Friday, December 10, 2010

The Life of a Cookie Swap

I baked cookies all day yesterday and got up at 5 a.m. this morning to finish up. Yep, I have a cookie exchange tonight. I like that the tradition of a cookie exchange continues. I organized my first one 25 years ago. Five friends and five people who liked to bake. We didn't have rules per se, but it was pretty much understood that you needed to "bake" the cookies. Some were very clever at getting out of baking. Like the one year we each got rolls of cookie dough to bake at our leisure because "they're better fresh." One year someone gave us the mix in a cute jar so we could put them together when we liked. And then there was the year that someone hired the school cafeteria baker to make her cookies for her. Like anything that continues over time, there were stories and memories that would be resurrected every year. It was a joyful event that got on the calendar early. Eventually, everyone's kids left home, and though we didn't have a need for 10 dozen cookies, we kept baking, mainly for the friendship and annual gathering. We carried on our exchange for 20 years, even after I moved 75 miles away.

This year, my exchange is with my daughter and her friends. Martha Stewart has had quite the effect on young bakers and it'll be interesting to compare the generations. I have a feeling not much will have changed, except maybe the recipes will be more elaborate.

My recipe this year is Simple Sesames, which are simple enough, but time consuming, as evidenced by the amount of time I have spent. A rich, buttery cookie that bakes for 30 minutes at 300 degrees.

Simple Sesames
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1 cup sesame seeds (I toasted these)
2 cups coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds (I used the slivered ones, then chopped)

Cream butter, gradually adding sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add flour and mix until just combined. Stir in sesame seed, coconut and nuts until well mixed. Divide dough into thirds. Place one third on wax paper and shape into roll 2" in diameter. Repeat with remaining dough and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Slice into 1/4" slices. Bake at 300 degrees on ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet.


Katy said...

I love a good tradition!! And what a better option that involves cookies!! We'll have to share notes after the weekend. I'm going with your vote - chocolatey caramel thumbprints. I'm making them tonight - my only concern: the recipe doesn't say how many cookies it yeilds... so we'll see if I am scrambling!! Have a great time - MERRY MERRY!!! xoxo kt

Jennifer said...

These sound delicious! Can't wait to hear how the "SWAP" was. But if it even closely resembles Sarah's cupcakes endeavors, you're in for a awesome treat. Better save some for Tommy...

Sarah said...

Cookie swap was a success!!! All the cookies (I've sampled) are fabulous!!!

Sara said...

Twenty years of cookie swap memories is "a good thing". Your recipe reminded me of gingerbread cookies that I made which required refrigeration before baking. It was also a simple recipe but time consuming. After I am settled in my new home....I will get out the cookbook and make them for my daughter. The last time was when she was seven! And that's way too long ago!

Thanks for sharing your recipe. I will try that too!