We’re pretty deep into the holiday season, which means we’re deep into the most intense cookie consumption months of the entire year. I don’t know why cookie exchanges are limited to the winter – cookies are my desert of choice, and I’d be over the moon if I could entice people to trade them with me year-round. Anyway, my dietary preferences aside, I want to highlight one very special cookie exchange I participated in this winter: The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!
This cookie exchange is run by two of my favorite bloggers, Julie at The Little Kitchen, and Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil. I’ve been a longtime reader of both blogs, and I’m honestly shocked that this year was my first time hearing about the cookie exchange. The program is pretty cool – you pay $4 to join the cookie exchange, the proceeds of which benefit a charity (Cookies for Kids Cancer this year), and you’re sent the names and addresses of 3 other bloggers to whom you send your cookies! You can also choose to accept products from sponsors. I was stoked to receive these heat resistant spatulas from Oxo! I’m not joking when I say I have an entire drawer dedicated to spatulas. I think my roommate thinks I’m completely bonkers.
I was feeling crafty, so I decided to make my cookie recipients a brand new cookie jar with words of encouragement for 2014. I lost the light by the time I packaged them up for shipment, so you’re stuck with a too-dark insta-pic of the fully-wrapped jars. I broke the rules a little bit and sent my recipients the recipe with my cookies. I hope this doesn’t mean I’ll be blacklisted next year.
Quick Jar Tutorial
Materials: jars (size of your choice), fabric ribbon (should be 2-3 inches wide, wireless works best), embellishment glue (must adhere to glass); cardboard stickers, tape (optional), rubber bands (optional).
- Cut out the stickers with the backing attached (you can just cut out the letters that you’ll be using).
- Lay your jar flat and arrange the stickers (backing still attached) into the phrase you want. I’m partial to “eat more cookies” and “cookies everyday”, but, you know, go with what suits you. Once you make sure your phrase fits properly, you can use a bit of tape to adhere the plastic backing to the jar so that everything stays in its place while you glue on the letters. If you’re an experienced crafter or the tape is just too much effort for you, skip it. Just make sure your design fits before you start gluing.
- Working one letter at a time, remove the backing (and the tape, if you used it) and carefully dot the embellishment glue along the sticky side of the letter. Press the sticker gently against the glass (not too hard, you’ll cause the glue to squish out the sides) and hold in place for a few seconds. It doesn’t matter if the whole sticker does not lay flat on the jar. This glue is serious business and will hold everything in place.
- Repeat step 3 until the entire phrase is glued to the jar. Let dry according to your glue’s instructions (will probably be 24 hours).
- Optional: If you want to add a ribbon embellishment to the bottom of the jar, cut a length of ribbon that wraps around the jar one time (with a slight overlap at the edges). Apply a thin line of embellishment glue to the top and bottom of the ribbon, and press into the jar. Carefully slide the rubber bands over the edges of the ribbon so that they press the ribbon into the glass while the glue dries. They should be safe to remove after an hour; at this time, add a final layer of glue along the ribbon seam and press together.
- Cut another length of ribbon that just wraps around the mouth of the jar; screw the lid on to hold it in place. Voila! (I don’t recommend gluing the top piece to the jar – it will get wet when you clean the jar).
- To clean: wipe out the inside with a damp paper towel or sponge. The glue is waterproof, but the ribbon and stickers are not!
And now for the cookies:
I made these 4 times before I got the recipe right. FOUR. TIMES. I went through nearly 5 lbs of flour, 5 lbs of sugar, 3 lbs of butter, 2 cans of pumpkin, an entire jar of molasses, and all of my ground ginger. I almost gave up and made my trusty snickerdoodles… but I knew the world of pumpkin lovers would be forever grateful if I could pull this off.
These cookies are dense and chewy, like a ginger molasses cookie, and loaded with delicious pumpkin pie spices. Most importantly: they crinkle – a word and phenomenon I obsessed over during the million hours I spent squinting through the glass of my oven door, praying for the iconic crinkles to make an appearance.
These cookies actually get better overnight, so while I fully recommend digging into them as soon as they’re cool, make sure you save at least one to sample the next day. The flavor becomes even more pronounced, and the texture changes ever so slightly.
- 2 1/4 C all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground clove
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 C butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 3/4 C granulated sugar
- 1/3 C molasses
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 C pumpkin puree
- 1 C demerara sugar for coating
- Mise en place, and read this recipe all the way through.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together the melted butter, sugar, and molasses until fully combined.
- Add the egg yolk and mix until combined, then add the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree and again, whisk until combined.
- Add the flour to the butter mixture in 3 additions, using the paddle attachment or a hand mixer to beat until combined after each.
- Portion out appx 1 TBSP of dough and gently roll into a ball, and roll the ball in the demerara sugar.
- Place the sugared dough balls on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake - one sheet at a time - at 400 degrees for 7-9 minutes. The cookies will still look a bit raw between the cracks; this is what you want.
- Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet (this finishes the cooking), then enjoy!
Happy baking! Let me know how this recipe works out for you in the comments below!