When I found out about the Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I thought it was one of the best ideas I’d ever heard: bake cookies, send them to 3 food bloggers, receive 3 dozen cookies in return.
That’s my kind of fun
What’s even better about it? It’s not just a
nother reason for food bloggers to bake, the purpose is to raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. We’ve managed to raise over $13,000 so far this year thanks to the expert organisation from Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen.
The cookies I made (recipe below) combined some of my favourite things in the world – coffee, chocolate and festive spices.
Baking these cookies during December is the perfect way to prepare for the Christmas season, as is gifting them to people you don’t know.
Once my cookies had been carefully packaged and posted, I had the excitement of waiting for my cookie gifts. Poor Shake had to stare at the packages each day until I returned home from work to open them (not convinced I could have waited if I had been in his shoes…).
Our first treats were addictive heart-shaped cinnamon sandwich cookies (with cinnamon icing inside!) from Lucy. Thank goodness we love cinnamon in this house, but honestly they were so delicious and perfect with a cup of tea.
The following day we received two deliveries – sour cherry and almond shortbreads from Jennie and coconut oatmeal cookies from Jen. Both were incredible and we were thrilled to have a real variety of flavours and textures. You should really check out their blogs for the recipe details, I recommend all of them wholeheartedly!
My recipients sent some lovely feedback about the cookies, and I’ve been itching to share them with you, but the rule was we all post our recipes today! So, without further ado here you go:
Spiced coffee and chocolate wholewheat shortbread
makes approximately 36 small shortbreads
220g unsalted butter – at room temperature
100g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or seeds of 1/3 vanilla pod
1 teaspoon four spice (mine was from France and included cloves, nutmeg, black pepper (!) and cinnamon)
2 teaspoons finely ground fresh coffee (you could substitute 2 tbsp instant espresso, but it won’t be quite the same)
220g plain flour – I used wholewheat, because I prefer it
100g dark chocolate chips/chunks
Don’t preheat the oven just yet – the dough needs to chill before baking.
In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar for at least a few minutes, until thoroughly combined.
Add the vanilla, spices and coffee and mix again for a further minute or two so that the mixture is evenly speckled with coffee and spices.
Now add the flour and mix slowly, only until it has disappeared into the dough but has formed a ball – you don’t want to overwork it.
Lastly, stir through the chocolate chunks.
Lay a large piece of clingfilm on a flat surface and turn out the dough. Top the dough with another large sheet of clingfilm and start working with the rolling pin.
I warn you, the dough is sticky (but delicious).
Roll out the dough until it is approximately 1/4inch thick and relatively rectangular. Transfer to large dish or tray and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Once refrigerated, preheat the oven to 170degC.
Use a sharp knife to cut out your shortbreads. Mine were approximately 2inch by 1inch rectangles. I’m not especially good at being consistent, so some were larger than others
Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 8 – 12 minutes, depending on size and shape made. You want slight colour around the edges.
Don’t panic if they are still very soft, the shortbread hardens as it cools.