Thursday, December 12, 2013

It was cookie swap...again

The second Tuesday of the month is usually bookclub night, but we take a break in December (& July & August) leaving the 2nd Tuesday in December available for the holiday cookie swap.  Which works in nicely with the month's Lotto Linky topic:  FOOD.

I confess, a week before cookie swap I start kicking myself for not starting earlier, but it more or less works out in the end.  Our cookie swap rules are simple:  make cookies, bring cookies, exchange cookies.  Still I usually manage to screw up in some way.

It all begins with the cookies.  Make a couple dozen.  Or more.  Because all cookies are not created equal.  I make sugar & walnuts things rolled onto balls & plonked in colored sugar.  M****** makes mini-pecan pies.  V** makes buckeyes, the original (& much better tasting) peanut butter cups.  Their cookies take effort; mine really don't.  So I kind of think of 1/2 dozen of theirs equals 12+ of mine.  Maybe even 24+.  Maybe even more.  Seriously, I make them by the pound.

Still, it is worth the effort for all of us.  Sure, your kitchen gets turned upside down making a bulk of one maybe two kinds of cookies BUT you unload the cookies you are a little bit sick of & get back a nice mix to make up very pretty plates for your neighbors & co-workers  Or to eat on the drive home, your choice.

I made what I make every year (that is the beauty if cookie swap, you don't have to worry about too much of one cookie...yet another first world problem): 

Christmas Nut Balls (indeed)

2 sticks of butter, softened
--I prefer to use unsalted butter & then I add sea salt.  The general rule is up to 3/4 tsp of salt per stick, but you can do what you want.  This makes it easier to make a low sodium version if that is what you want.
2 tsp of vanilla
--put them in the mixer & let it run for awhile
1/3 cup of sugar
--toss it in the mixer & let it run awhile longer
2 tsp of water
--add while the mixer is still running
2 cups of flour
--sift the flour. Add it to the mixer, while it runs.
1 cup of walnuts
--I take whole shelled nuts & pulverize them with a mortar & pestle.  The largest pieces are maybe the size of a peppercorn or two...or three, but most of them are reduced to powder.  Tip them into the mixer & let it run until it is smooth smooth smooth.

Yes, I could call these mixer cookies.  It would be impossible to overmix them.  All this mixing (& all that butter) means everything will go easier if you chill it in the fridge for an hour or so.  So you can call them fridge cookie, too.

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Spoon dough into balls (or roll using your hands), roll in sugar, bake 20-25 minutes.  Cookies crumble easily when they first come out of the oven, but set as they cool.


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