my first (ever) cookie swap!

8:42 AM

This past weekend I hosted my very first cookie swap! After a random idea and a post on a whim on Facebook, I had what I expected to be a good handful of attendees, however, after a lot of illnesses and other medical emergencies of a few of my expected attendees, it ended up being a small house. No worries! That just meant more cookies and wine for us.

If you have never been to or hosted a cookie swap, it is precisely what it sounds like. A cookie swap is a way for friends to get together and exchange recipes while providing tasty samples for all to enjoy. A guest is required to bring roughly a dozen cookies per guest for tasting and for the attendees to take home along with recipe cards for each. Coffee and tea are a must and wine and other spirits optional. It's basically an excuse for adults to have "grown up time" and have adult conversations whilst consuming adult goods.

As hostess I prepared three different cookies for sampling and also visited a quaint little Amish candy store in the Reading Terminal Market for some sweets treats and the Hatfield Meats stand at the same for some rich cheeses and cured meats for cutting. Some crackers and biscuits with homemade blackberry cinnamon jam finished the spread for the hungry guests. And although I had a lot of drop-outs thanks to the incredibly warm weather we are having here (with the accompanying revival of every bug and virus there is to date), the company we did have was warm, full of conversation (some politically charged - but then again what else to grown ups talk about but religion, politics, and family!)


Peanut Crunch, Sugar Plum Candies, and Maple Bites from the Reading Terminal in Little Dishes

Now more about the cookies!

Lemon Crinkles, Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, and Dark Pfeffernusse Cookies on Display

Like I said, I made three different cookies to share for the swap: lemon crinkles, dark pfeffernusse cookies,and pecan rounds all from my favorite cookie book, Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, which Terry bought me for Christmas quite a few years ago and I have used every year to pack our holiday parties with yummy sweets.
Some Brown Sugar Pecan Rounds on Display with Room for Treats Made by Our Guests

I picked these three because they had rich ingredients that compliment the tastes and smells of the holidays. The lemon cookies are super soft with just the right amount of sweetness for those who are not a fan of the deep, cinnamon-nut flavors that are synonymous of the season; the dark pfeffernusse are a play on the pepper cookies that are a German tradition made with molasses (treacle) and anise; and the pecan rounds are rich with a soft, creamy texture packed with crushed pecans and brown sugar. Our guests also brought traditional holiday sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and yummy molasses cookies! There was plenty left over for the taking and still enough for us to bring to friends and neighbors who could not make it that night.

Below you can find the recipes I used for my three preparations. I can't recommend the Betty Crocker's Cooky Book highly enough: it is packed with delicious, traditional recipes, many of which have been around for generations. They include ingredients that were even Great Depression ready along with some award winning recipes that go beyond cookies Most of the recipes use ingredients that bakers and homemakers traditionally have on hand and, if not, a quick google search can help with preparing substitutions, 

Lemon Crinkles

        • 1/2 cup shortening
        • 1 cup brown sugar
        • 1 egg
        • 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
        • 1 1/2 cup flour
        • 1/2 tsp soda
        • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
        • 1/4 ts salt
        • 1/4 ts ginger
        • granulated sugar for dipping

Heat oven to 350. Mix shortening, sugar, and egg thoroughly; blend in lemon rind. Blend dry ingredients and stir into sugar mixture. Roll into 1" balls and dip tops in granulated sugar. Bake on un-greased baking sheet for 10 - 12 minutes.


Spices Pecan Cookies


        • 1/2 cup shortening
        • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
        • 1 egg
        • 1 3/4 cups flour
        • 2 tsp baking powder
        • 1/2 tsp salt

        • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
        • 1/2 tsp ginger
        • 1/2 ts cloves
        • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
        • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
        • pecan halves for decoration


Heat oven to 375. Mix shortening, sugar and egg thoroughly. Blend dry ingredients; stir into sugar mixture. Stir in chopped pecans. Roll into 1" balls and place 2" apart on greased baking sheet. Place pecan half on top of each cookie, flattening slightly. Bake 10 - 12 minutes.


Dark Pfeffernusse Cookies

        • 1/2 cup shortening 
        • 3/4 cup brown sugar 
        • 1 egg 
        • 1/2 cup molasses 
        • 1 tsp anise extract 
        • 3 1/3 cups flour
        • 1/2 tsp soda 
        • 1/4 tsp salt 
        • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
        • 1/2 tsp cloves


Heat oven to 350. Mix shortening, sugar, egg, molasses, and anise. Blend dry ingredients; mix into shortening mixture by hand gradually. Knead dough until right consistency for molding. old into balls of 3/4" diameter and place on greased baking sheet. Bake about 12 minutes. Cookies harden on sanding. Store in an airtight container with apple slices to mellow them.

I hope you enjoy the recipes! I can't wait to have another party to try out some more!

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