Sunday, October 28, 2007

Annual Cookie Swap

Last year was the first time in years that I didn't host an annual cookie swap. Things just don't feel right when you let a tradition fall by the wayside. So I will be picking it up again this year. In the past, I have always invited 8-10 people to participate. We each make a dozen for each participant, plus a dozen to share at the exchange. So you make about 9-11 dozen of one cookie type, but get to bring home 8-10 dozen different cookie types. I get the recipes from each person a little early so I can compile a small recipe book for each person that joins us. I always do this shortly before Thanksgiving so people have plenty to share for the entire holiday season.

This is the recipe I'll make this year, I believe it is based on a cookie recipe from the December 1995 issue of Southern Living (The Twelve Doughs of Christmas). However, I'm not 100% sure on that. If you don't want to go through the trouble of making Candy Canes, eliminate the red food coloring and the egg in the topping and just mix the crushed peppermint candy from the topping into the cookies, roll the dough in small balls and press with glass dipped in the sugar from the topping to make circles and bake. I've made them this way for many year and they are my favorite easy Christmas cookie. For the cookie swap, I'll actually take the time to make them into Candy Canes though.

Candy Canes

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. shortening, softened
1 c. confectioners sugar
2 1/2 c. unsifted all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. red food coloring
3/4 t. peppermint extract

1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. finely crushed peppermint candy
1 egg white

In large bowl with electric mixer ( medium speed,) cream butter, shortening, sugar, and egg until light and fluffy. Add extracts. In medium bowl, combine flour and salt, gradually add to creamed mixture and continue beating just until combined.

Divide dough in half; add food coloring to one half, mixing well. Wrap each half in waxed paper and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Pull off about 1 teaspoon of each dough ( white and pink). On lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 5 inch long rope. Place ropes side by side and carefully twist together.

Place on greased cookie sheet and shape to form a candy cane. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-10 minutes, or until golden at edges. Remove from oven and place on wax paper. Brush lightly with egg whites and sprinkle candy topping over cookies. Let cool and place in air tight container.

Serves : 36

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