Yeah. That feeling.
People who only know me from the inter-webs may not realize this; but I am a very, very shy Chicky. I've worked hard at moving past all of that, but at heart I am really more of an armadillo than a toucan.
If there is a corner, I can probably be found hiding in it...
So... no one was more surprised than myself when I joined in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.
So here's how it works...
You make three dozen cookies. Send them out to three other bloggers. And in return three totally different bloggers each send you a dozen cookies.
Three dozen little orbs of goodness come your way that you can share. Or not.
Nerve wracking and exciting all at the same time.
The Great Cookie Swap is hosted by Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen. I can't even imagine the logistics behind getting hundreds of bloggers organized into groups and getting things going. Awesome job, ladies! One of the neat things about this swap is that Lindsay and Julie have been able to pair this with a fundraiser for Cookies for Kid's Cancer - "C" should stand for cookies - not cancer - in the life of a child. Even better, OXO is matching donations coming out of the swap and also sent all participants a super cute "Be a Good Cookie" spatula.
It was fun getting to discover some great "new to me" bloggers. A huge thank you to Heather of In Her Chucks, Dawn of DJ's Sugar Shack and Christy of Epicuriousities. Their cookies came in from all over the country - literally! Their journey began in California (2900 miles), Alaska (4350 miles) and Texas (1820 miles). The journey ended in Upstate, NY. That, my friends is a whole lot of cookie miles...
Getting my cookies released from the US Mail Service was an adventure. Box #1 involved a skirmish with the post office who was holding my mail hostage because the temporary Post Master screw up box renewals. Boxes #2 and #3 were delayed by a power outage. In both cases, my dad came to the rescue and ran interference for me. (It doesn't matter how old you are, dads can still fix almost everything.)
I am not sure who was more antsy waiting for the cookies to arrive - The Culinary Kid or I. The waiting is the hardest part... She served as my "partner in crime" in this adventure and has come to my rescue by ensuring that I don't eat all these beautiful cookies on my own. She's a real trooper, that one...
Now, as a few of you may recall, I tend to be cookie-making averse (another reason why this is such an out of character thing for me to do). Three cookie postings in a month's time has to be a record for me.
BUT... I do have a few cookie recipes up my sleeve. Remember - I like to EAT the cookies, I just don't always have the patience to MAKE the cookies :-)
One of my "go-to" cookies mashes up a few of my favorite things into one neat little package. Dried cherries. Pecans. Oatmeal. And bittersweet chocolate chips for good measure.
Sheesh. It's practically health food, right????
Cherry-Chocolate-Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Bon Appetit: Desserts
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fine grain sea salt
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated white sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips (semi-sweet also works)
1 cup dried cherries (Morello are nice)
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
In a small sauté pan, lightly toast the chopped pecans – until the first aroma starts to emit from the pan. Transfer the toasted pecans to a small bowl and allow them to cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 325F. Place one rack in the center of the oven and another one in the top third. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper or a Silpat.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed until well-combined (~2-3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the egg and extracts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl
Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium sized bowl and add to the sugar/egg mixture. Beat on low speed until ingredients are just starting to come together. Stir in the oatmeal. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more. Stir in the cherries, chocolate chips and pecans. If you have time, throw the bowl into the fridge for a half hour or so – if not, the cookies are okay to bake right away, they just might spread a little more. (If you refrigerate them, just add a minute or two to the baking time)
Scoop by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets – leaving ~2” between cookies. Place the baking sheets into the oven and bake for ten minutes. After ten minutes, rotate the pans – top to bottom/ front to back. Bake an additional five to six minutes – until the cookies are golden brown and appear set.
Let the cookies cool on the pans for a few minutes (4-5) then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.