Today was our second annual cookie exchange at work. We did it every year at my last company so I started one here last year. Last year, we had nearly 30 people, which I think was maybe too many. This year, things are so crazed around here that I had a lot of people tell me that they just didn't have time. At 6:00 this morning, when I stuffed the last bag and stumbled off for a nap before work, I had to agree with the sentiment. We ended up with 8 of us exchanging. Maybe next year, we'll find a happy medium between the two.
I've done the same cookies for the last several years. They're a drop cookie, but a frosted one. I got the recipe from Taste of Home - I have many of their cookbooks and love every one. The cookies are spiced apple drops, and they're really yummy. Guys especially seem to love them.
Of course, presentation is very important, so I broke out the Christmas stamps and the snazzy border cutting scissors for the recipe, and of course I color-matched it to the bags... 'cause I'm like that.
In my world, frosting is to be treated like spackle. This frosting really makes the cookie, too. Doubling the recipes for the cookies and for the frosting allowed me to fill 12 bags with 5 cookies each and still have enough left over to mostly fill a cookie jar.
One thing that gets me every year. I get the part where I bake the cookies, package them prettily and haul them into the exchange. The part that, for some reason, I always manage to block is that I will be bringing an equal number of cookies back home with me. (Sometimes? Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.) One good thing about haveing fewer people participate - I have a larger pool of people to feed these things too. Last year, no one really touched the ones I brought in on a plate 'cause they all had their own. This year, I was nearly attacked when I walked across the plant floor. Anyway, here's how to make your own:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup apple juice
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup finely chopped peeled tart apple
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 - 4 tablespoons apple juice
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and apple juice. Combine the dry ingredients; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Fold in apple and walnuts.
Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 - 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
For frosting, cream butter, sugar, vanilla and enough apple juice to achieve spreading consistency. Frost cooled cookies. Yield: about 3.5 dozen.
* For drop cookies, these things are kind of a pain. Definitely grease the cookie sheets 'cause they will stick. I use 3 cookie sheets, and after I've removed the cookies to the wire rack, I just wipe the cookie sheet down with a paper towel and re-spray it. It helps.
* Also, things are much better if you stir remaining dough/batter briskly every time you leave it for a couple of minutes.
* I've used granny smith apples and gala apples - the cookies worked both times so don't freak over the apple type. Also, I've used apple juice and cider and both are fine.
* This is probably just that my oven can be quirky, but I find that 365 is better than 375. I bake them for 6 minutes then turn the cookie sheet around and bake for another 6 or so minutes. Look at the edges - when they get a bit darker, the cookie is done. The top may stay kinda shiny but trust that they are done.
All dressed up and ready to go: