---> Cooking Club is coming up soon, and now that I'm blogging, I want to share these moments but I thought I should play catch-up first. So without further ado, here (and in other posts) is what we've been up to. Enjoy!
#6 December: Cookie Exchange
Apricot [& Raspberry] Pinwheels
Chocolate Chip Spritz
Cream Cheese Spritz
Caramel Press Cookies
Chocolate Butterscotch Chip Cookies
Christmastime is here....so we thought, why not a cookie exchange? After all, a few of my close friends and I get together every season to spread the cookie cheer. We gather and bake cookies and belt Christmas carols and gossip and talk about our college days and how much we miss each other because life has taken over and we're crazy-busy. You know, girl stuff.
So when Cooking Club decided to make cookies its monthly theme, I was giddy with joy. I LOVE baking around the holidays! In fact, I had four (!) so-called gatherings scheduled for this season: one with my close friends, one with my mother-in-law, Cooking Club, and I always have one at home in case I didn't get a chance to make everything I wanted. [Trust me, my list contains so many recipes, I rarely get to them all.]
For this meeting, I had planned on making another cookie, but after that failed when I did a test run during my baking session with my mother-in-law, I chose to try the Apricot Pinwheels instead. Score! I found this recipe in a Betty Crocker pamphlet my mother-in-law picked up for me two years ago.
These were a lot of fun to make (especially when I got out my ruler and was all precise with my measurements to make sure I got the exact amount of cookies---because I'm OCD like that) and were even more delicious. I wanted to make a double batch, so when I ran out of apricot preserves, I substituted my favorite, raspberry. Ah-Mazing!
These little pinwheels are so yummy that they are now on my "Must-Make-Every-Christmas" cookie list (which is quickly becoming a very looong list). I even took some of these tasty treats home for my family Christmas, and my grandpa enjoyed them so much I had to promise to make him a special batch next year.
OK, so back on topic. We were one member down, again, this month. I guess Andrew isn't into the whole baking thing. "It's too girly." But Jessica made up for his absence because she decided to try three cookie recipes. Yay! More cookies!
Hmmm...or so I thought.
I guess an all-day baking extravaganza wasn't fitting for Cooking Club, especially with two young teenagers who became bored about two hours in. And decided to skip out and relax in the living room for the rest of the day. And brought the most complicated cookie recipes. Yeah, that happened.
Nine hours later, we were exhausted. We watched the day-light hours fade through the window as we continued mixing and baking and covering the kitchen floor in flour and forgetting that the oven temperature does continue to rise after it's been on for hours and hours, sadly burning the Mocha Madness batch.
Yeah, no more Cooking Club cookie exchanges. There really is an art to an all-day cookie baking event. Definitely not for rookies or the faint-of-heart.
|Check out my pinwheels! (Above left, the Eggnog Sandwiches & above right, the Chocolate Butterscotch Chips)|
P.S. The Chocolate Butterscotch Chip Cookies were awesome. Easily enough, the recipe was on the back of a Nestle Toll House bag of butterscotch chips. However, I can't seem to find the link for that exact recipe, but here is the web site. (Remember that episode of FRIENDS where Monica tries to duplicate Phoebe's grandma's cookie recipe? Hee hee. BTW, I LOVE FRIENDS, best show ever. I own all the seasons, watch them all the time, and I'm sure you will become tired of my FRIENDS references. But that is just something I cannot apologize for.)
*inspired by a Betty Crocker recipe
Makes 4 dozen
1 pkg (3 oz) cream cheese, softened (maybe next time try plain Greek yogurt?)
1 c butter (or go half with coconut oil and half butter)
1/4 c sugar, or sugar substitute (like Stevia)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 c flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c apricot preserves (or whatever you prefer, like raspberry. YUM.)
1/4 c almonds, chopped (optional)
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in flour and salt. Cover and refrigerate, about 30 minutes or until firm. Preheat oven 350 degrees and lightly grease cookie sheets with shortening. (If your oven preheats quickly, I'd wait until you have your first tray ready to go in, then preheat as you work on the next one.)
On a generously floured surface, roll dough into 16x12" rectangle. Cut rectangle into 48 2"-squares, 8 rows by 6 rows. Use metal spatula to place squares 1" apart on sheets. Spread each square with about 1/4 tsp preserves. On each square cut from each corner to 1/4" from center. Bring every other point to center and press together to form a pinwheel. If using, sprinkle each with almonds.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately remove from sheet to cooling rack. Enjoy!
Original recipe, per cookie: Calories 80; Fat 5; Protein 1
*I hope you enjoyed these Cooking Club snippets. There are many more to come as I try to play catch-up before this month's meeting. I hope these themes, and even Cooking Club itself, inspire you to gather with your friends and family in the kitchen, and make sweet moments (and delicious food) of your own.
**I've only included the recipes to the dishes I made. Only because I'm unsure of where everyone got theirs...and hey, we gotta give credit where credit is due. If you have any questions about the other dishes, I'll ask the other members where they got their recipes and pass it along!
Check out our previous meetings!
Cooking Club #1-4
Cooking Club #5
[Update: I included a few helpful tips for the Apricot Pinwheels recipe, and added a link to the Toll House recipe site. Maybe you'll have better luck at finding the butterscotch recipe than I did. However, there are some other great options when it comes to using those butterscotch morsels. The two Spritz Cookies and the Caramel Press ones, those recipes came with Jessica's cookie press tool, which she purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond, I think.]
With Love and God Bless,