Sunday, December 11, 2011

Special Delivery: Cookies!

It's the start of cookie week here on Food Beautiful - who's excited??!!

I may now love cookies more than ever - especially when they are mailed to you from a secret cookie baker! These past couple of weeks I (along with many other great food bloggers) have been busy participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.
Sign up to participate next year!
Started on a premise from Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen, the idea was to spread a little holiday cookie cheer throughout the blogger world. And boy did it spread! Each participant was given three bloggers' names and was charged with baking and sending a dozen cookies to each. And in return??? Three secret bloggers would send you some delicious creations of their own. Why didn't anyone start this idea sooner!

After much deliberation I went with a not-so-classic holiday cookie, but one that I thought would be easy to make and easy to transport. Giada De Laurentiis' Lemon Ricotta Cookies (recipe below) was the base of the idea and then I got a little creative. Half of the cookies I kept to the recipe and added lemon glaze, but since I'm a chocolate lover at heart, the other half received a dip in chocolate ganache (yum!). It's a little fun play on the traditional black and white cookies when all packed up.
yuummmm pretty cookies!
The other important part of the challenge was packing and transporting. After many years of sending cookies I've found that some general rules apply:
  • if cookies break easily on their own, they might not be the best for shipping
  • pack cookies individually (or a couple together) to ensure they last longer and have less chance of breaking
  • seal the cookies in a bag, even if using a tin or tupperware to transport
  • assume they are all going to break so provide extra packing protection
  • try to ship so they will arrive at their destination within 3 days
I packed a lemon and chocolate cookie in small cellophane bags with a twist tie. Then I placed each of these yummy bundles in a fancy take-out container (found at most craft stores) filled with green shredded paper. This was then packaged in a box and off they went!

Just think over 22,000 cookies were traveling around with this swap - how happy that makes me. And a special thanks to my secret cookie bakers below! Would love to have the recipes for all 3 of these wonderful cookies:

  • Chocolate Coconut Cookies from A Chronic a lover of coconut I enjoyed the balance of chocolate and sweet coconut these bundles provided
  • Greek Almond Anise Cookies from The Corner Kitchen...these were perfect childhood favorites that after a long week at work reminded me of home
  • Chocolate Mint Cookies from Table for Two...classic turned up - these had a bold chocolate flavor with green mint chips, definite yum
Here's the recipe for the ones I made!

Lemon Ricotta Cookies adopted from Giada De Laurentiis
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs (at room temp)
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese (at room temp)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

4oz chocolate (I used bittersweet)
1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the Cookies
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

For the Glaze
Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.

For the Ganache
Place a bowl over a saucepan of slight simmering water (only about 1 inch deep). Make sure the bowl isn't touching the water. Add the chocolate and cream and stir until the chocolate is melted and shiny. Remove bowl from pan and dip half of each cookie into the chocolate. Let the ganache harden for a couple of hours.
cookie heaven!


  1. I LOVE lemon ricotta cookies!! And funny enough I was *really* close to making these for the swap! Excited to find your blog and follow along!

  2. Thanks Kelli - same with yours, YUM!

  3. I'm so confused...I received some amazing chocolate espresso cookies from you? They were AMAZING, but obviously different from this recipe. Anyway, thank you so so much, they were out of this world and I feel so so so lucky to have received them!

  4. PS and I would LOVE the recipe for the chocolate espresso cookies you sent. Seriously amazing.

  5. Maggie, I'll be posting those later this week! I wound up being a cookie angel and did a second batch for someone who couldn't bake last week...stay tuned

  6. Oh, thanks for being my cookie angel Janet!!! You are amazing. So were the cookies. Thanks again!

  7. Your cookies are very intriguing!!