Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Cookie Exchange

A few Mondays ago, Architect and I were driving to Yoga class with the best instructor ever – Dot – and she said “Hey, I have a great blog post idea for you…the history of the cookie!”  She went on to say that unsweetened wafer versions of the cookie originated in Persia because they were easy for dessert wanderings to transport in their sacks and for centuries sailors stowed hard cracker-like discs to sustain them during long voyages at sea.  Later on, courtesy of the Spanish Conquest, trading routes opened and sugar and spices were introduced to Europe.  The Europeans brought the wafer to new heights enriching them with butter, eggs and cream to form biscuits, commonly served with tea.  The term cookie is a derivative of the Dutch word koekje that means little cake.

Although I listened very intently, I’m sure I do not record the story verbatim here, but you get the idea.  I liked her suggestion and, since we were having a Cookie Exchange Event at work, I had the perfect opportunity to write a post!

So below is the list of the delicious cookies my co-workers contributed…
I made the Mint Chocolate Chip cookies. We were instructed to  bring packages containing six cookies in each.  We were also encouraged to bring copies of our recipes and a few extras goodies for the sampling tray. All of the selections were delicious but I had a few favorites.  One was a savory/sweet confection that I’m still thinking about, Anise Seed Cookies, and below is the recipe. 
Merry Christmas, dear readers.    

Anise Seed Cookies
2 cups + 4 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 teaspoons of anise seed
Plastic bag with some powdered sugar, about 2 cups

Preheat oven to 375.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugars, and vanilla extract and beat until creamy.  Beat in eggs.  Gradually add hte flour mixture and incorporate well.  Stir in 3 teaspoons of anise seed.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool on a rack.  Once the cookies are completely cooled, shake several cookies at a time in the bag of powdered sugar.  Makes 4 dozen.

The cookie exchange was a lot of fun and hopefully we can add it to some other favorite work place traditions!

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