcha, so is extra festive.

Ginger Cookies: These are the real deal. With three types of ginger, they pack a punch!

Vegan Eggnog Cookies: They taste like eggnog! How can you go wrong?

Salted Dark Chocolate Shortbread

A few years back, when I first started my business, I’d bake mountains of Christmas cookies to distribute to my clients this time of the year. 

Well, times have changed. My teaching career took off, I entered the lucrative world of food blogging (LOL) and I slowly let my clients go. I mostly work with one major client these days. 

But I still really like baking cookies at this time of the year. Heck, at any time of the year, if we’re being honest. I’m kind of a snob about making sure Michael has homemade cookies in his lunch. And I don’t like visiting friends this time of the year empty-handed. And I do have cookie exchange this weekend… Salted Dark Chocolate Shortbread

So this year, I’m making three types of cookies. These ginger cookies are one of my faves this time of the year. I kick them up with a grating of fresh ginger and some chopped candied ginger. I’m also going to be making my vegan snickerdoodles (recipe is in my cookbook) for the vegans in the crowd, and then I made these. 

Now, to be fair, these were a very spur-of-the-moment decision. They were a bit of a risk. 

A couple weeks back, my friend Rob came into town to go to the Christmas Market with Michael and I. The next morning, after Michael had gone to school, Rob and I walked over to the downtown Lindt store before he caught the ferry back to the Sunshine Coast. I got Michael an advent calendar, and I stocked up on my favourite chocolate bar, which is the Lindt Dark Fleur de Sel. I am basically never without one of these in my house. I don’t eat a lot of them, maybe one square or two per night, but I like to have it on hand at all times. 

As we were leaving, I grabbed a Lindt-produced magazine to have a look at, as it had recipes, and I noticed this one for a chocolate shortbread. I figured I’d give it a go. 

I made the cookies and they were good. So good, in fact, that all the taste-testers concerned agreed they were blog-worthy. And I think these will now make it into my regular rotation. 

They’re super easy to make because you just make up the dough, then roll it into a log and then allow it to set up in the fridge. When you’re ready to bake them, just slice off rounds. It also freezes well, or you could gift people with logs of uncooked dough which they could bake themselves. 

By the way, this post is, in no way, shape or form sponsored by Lindt. But Lindt, if you’re reading… 😉 

Dark Chocolate Shortbread

Salted Dark Chocolate Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups butter, softened to room temp
  • 1 ½ icing sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 bar Sea Salt Dark Chocolate (or dark chocolate plus a little extra sea salt)

Method

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. 
  2. Add the salt and then the flour slowly (so as not to create an poof of flour), until it is incorporated. 
  3. Chop the chocolate bar into small pieces, and fold the chocolate into the dough. 
  4. Divide the dough into three even lumps, and then roll the lumps out into logs about 2″ in diameter. Wrap the logs snugly in wax paper or saran wrap, then place in the fridge to set. 
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  6. Slice the logs into 1/4″ to 1/2″ slices, and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a little extra grated chocolate and sea salt if desired. 
  7. Bake for around 9 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to be golden. 
  8. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.