I truly can’t believe that it’s time for this again. Where did this year go? It seems like just yesterday, I was in my kitchen in Georgia, complaining about the un-wintery winter, and baking up cookies to send to food bloggers in different corners of the country for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012. But alas, a year has passed and now I’m in my office in Indiana, actually enjoying the wintery winter (So far. I’m sure I will get annoyed at some point.) ready to write about 2013’s cookie swap. AMAZING.
This is my third year participating in the cookie swap to end all cookie swaps! This year’s swap was extra special because not only do we get to share a kazillion delicious cookie recipes with you, but the food bloggers and sponsors involved also raised close to $14,000 for one of my favorite causes, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer!! Huge thanks to all of the sponsors and bloggers who made that possible. That’s incredible!
If you’re not familiar with the swap, each holiday season I bake up a batch of cookies and send a dozen out to three food bloggers from all over the US, and it’s done Secret Santa style. You never know who will be sending you cookies until they arrive at your door. I know that in my house, it’s always really exciting when tasty packages arrive! This year, I received delicious English Toffee Cookie Bars from Mandy at kitchenjoyblog.com, and some wonderful Peppermint Biscotti from Allison at whatthismamaeats.blogspot.com. Both were AMAZING, and you should really check out their recipes when you get a chance! Thanks, Ladies!
(Sadly, I’m still waiting for my third box, so at press time, I can’t thank the third blogger. I hope to be able to soon!)
For my cookie, I decided to bake up a buttery batch of Almond Meltaway cookies this year. My sister-in-law introduced me to these cookies over the summer, and as I ate (many of) them, I couldn’t help but think they would be perfect come Cookie Swap time. They are simple, and delicious, and I have yet to meet someone who wasn’t blown away by how tasty they are.
The dough is simple enough to put together. Just the typical butter, sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder, type of thing. The game changer? Two teaspoons of almond extract.
I rolled the dough into balls, and placed them on my cookie sheets. Before I popped them in the oven, I flattened them just a bit with my hand.
The cookies baked for about eight minutes, just until they were set. They shouldn’t be browned up much, maybe just a bit on the edges. I let them sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing them to the baking rack to cool.
Once the cookies were cool, I mixed together a quick glaze of powdered sugar, milk and more of that almond extract. I spread a bit over each cookie, let them set up, and they were done!
It’s almost embarrassing how simple these are, and you’d never know it! They are delicate, and buttery, and just packed with that almond flavor I love. They have become a new family favorite around here, and I am pretty sure I’ll be whipping up another batch this holiday season!
ALMOND MELTAWAY COOKIES
Adapted from The Novice Chef
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp. pure almond extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp. milk (or water)
- 2 tsp. pure almond extract
- Preheat your oven to 375*F. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and almond extract, and mix until combined.
- Gradually mix in the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time, until well combined.
- Roll the dough into balls, about 1 Tbsp. per cookie, and place on the prepared cookie sheets. Using your hand or the bottom of a glass, press the cookies down slightly to flatten just a bit.
- Bake for 8 minutes, or just until set. Cookies should be set but not browned. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once the cookies are cool, whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
- Spoon a bit of the glaze onto each cookie and spread to cover. Allow the glaze to set up completely before storing. Cookies can be kept in the refrigerator, but bring them to room temperature before serving.