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Dec. 22: National Cookie Exchange Day

(WWTI) – It’s a sweet trade! Today is National Cookie Exchange Day.

The earliest cookies may have been a byproduct of cake-baking; bakers would put a dollop of batter in the oven to check if it was hot enough. If you want a more conclusive origin though you’ll have to go to Persia during the 7th century where they were one of the first countries to get a hold on sugar. After the crusades, sugar spread throughout Europe thanks to the spice trade. Eventually, in the 14th century cookies could be found on the streets of Paris and in cookbooks by the 1500’s.

Cookie Exchanges; however, date back to medieval times. Just like today guests would bring a selection of homemade cookies to trade with each other. Today, they are traditions among families and friendship groups and they are sure to bring joy and holiday cheer.

Sally’s Baking Addiction has the recipe for 75 Christmas Cookies, that you can try out and wow everyone at your Cookie Exchange.

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup yellow or vanilla boxed cake mix (not the whole box and you just need the DRY mix)*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips — or 1/2 cup of white and 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, sift flour, cake mix, salt, and baking soda together. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat on high until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Mix on low until the add-ins are evenly combined.
  3. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 3-4 days. This step is imperative. The dough is sticky, so chilling the dough is required to avoid the cookies from spreading too much. If you chill longer than 2 hours, make sure you roll the cookie dough into balls after the 2-hour mark. Place dough balls on a plate, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You may also freeze the balls at this point for up to 3 months. (Then bake as directed adding 1 minute to the bake time without thawing.)
  4. Once the dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (always recommended for cookies).
  5. Scoop rounded balls of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, use about 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie. A medium cookie scoop is helpful for this. Shape your cookie dough balls to be “taller” than they are wide, as pictured above. Make sure to keep dough chilled when working in batches.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will continue to set as they cool. You can press a few more chips into the tops of the cookies at this point (the chips will stick because the cookies are still warm).
  7. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Snowball Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour — spooned and leveled
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • optional: 3/4 cup finely chopped and toasted pecans

Coating:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and beat on medium high speed until combined and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Next, beat in the vanilla extract on medium-high speed until combined. Switch to low speed and slowly add the flour and salt. The dough will look dry and you may not think the flour will fully combine. Once all the flour is added, turn the mixer up to high speed. The dough will come together. Finally, beat in the chopped pecans, if using.
  2. Cover the cookie dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days. (If chilling for 3+ hours, make sure you let the cookie dough sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling into balls. The cookie dough will be very stiff after being in the refrigerator for that long.)
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside. Pour the confectioners’ sugar needed for the coating into a shallow bowl.
  4. Scoop or roll 1 Tablespoon of cookie dough per cookie. Roll into a ball and place on the baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until golden brown on the bottom edges and just barely browned on top, about 15 minutes.
  5. Coating: Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then very gently roll them in the confectioners’ sugar to coat completely. Place the cookies on wire racks to cool completely. The confectioners’ sugar will melt a bit and get sticky; that’s ok. Once the cookies have completely cooled, roll in confectioners’ sugar again. This is when the sugar will stick.
  6. Cookies stay fresh and covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Happy National Cookie Exchange Day!

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