Great Food Blogger Cookie Exchange 2013: Denver

11 Dec

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I’m so glad to be doing this lovely swap for a third year running! I imagine it is a formidable amount of work for Lindsay and Julie, who organize it each year, so I want to thank each of them so much for doing this. The organization raised almost $14,000 to fight children’s cancer this year. Remarkable! Shout out to you two, and to your corporate partners who matched donations. Oxo sent me some totally amazing silicone spatulas, which I basically haven’t put down since they arrived. They’re mega high quality and I love them.

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This year, I went a different route than my typical cookie exchange cookie, and I’m not sure I think it was a great idea, retrospectively. Past years have brought chocolate-cherry biscotti and cranberry noels to my kitchen, both of which I thought were delicious but outwardly plain cookies. This year, I wanted to try a simple taste with some graphic flash! I made plain ‘ol vanilla sugar cookies, dying half of the dough and rolling them into swirled logs. They looked ok when they were done, but I wasn’t thrilled with their overall quality (more on this later).

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The recipe itself was about as straightforward as possible. I used Martha Stewart’s Perfect Sugar Cookie recipe pretty much unmodified. I actually made a triple batch, because I needed to get at least 48 cookies out of it (and I remembered last year’s ordeal when I had to go back and make an extra batch in the end to get me to 48).

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I always forget how dense sugar cookie dough is!  Adding in all that flour definitely put some strain on my beloved hand-mixer.

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Pulled out my trusty gel food coloring…

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I separated the dough into fourths, coloring two of the fourths (I decided I wanted red/white pinwheels and blue/white pinwheels).

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After chilling, I rolled them out, and chilled them some more!

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Assembly was surprisingly easy. Using a water wash, I was able to stack colored dough on uncolored dough, line edges up, and roll. It took some effort to roll them evenly. To prevent any gaps inside the swirls, I rolled the logs around for quite a while.

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Finally, a water bath went on the outside, and each log got rolled in goodies.

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This part was so messy!

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The red/white log was rolled in crushed peppermint, and the blue/white log was rolled in snowflake-shaped sprinkles.

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I let the logs chill in the fridge, then, finally, sliced and baked the cookies!

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Like I mentioned above, I wasn’t amazed at how these turned out. They were cute enough, but they spread a lot more than I thought they would, so they weren’t very uniform. Also, I’m a nitwit, and I didn’t think about the fact that the peppermint chips on the red/white cookies would melt in the oven! Duh. The best-laid plans, I tell you. Finally, I wasn’t amazed at the texture of these cookies; they turned out pretty hard. However, they were good with a cup of tea or milk to dunk them into, and they were certainly more graphic than previous swap efforts. I thought it was fun to branch out and do something decorative this year!

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My batches went out to Justina at Fail Sweetly, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla, and Laura at Pink Cake Plate. I included a little homemade card in each package, because someone did that for me during my first year, and I really loved the tidbits that author included about herself. All three of these blogs are varied, beautiful, and interesting. I hope the cookies arrived intact!

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This year, for the first time ever, I got all three of my official swap cookies on the same day! I’d had a loooong Wednesday at work, followed by commute home from work that took almost 90 minutes due to a snowstorm, but I got home to three packages!

One was from Harvey at Baked Chicago. I was telling my roommates that one of the things I like the most about the GFBCS is that you get folks from all walks of life – form college kids to grandparents to professional cooks! Harvey definitely lies on the latter side of that spectrum, from what I can tell from his website. His cookies were variations on soft-baked gingersnap molasses cookies; some were plain, some were filled with chocolate, and some were filled with chocolate and topped with granola. All of them were delicious, and Harvey’s packaging/presentation was beautiful. He also sent me a copy of his e-cookbook, which I think was amazingly kind. Thank you, Harvey! I can’t wait to make some brownies 🙂

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Another batch were from Renee at Tortillas and Honey. Her beautiful blog looks mostly focused on New Mexican cuisine – which is near and dear to my heart. I’m a Coloradan, but I loooove New Mexican food. I may or may not have already bookmarked some of her posts for my future meals. Renee sent chocolate peppermint crinkles, which were truly phenomenal. Like, ho-ly mo-ly. The texture on these puppies was absolutely flawless…they pretty much literally melted in your mouth!  I will be making a batch or two of these to give as gifts to local friends, I think. Thank you, Renee!

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My final batch were absolutely wonderful thyme-sea salt chocolate chip cookies. These were a big hit in my apartment. I really appreciated the twist on a classic, and they were expertly executed – delightfully salty, but not over salted (I imagine this was a narrow line to walk), and the thyme was a great foil to the chocolate. Regrettably, this package didn’t come with any contact information, just a note that said “Thyme sea salt chocolate chip cookies, from Jenni”. Jenni, wherever you are, thank you so much for these!

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As tradition holds, Nora and I each make a fourth dozen and include them in our Christmas packages to each other. You can read about Nora’s batch here, but I can tell you first-hand that they were a. maze. ing.  I looooove pecan sandies, and Nora’s were excellent, with a crumbly texture that was to die for. Plus, they were mega cute. Thanks, girl.

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7 Responses to “Great Food Blogger Cookie Exchange 2013: Denver”

  1. Renee @ Tortillas and Honey December 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    Your cookies are so beautiful and festive! You had some very lucky recipients! I am so glad that you liked the cookies that I sent you and thank you for your very kind words! I also received goodies from Harvey and am so excited to try his brownie recipes! 🙂

  2. Justina December 11, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Thank you Hannah! Your cookies are delicious. I take them with me to work to munch on 😀

  3. Jenni (@GingeredWhisk) December 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    Yay! I’m glad you liked my sea salt and thyme chocolate chip cookies! I realized after I mailed them I forgot to write what blog I write at, LOL, so here I am! 🙂

    • incrediblyhannah December 28, 2013 at 6:13 am #

      Ahh! Jenni! I’m so happy that you tracked me down! Your cookies were fabulous, thank you so much!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013: Portland | catsandcommas - December 11, 2013

    […] of course there were Hannah’s lovely sugar cookies, which I especially enjoyed with a nice cup of peppermint Christmas […]

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    […] Hannah: Swirled Sugar Cookies […]

  3. The 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap Round Up Part 2 | the little kitchen - October 1, 2016

    […] Sugar Cookie Pinwheels CatsandCommas […]

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