Still, I didn't want to embarrass myself. I wasn't going to bring the paper plate of cookies with dog hair on them, or repackage something from the Meijer bakery. So I looked in my recipe arsenal and found the perfect cookie recipe clipped from an old Taste of Home magazine - Christmas Shortbread Wreaths:
|Click here for the recipe: Christmas Shortbread Wreaths from Taste of Home|
I planned to make the cookies the afternoon before the cookie exchange, which took place on a Sunday. I would bake them all, then coat them in chocolate and let them set before packaging. Well, it takes a lot longer to make 12 little little wreaths than it does to make one big one. After the fourth one I was sick of the whole process. I had a few mishaps - some of the wreaths were a little dark, some had swelled in the oven until they resembled pregnant ankles, and a couple stuck to the cookie sheet and broke because I waited too long to remove them. I was using colored sugar for the decor which was getting everywhere and staining my fingers, resulting in a few random red and green fingerprints on the cookies. Still, by early evening I managed to get a dozen fairly good wreaths baked, and figured the chocolate would cover a multitude of sins.
So, if anyone out there knows how to get chocolate on the bottom of a decorated cookie, please share your secret here. It was a disaster. I tried dipping but the cookies were too thin to get a good grip, and if you squeezed too hard the edges would crumble. I tried pouring the chocolate on a plate and snuggling the cookie down into the pool, but I couldn't pick them back up without getting the chocolate all over the top of the cookie. I tried turning them over and painting the chocolate on the back. I couldn't lay them on the cookie sheet or the colored sugar fell off, so I held the pieces in my hand. It sort of worked, but I couldn't get a nice clean edge. In the end, I had 12 plates of Charlie Brown cookies. There was no way I was going to take these to a gathering of Martha Stewarts. Time for Plan B.
One of my favorite cookies as a kid is a free-form meringue we called Fly-ups. My mom always told me that they were served during the bridging ceremony when a girl "flew up" the ranks from Brownie to Girl Scout. I never actually made it past the Brownie stage so I can't verify this, but the cookies are pretty darn good and easy enough for a 9-year-old to make, which at this point was perfect. Normally they have tiny chocolate chips in the batter, but I didn't have any on hand. What I did have was a delicious hunk of Sanders dark chocolate peppermint bark, which I chopped up and used in place of the chocolate chips. It was magnificent! I can't find my recipe - all my cookbooks are packed up so my kitchen counter space looks maxed for any potential homebuyers. But this one is pretty close:
|Click here for the recipe: Chocolate chip meringue cookie from Weight Watchers|
Last week an invitation came in the mail. The cookie exchange is now an annual tradition, and I'm invited back. This time we need 11 dozen cookies! I guess I could just hope to wow them with my packaging. But I decided to plan ahead. I found a cute recipe, bought the ingredients, and plan on doing a dry run before the big day. I'll let you know how it goes.