Friday, December 14, 2007

Cookie Exchange

My friend Laura and I hosted our 3rd Annual Cookie Exchange last weekend. Laura was gracious enough to host at her house (for the 3rd year in a row--THANK YOU Laura!!). We had 11 varieties of cookies exchanged this year. I made Sandies by the Sea. They are so good, even though they look a little time consuming they were very easy to make. Leave a comment with your favorite holiday cookie and recipe if you feel like sharing. Here's the recipe (I did not use the sea salt on mine, because I couldn't find it in this small town, and I think when I make these again I will use milk chocolate instead of bittersweet, but its all about your personal preference):

2C. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 C firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C pecans, *lightly toasted and very finely ground (using a food processor)
20 caramel candies
3 Tbsp cream or whole milk
2-3 Tbsp large crystal sea salt
1 C chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate morsels

*To toast pecans, place nuts in a single layer in an ungreased shallow pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool.

1. Combine flour and salt in bowl, set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar using an electric mixer or wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; beat to incorporate. Add dry ingredients in batches, mixing between each, and then stir in ground pecans. Cover and chill dough 1 hour or until firm.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or butter the sheets.

4. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls with floured hands. Place on baking sheets at least 1 inch apart, and depress a cavity in the center of each ball using your thumb or rounded implement. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the bottoms are brown and set. Check halfway through baking to see that the depressions are still deep enough to fill. If not, use a floured spoon to redefine.

5. Remove cookies from oven and let them sit for a few minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer with a metal spatula to a wire cooling rack set over a piece of parchment paper.

6. Melt caramel candies and cream together in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Fill the center of each cookies with approximately 1/2 tsp of the caramel. While the filling is still warm, sprinkle centers evenly with sea salt, and let them sit until firm.

7. Place chocolate in a sturdy plastic bag in a bowl, in microwave and heat on medium at 30 second intervals, massaging between each, until melted. Cut a small hole in corner bottom of bag and drizzle melted chocolate across each cookie; add additional salt if desired and allow cookies to sit until chocolate has become firm.

Makes 1-3 dozen 2 inch thumbprint style cookies

Here's the cookies all dressed for the party:


diane (cookiestamper) said...

oohhhh..........they look so YUMMY!!!!

Sadie said...

I found Sea Salt Grinders at the Dollar Store (the one by Bath and Body)! Also McCormick's has a variety of grinders out with all kinds of unique spices available like steakhouse, italian, black peppercorn, sea salt etc... and they are available in most grocery stores in the spice aisle.

Lisa Carpenter said...

Hey Deb...this looks yummy!!! I will see if I can find my fudge recipe. I know it isn't a cookie recipe, but close:)

Lisa Carpenter

Heidi said...

Thanks for the recipe! These look sooooo yummy!! Love how you packaged up the cookies-very pretty!!