The great cookie binge of 2014 ended with a bang on Saturday… as we invited a few friends over for our annual cookie exchange.
A “few” in scenario means nearly 70. I think. I lost count.
So this, my friends, translated into two tables of fantastic cookies:
Basically, we invite people over to eat cookies for breakfast.
That’s all we serve… cookies. And coffee and hot chocolate. With lots of whipped cream and marshmallows.
Please don’t judge. We’ve been doing this for years. Early on, I thought I should serve breakfast food, but really everyone only ate the cookies anyway, so I gave up.
People rarely decline the invitation. Especially the college kids.
This year, our friends brought a truly stunning assortment of cookies… Among the dozens of shared creations we had: Caramel Heavenlies, Gingerbread Boys, Pecan Shortbread, Banana and Walnut Cookies, Sprinkle Cookies, Santiagos, Chocolate Peanut Haystacks, Salted Sour Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, Nutella Meringues, Hello Dollies, White Chocolate and Candy Cane Cookies, Lemon Ricottas (ala Giada), Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies, Kahlua Chocolate Chips, White Chocolate Cranberries, Pistachio, Cardamon and Rosewater Shortbreads… oh my.
At the end of a couple of hours of sampling, everyone boxed up their favorites in big tins to take home. I should have taken more pictures of the collections of cookies as they went out the door, but honestly, I was too busy chatting.
I have to admit, I was having a sappy “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment, as the exchange wrapped up. Our family is blessed with such amazing friends…
And wow, can they bake!
I contributed the cookies from the recipes I baked all week, and you read about on the blog… and I just had to share with you one last favorite. I adore a good macaroon, and I have hit upon a fantastic orange and chocolate wonder that is a snap to make. All you need to do is toss a few ingredients in the food processor… scoop the stuff out and bake it. Love coconut? Chocolate? A kick of boozy orange? (Yup, I’m still rummaging through the liquor cabinet this holiday season…) You will adore this fudgy macaroon.. I have to admit, they could have been improved slightly by a drizzle of dark chocolate. Perhaps next year…
I have to admit my friends, I’m ready to put the cookie sheets away for a while.
Perhaps next up should be a great soup and salad binge on Bourbon and Brown Sugar in January 2015…
Chocolate Orange Macaroons
- 1 14-ounce package sweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
- 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
In a food processor, blend the coconut for one full minute. Add the butter, brown sugar, salt,orange peel, Grand Marnier, chocolate chips, and eggs and blend for at least another full minute. With cookie scoop, scoop batter into 1-inch mounds. You can arrange the cookies fairly close together as they don’t spread, just puff a bit.
Bake macaroons, 1 sheet at a time, until golden on bottom and browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on sheets.
- Optional: drizzle with a bit of melted dark chocolate.