Cookie swap 2016

Every year, my good friend Jenn invites a group of like-minded professional women to her lovely home for my favourite event of the year: her cookie swap.

The invite list comprises a curated group of her friends; some of us are more into baking than others, others more into cooking, one of us is an expert cookie decorator, but we all love to eat — and talk.

And talk we do, all the while standing around a buffet table of cheese and charcuterie, or banh mi sandwiches, or homemade sushi. Savoury to offset the sweet.  The afternoon passes quickly and I drive home on a sugar high, my heart full and with a take-home container overflowing with dozens of cookies.

The cookie swap is usually the event that launches the holiday season for me.

Looking back, last year I was feeling ill enough that it may have been wise to skip the cookie swap. But it’s a gathering I hate to miss. The one year I missed it, after giving birth just a few weeks before, Jenn was kind enough to bring me a tin filled with a sample of all the cookies.

A couple of months ago, when I began brainstorming ideas for the cookies I’d bake this year, I realized I never got around to blogging last year’s cookie swap additions.

That’s probably ok, though, I think, because some of you are looking for inspiration just about now.http://marynersessian.ca/?s=cookie+swap

With that said, I think it’s time we revisit the recipes from last year: Gingerbread butterscotch cookies, Danish salted butter cookies, and cinnamon roll cookies.

I had the highest hopes for the cinnamon roll cookies, both in presentation and taste, and while they were delicious and the recipe impeccable (as is usually the case with these with these Canadian Living “Tested Till Perfect” recipes), it was the gingerbread butterscotch cookies that really stole the show, in my opinion. Perhaps they were the most homely of the trio but they packed the most punch: spicy, dense, and satisfying.Thank you to my friend Jaime who suggested this recipe; it’s a keeper! I f you don’t love gingerbread, and the only chip you want is chocolate, skip this one and stick to the basics.

If you are looking for a more elegant presentation, the Danish salted butter cookies make a fine addition to serve someone you’d want to impress for tea. These are not, however, the Danish cookies that came in the blue round tin your grandmother later used for her sewing accessories! Do make a first batch to test out the baking time and do take that extra time to put them in the fridge before baking for tidier edges. Baking time may vary depending on the size of your cookie cutters. Another thing going for these cookies is the short ingredient list and the fact you can make the dough up to a month ahead of time and freeze it.

As for the cinnamon roll cookies, these may be the biggest hit among the under-13 crowd due to the icing. Just keep an eye on them in the oven. A couple minutes too long and they get slightly too crispy to be enjoyable. Unless you enjoy dunking them in milk, or tea.  And really, who doesn’t? (I like mine dunked rather quickly rather than a slow dunk that disintegrates it into warm crumbs.)

Would I make these again? Yes. In fact, I’m wondering if the butterscotch should make an appearance again this year…. Stay tuned!