The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Holiday cookie exchanges

For a number of years I used to make fudge for the holidays, not cookies. The problem with that was I would eat half the fudge before I got to give it out as gifts. That is not to say that I don’t eat the biscotti that I’ve been baking since the 90’s when the recipes were published in Gourmet Magazine, just not as much as the fudge.

When I switched from fudge to biscotti I went with a chocolate ginger almond recipe by the late great chef Barbara Tropp and a pistachio cranberry biscotti.  Both recipes are moistened only with eggs and vanilla, there is no additional fat (butter or oil). I use parchment paper on my sheet pans which eliminates me from buttering the pan. Currently, I just make the cranberry pistachio biscotti, it is easier now that I can find the shelled pistachios at Trader Joes. Initially, I would shell the pistachio, what a job that was. There are folks who wait each year for the pistachio cranberry biscotti, especially my neighbor, Mike,who gets his own cache along with what I give the family. Maria Springer, a great baker herself, waxes poetic about the time I gifted her with a large Mason Jar full of biscotti. The holiday season is a time of sharing so go to the recipe links above and try something new.  

Cookie exchange – mix the assortment

Gather your friends together who bake for the holidays and set up a cookie exchange/swap.  There are numerous ways to do it depending on the number of people participating.  Our culinary group would make 3 dozen cookies, put them out on the table and walk around in circles picking one of each until we ran out. Here is more information on creating your own cookie swap.

Here in Baltimore,  the Oreste Pandola Learning Center Book Club is having their third annual cookie exchange in Little Italy at St. Leo’s Church Hall on Saturday, December 13th from 1 to 4 p.m. Attendees should bring six dozen homemade cookies to exchange; place a dozen each in five separate plastic bags and one dozen to share there. A donation of $5 is requested. Please RSVP to Jenny 410-828-1822 or Carmella 410-991-9255.

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