Back in October, somewhere on this World Wide Web I stumbled upon a link to The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and thought what a great idea it was. I wasn’t the only one to think so as over 600+ food bloggers exchanged cookies this past week. We were each assigned three other bloggers to whom we sent one dozen cookies. That’s over 22,000 cookies travelling world-wide for this cookie swap alone!
I must admit after I signed up I wondered what I had gotten myself into. As many of you know, I’m a cook not a baker. I have a hard time making chocolate cookies turn out well following the recipe on the back of the Toll House bag. Really. Normally I just make the dough and then Mr. Darcy and I eat it raw in stolen spoonfuls from the fridge. Could I make a decent cookie without totally embarrassing myself in front of three other food bloggers? Could I pull this off?
I spent some time going through my family cookie recipes and decided on enhancing a tried-and-true shortbread recipe. The original, plain shortbread recipe is from my godmother who lived next door to us growing up. In her pantry there was always either a pan of shortbread or a pan of almond roca cookies, and I couldn’t get enough of either. For this cookie swap I added sage, lemon and black pepper, as well as the iced walnut topping. Don’t forget – shortbread gets better with age. Store un-iced shortbread in an air-tight container for up to 4 weeks. They’re great to bake now and serve at your holiday gatherings!
Lightly sweet, I’d say these Lemon-Sage Shortbread are more of an adult cookie than a kid-pleaser. Great with a warm cup of tea – or hot whiskey, according to Kate from Food Lust, one of the three bloggers who received my shortbread cookies. Hot whiskey is one I will definitely have to test out!
|Lemon-Sage Shortbread Cookies||
- 14 ounces butter, room temperature
- 3 cups flour
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup finely minced sage leaves
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Walnut quarters for decoration
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, cut together butter, flour, sugar, salt, and black pepper with a pastry knife. When ingredients are almost completely combined, add sage, lemon zest, and lemon juice; continue to combine. Work into a ball by hand and press into parchment-lined 9 inch by 13 inch metal baking pan. Using a knife, gently cut dough into small rectangles, 6 x 7 across the pan without tearing parchment. Using a fork, prick the dough all over.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes or just until shortbread begins to lightly golden, being careful not to brown. Recut rectangles and transfer immediately to a wire rack to cool.
- In a medium-sized bowl using a fork, mix together confectioner’s sugar, butter, cream, and lemon juice until no lumps remain. Cover until ready to use. When shortbread has cooled, transfer icing to a pastry bag with a small round tip, or to a large plastic bag with a tiny corner of the bag cut out. Place a small button of icing on each cookie, topping with a walnut quarter.
Un-iced shortbread will keep in an airtight container for 3 to 4 weeks.
The first cookies I received, Gee’s NutHorns, were from Kelly at Kelly’s Kitchen. Her grandmother’s famous cookies did not disappoint. They are a dense and buttery dough wrapped around a cinnamony nut paste. Absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to see the recipe.
The next batch cookies to grace my doorstep were from Julie of The Semi-Reformed Nerd. Super thin, perfectly round, these incredibly moist and chewy Cinnamon Spice Brown Sugar Cookies were amazing. I ate seven of them in one day and only held back on the last five so that I would have a few to photograph.
The third dozen cookies came from Lisa, the Authentic Subarban Gourmet. These tasty gingerbread biscotti with one end dipped in chocolate have been my morning coffee staple this week. I love gingerbread and these cookies were made with a delicate hand – the ginger is not overpowering, just a lovely balance of spices.
I really had a great experience with The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and look forward to signing up again next year. For a full list of the bloggers who participated and their cookie recipes, check out the main Cookie Swap pages here or here which will be updated on Thursday. The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is the brain child of Julie from The Little Kitchen and Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil.
Are you interested in participating next year? If yes, click here to sign up for notifications about next year’s event.