This year I did something a little unusual for me – I participated in a cookie swap… The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, to be exact. This was the inaugural swap. I traded cookies with some bloggers I didn’t know – there was a little mystery to it, but I enjoyed that aspect of it. Not to mention the promise of cookies. My verdict – super fun!
I came across this cookie swap via a link on Facebook – the swap is run by Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen. So, I went to their site, filled out the form and expressed one preference – that the cookies be made with natural sweeteners. I was fortunate to be paired up with people that were open to this preference, and I got two out of three dozen cookies that worked with that preference. They both used coconut sugar, which is very cool.
The first cookies I received were from Anna. She made these absolutely delicious chocolate mint shortbread cookies in fun shapes – fluted circles and stars. They were made with coconut sugar and were decorated with a high cacao content chocolate, too. I loved how they were packaged in a pretty Christmas tin, complete with a beautiful handmade card. Chocolate and mint is one of my very favorite combinations, so this was a serious treat.
Then Kiri’s cookies arrived – cinnamon spiced butterscotch chip pecan cookies. These were made with coconut palm sugar and stevia and were very tasty. I loved them with a cup of chai tea – a perfect combination. I also have a long standing love of butterscotch chips – not the most nutrient dense of foods, but they hold special memories for them, so I smile whenever I eat something that contains them.
Finally, Suzanne’s cookies arrived – cocoa fudge cookies. While they weren’t made with natural sugars, they were made with quality ingredients and a surprise – thick greek yogurt in place of the egg. While you know I do not shy away from eggs, I loved the moistness the yogurt provided in these cookies. They were very rich and chocolaty tasting. My boyfriend loved them, too. They were perfect with a glass of raw milk.
As for me, I made Russian Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies, which are a variant on the Russian pryaniki, a gingerbread cookie without molasses. Traditionally they are made by rolling out the dough, cutting out circles, putting jam on top of one and covering that with the other. Kimi at The Nourishing Gourmet simplified this and made them into thumbprint cookies. I made further adjustments with the ingredients, too.
These cookies are sweetened with honey – some of which was raw and unfiltered – and use four different spices. I also used plum vanilla jam I made this summer, from the plums in my backyard. I think that jam went really well with these cookies, which are really so tasty and very Christmassy. They made my house smell amazing when I was baking them!
I will definitely make these again.
Many thanks to Lindsay and Julie for putting together this blogger event. And many thanks to Anna, Kiri, and Suzanne for sending me such awesome cookies! I hope we can do more exchanges in the future, too.
If you’re interested in participating next year (and I hear there will be a next year), feel free to sign up on the email list Lindsay and Julie have going. They’ll send you updates and you’ll be notified when you can sign up next year for the cookie swap. And if you want to see all the different kinds of cookies that were swapped, check out the swap’s Facebook page.
Adapted from the recipe by The Nourishing Gourmet. I found that a large cookie baked for a shorter time made for a much more satisfying cookie overall. I love how cakey these cookies are, and the flavors of the spices and citrus makes it perfect for the holiday season. Your home will smell highly enticing while these cookies are baking in the oven!
1/3 cup pasture butter
1/2 cup honey – preferably local and from a known beekeeper
juice of 1/2 an orange
1 large egg, lightly beaten, pastured if possible
1 3/4 to 2 cups sprouted whole grain flour or white flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp each: ground cardamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon
3 Tbs almond flour
1 Tbs orange zest, preferably organic
1 tsp lemon zest, preferably organic
Approximately 1/2 cup of thick jam
Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
In a small saucepan, heat the oil/butter and honey just until melted. Add the juice of half an orange and incorporate that into the butter and honey.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, soda, salt, spices, almond flour, orange and lemon zest until well combined. Add the beaten egg to the dry ingredients, and incorporate it as best as you can. Add the oil, honey, and orange juice mixture. Fold the wet and dry ingredients into together until combined, but careful not to overmix or stir too hard, as the dough (and resulting cookie) can become tough.
Take a small amount of the dough into your hands, and roll it into about a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Place balls on a silpat or parchment covered cookie sheet. Using your thumb, stick it into the dough ball, making a good sized indent. Using a small spoon, or teaspoon, put in enough jam to fill the indent. Fill the cookie sheet with 12 cookies, evenly spaced apart.
Bake the cookies in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the cookies start to ever so slightly brown. Cool on cooling racks.
Makes approximately 18-24 cookies.