This time of year there are many faiths and cultures celebrating similar traditions and yet they are often so separate it can feel as though there is little common ground. But there is one thing every winter holiday has in common: sweets! Gather your friends, whether they be witch, Christian or Jew, for a cookie exchange this year. You’ll have a good time, share good company and gather a nice assortment of homemade cookies for the season!
Cookie exchanges are simple: just invite a few friends to bring 3-6 dozen homemade cookies (depending on how many people you expect.) Provide coffee and other refreshments as well as cute packaging such as colored cellophane, tissue paper and craft store boxes and you’re good to go!
Try out one of these recipes for your contribution:
Mexican Wedding Cakes – These cookies are so delicious it is no wonder they are traditional in countries all over the world. Chock-full of pecans, they are good for ensuring employment, a thoughtful gift in today’s world.
Mini Peppermint Meringue Cups with Ganache – Although a tiny bit complicated, these beauties will be a showstopper at your cookie exchange. (Or you might want to keep them all for a romantic night in by the fire and the sparkling tree as the combination of peppermint and chocolate may well make for a powerful aphrodisiac. ;D)
Lavender Scented Sugar Cookies – A fresh take on the old icebox cookie, these are perfumed with the delicate scent and flavor of fresh lavender, an appropriate reminder of spring just as Yule is meant to be. The lavender also has calming influence or can inspire love. (See under cut for recipe.)
Lavender Scented Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
5 tbsp powdered sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp fresh lavender
1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp cold water
¼ cup granulated sugar
- In a large bowl, beat butter until pale yellow and fluffy. Gradually add the sugars and beat well.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, lavender and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Roll dough into 2 logs about 1 ½ inches in diameter and about 12 inches in length. Wrap logs in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Unwrap chilled dough and brush with eggwash mixture. Roll logs in sugar. Slice dough into ¼ inch thick cookies and place one inch apart on baking sheets.
- Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely. Makes 3 dozen.