11 December 2013

Speculoos Buttons for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap '13

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013
Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap '13
Last year, I kept seeing posts about the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap on various blogs and thought that I'd like to join in next year. So I did! Upon registering, each blogger is given the names and addresses of three other bloggers to whom you'll send a dozen cookies each. The requirement is that you make three dozen of the same cookie, take pictures, and blog about it all on the same day.

I didn't quite get my act together in regards to packaging. I forgot that I can order free small priority boxes from USPS until the last minute, so I wasn't able to package my cookies as decoratively as I wanted. Next year, however, I have a better idea of what to do and will hopefully not make the same mistakes.

When deciding what to bake, I looked for a cookie that I felt would ship well and age well. Also, I wanted a cookie with a high yield so that I didn't have to make more than one batch. I settled on speculoos buttons from Bon Appetit, a small, spicy cookie with a decorative sprinkle edging and a dollop of icing.

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap '13
A few reviews mentioned that the dough was too dry and crumbly, which is always a concern with slice and bake cookies. To prevent this from happening, I increased the butter from 1 stick to 1 1/2 sticks. The dough needed a little elbow grease to form a ball despite the extra butter, and it probably would have been impossible to work otherwise.

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap '13
After the dough is portioned into three little logs and frozen overnight, it came time to decorate and bake the cookies. To do this, you gently beat an egg white, then brush a light coating over a dough log. Then, you roll it in decorative sugar, pressing gently so that it adheres. It's best to pour the decorative sugar out on a plate, or a small rimmed baking sheet.

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap '13
Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap '13
Next, you MUST freeze the dough log for at least ten minutes. Not only will it be easier to slice, but the sugar won't slide off the cookie in the oven. Yeah, that happened. If you're looking to bake exactly 36 cookies, it's crucial that you do not skip that step. (No, I didn't get anywhere close to 90 cookies, as the recipe states.)

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap '13
When it comes to my wardrobe, I have this problem of picking either black or neutral shades, like tan. The other day, I bought a tan sweater. It wasn't until I took it home and tried it on with my other clothes that I realized that tan is my "safe" color. I returned it for a lovely bright pink.

Obviously, that habit is bleeding over into my baking. If you noticed, the dough is kind of a dark brown. The gold sprinkles might as well be tan, and these cute little gingerbread mean are... brown. I apologize to my food blogger matches for such a monochromatic cookie.

Anyway, to decorate the cookies, you whip up a small batch of icing consisting of confectioners' sugar and water. Next time, I would do a small batch of royal icing or pick a cookie without any icing, since this icing didn't set up well for shipping. I should have kept adding more sugar to it. My bad.

The dollop of icing is then topped with more sprinkles. I chose not to buy dragees, as I wasn't sure how everyone would feel about it. The little gingerbread men looked cute and festive, though, like I said, I should have picked a decoration with a contrasting color.

Despite the blandness in color, I enjoyed making these cookies and I enjoyed the extra cookies I got to taste even more.

I'm glad that I signed up for the cookie swap this year. It's a fun and festive food blog event that reminds me of food blog events back when I first became a blogger. It's not about winning anything, but about food bloggers interacting with each other and building a community, which is what made me want to start blogging in the first place. To sign up, you are required to donate $4 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer, a national non-profit organization that the Cookie Swap partnered with last year, and the donations from the food bloggers are matched (up to $3000) by each of the event's brand partners. The donation is tax-deductible and 100% of the donation goes directly to CFKC.

In addition, the cookie you create must be new to you, meaning you've never blogged about it before. You can also opt-in to receive a few goodies from the brand partners. I've received a 3-piece rubber spatula set from Oxo! That came in handy, as I only had one large rubber spatula.

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap '13
To Julie, Jamie, and Natasha, I hope you enjoy your cookies!

I received the following cookies from three different bloggers:

the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

1. Chocolate Snickerdoodles from Christina
2 & 3. Shortbread with Chocolate Drizzle from Liz
4. Vanilla Bean Glazed Cinnamon Bun Cookies from Heather

Your cookies were delicious and I loved the packaging! Thank you so much.

And a big thank you to Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen for continuing to host this amazing event. $13,778.40 was raised for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer!

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5 comments

  1. YUM! LOVE speculoos! These sound so good! So glad you received my cookies! Hooray!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! And thank you again for your cookies!

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  2. these sound great! this was my first year participating as well. so fun :)

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  3. The speculoos are so cute!! I made them earlier this year but yours came out much more like BA's picture!

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^

~Christina

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