For the past 20 years
at Christmas time .. my neighbor has hosted a cookie exchange
It's beautiful in every way ..
A hand-written invitation dropped in our mailboxes .. less & less words penned to the page each year .. no explanation needed .. after such a long time .. “Cookie Exchange .. Hope to see you there!”
If you asked me what I'd ever brought or come home with .. I wouldn't be able to tell you .. it's never about the cookies .. the sweet somethings serving as an excuse .. to purpose a connection with each other .. because at the end of the day .. isn't that what life is really about?
Looking back .. my first exchange .. I was young .. with 2 little ones .. working on my math degree .. just getting going in our first house
500 lifetimes ago .. it seems
From year to year .. the majority of the women who come are the same .. made more beautiful .. in my opinion .. with a few extra wrinkles & grey hairs. Many of us have moved away & come back .. always picking up right where we left off
This Christmas .. a SOLD sign hangs in the yard I once called mine .. memories being made in a different place. In my spirit lives a strange space of miss .. along that of adventure & new beginnings.
So this year .. the exchange wasn't my familiar .. but one that was new
A couple of different cookies graced our kitchen counters .. one being ginger cookies .. adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day.
More grown up than the usual cookie .. they're incredibly moist .. taking much of their sweetness & chewiness from the dried apricots .. while at the same time balanced with shavings of dark chocolate .. along with generous amounts of spicy ginger
Finished with a coating of large crystal raw sugar .. they pack a ton of flavor into a few small bites. They were wonderful on this chilly Iowa evening.
A little piece of heaven .. whether you're sharing with friends that are new .. or those who've known you through your many lifetimes .. and still love you anyway
ps: For those who follow The Veggies .. this recipe was originally posted in December of 2013. Since then I've made them more times than I can count .. and thought a few updated pictures were in order. They're fantastic!
pps: The secret to a really good cookie? Let the dough rest 72 hours before baking your cookies .. here
~ Adapted from Supernatural Everyday | Heidi Swanson .. here
- ½ cup Sugar in the Raw (or any other large-grain raw sugar or turbinado sugar)
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small shavings (** 70 percent cacao is best .. I shaved ~ 2 bars)
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or spelt flour)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 11/2 Tbsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp fine-grain sea salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into small(ish) cubes
- ¼ cup molasses (choose one that's rich, densely flavored, and most important it should taste good to you .. not harsh)
- ⅔ cup coconut sugar (** the original calls for fine grain sugar)
- 2 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 large egg, well beaten
- 1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and sea salt.
- Heat the butter in a saucepan until it is just barely melted. Stir in the molasses, coconut sugar, and fresh ginger (The mix should be warm, but not hot at this point)
- Whisk in the egg. (If it's hot to the touch, let it cool a bit before whisking in the egg)
- Pour this mixture over the flour mixture and stir to combine.
- Add the chopped apricots and chocolate shavings and again stir until just combined.
- Chill for ~30 minutes (long enough to let the dough firm up slightly)
- When you're ready to bake the cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the large-grain sugar to a bowl
- Scoop out the dough (I make mine with 1-2 Tbsp worth of dough in size).
- Roll each piece of dough into a ball and then roll the dough in the bowl of large-grain sugar to coat the outside.
- Place the cookies a few inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until cookies puff up, darken a bit, are fragrant, and crack. (** tip from the cookbook .. If you’re not sure, peek at the bottom of one of them; the bottom should be deeply golden)
% Protein: 6
% Carbs: 56
% Fat: 33