Sunday, December 18, 2011

Italian Chocolate Balls

I've been baking like crazy this month...Cake and Cupcakes for Ben's 5th birthday party, a baby shower cake for a coworker and friend, cookies for The Great Food Food Blogger Cookie swap, cookies for a work cookie exchange....and then good old christmas cookies for family and friends. Woohoo! I've used some of my old standby recipes- Orange Drop Cookies (15 dozen made so far...woah!), Cutout Cookies (6 dozen), and Angeletti (3 1/2 dozen) as well as some new recipes. Preparing for Christmas stresses me out....but the baking relaxes me, which explains why I am making so many cookies!!

Two of the new recipes I tried came from a little box set of cookie recipes I found in the gift shop at the hospital I work in. It's called One Smart Cookie, and it's published by Daymaker inspirational gifts, and it has 50 cards with cookie recipes. It's a cute little gift set...and I have one to give away to one of you as well!

This is a great recipe...coconut, nuts and chocolate all rolled into one, and the best part is that it doesn't require any baking!

Italian Chocolate Balls adapted from One Smart Cookie
Makes 2 dozen

1/2 Cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup flaked coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
1 tsp salt
1 16 oz bag milk chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips in large bowl, and stir  with wooden spoon until combined. Roll into small balls. Melt chocolate chips according to package directions, stirring until smooth. Dip* balls in chocolate and pace on waxed paper to cool.

* I have issues dipping things in I melted the chocolate, and spooned it onto each of the cookies. Might not be as pretty, but they're still a big hit around here!

Giveaway Time!- 

Leave a comment here telling me what your favorite christmas cookie is, and you're entered to win. You can gain additional entries by following Baked by Beth on  twitter and/or facebook and then leave me another comment with your handle(s). Winner will be chosen 12/30 and notified by email.

Congrats to Cindy B, the one and only entrant! Those are some odds...I'll email you to get your shipping info, Cindy. Enjoy the recipes!

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Cookie Swap Recipe: Orange Drop Cookies

Today is the big link up of allllllll 625 bloggers recipes for The Great Food Blogger Cookies Swap 2011. The guidelines for the swap were pretty simple. Make 3 dozen homemade cookies, use a recipe you haven't posted on your blog before, and send em to three unsuspecting food bloggers.

I decided to use my all time favorite cookie recipe for the swap. This recipe is a family favorite- it came from my mom's childhood nanny, Grammy Grace, and I try to make these cookies every year at Christmas. These are Orange Drop Cookies...soft, citrusy pillows that are amazing with or without the orange glaze. I know this because I'm impatient, and typically eat a cookie or two four before they are iced.

My cookies went to Vanessa of  French Foodie Mom, Monica of Sweet Bites Blog, and Jenny of Jen eat, then speak. I'm hoping they arrived in good condition, and quickly..The post office around here definitely isn't the fastest on the planet! One of the best parts of this project was being introduced to 6 bloggers you may not have heard of...I checked out the blogs of each blogger I sent cookies to, as well as the bloggers I received cookies from. I'll definitely be back for more!

Sneaky little elf...tryin to hijack my cookies!

Orange Drop Cookies 
Makes 5 dozen cookies

1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 whole orange
4 cups flour (I used whole wheat, just as yummy as all purpose)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Finely grate orange rind, then remove remaining orange peel. Place orange slices in blender or food processor and grind until fine. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in eggs, orange and rind. Sift dry ingredients together, and add to butter mixture, alternating with milk. Using medium scoop, drop on prepared cookie sheets 1 inch apart. Bake 9-10 minutes, or until bottoms of cookies start to brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire racks before adding glaze.

Orange Glaze:
6 tbsp melted butter
6 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp grated orange rind
Powdered sugar to thicken

Combine butter and orange juice and mix well. Add enough powdered sugar to thicken to desired consistency. Stir in orange rind, and spread on cookies.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Great Blogger Cookie Swap 2011

When I found out about The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011, I *knew* I had to participate. I love cookies...who doesn't love cookies! I love making cookies, especially during the holidays, and getting 3 mystery packages of cookies in the mail sounded like a no brainer!

When registration closed, there were 625 bloggers signed up to participate. That's 1875 dozen cookies flyin' through the mail over the past few weeks. How cool is that!! 

Monday is the official link up of the cookie exchange, with recipes and all. For now, I can share the cookies I  received in the mail! Talk about fun! 3 packages, addressed to me, full of cookies! 

My first box of cookies arrived Wednesday- and I couldn't wait to see what was inside! Amanda from Sweet Fix sent me "London Fog" cookies...Earl Grey Tea Butter Cookies with White Chocolate Filling. These were thin, crispy cookies with a hint of earl grey tea filled with white chocolate, and they were to die for. I may or may not have eaten half of this tin of cookies myself!

London Fog from Beth at Just So Parenting
Thursday's mail brought a beautifully decorated box from The Lushers...filled with oatmeal, cranberry and white chocolate cookies. Yum, yum, yum. Yum. No other words necessary. Yum. 

How pretty is that box? Photo from Beth at Just So Parenting

The Lushers' Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies. Photo from Beth at  Just So Parenting

My final box of cookies arrived today , and I while I was sad it was the last box, I was not disappointed in the least as to what was inside! Beth from Just So Parenting sent me these slightly highly addictive Chewy Lemon Lavender Snowdrop Cookies. Soft, sweet, chewy, tangy....the list of adjectives goes on and on. Once I have my hands on this recipe, I'll definitely be making these!

Chewy Lemon Lavender Snowdrop Cookies from Beth at Just So Parenting
(this is my photo....I actually got the camera out before the cookies disappeared!!)
Thanks to these three ladies for some amazing cookies, and thanks to Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen for organizing this event. I'm sure it was a huge success! 

My recipe will be up Monday...can't wait to share my all time favorite cookies with you!