A couple years ago I started a Mom’s Wine Group and this lead to an annual Cookie Exchange. It’s turned out to be a great evening hanging with the ladies each holiday season, talking smack, kids, partners or husbands, enjoying wine, bites and at the end of the evening getting to go home with dozens of cookies and/or holiday baking. Love this time with friends and the gift of cookies that keeps on giving. Until they are all gone.
This year I am making cookies for both our Annual Group Cookie Exchange, and, since I am always up for a challenge, The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013. This Cookie Swap is Worldwide and you have to be a Food Blogger to participate. For a small submission fee (goes to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer), you get matched up with other Food Bloggers in your Country. Since my country “Canada” is rather large, I was paired with Food Bloggers who live in Eastern Canada. I am in the West.
For the cookie swap I needed a cookie that could stand up to traveling across Canada and arrive in one piece. Since moving to Calgary, I had been slightly challenged with getting a gingerbread cookie right, so I decided I was going to conquer gingerbread and declared let Battle Gingerbread begin.
A month or so ago I got to work playing with ingredients as I prefer soft gingerbread cookies and wanted to make sure I could come up with a recipe to get a soft cookie. In Calgary we are 3400 ft above sea level and as such ingredients need to be adjusted to compensate as this affects baking. The higher the altitude, the lower the atmospheric pressure. Lower pressure in turn causes water to evaporate more quickly. On or around my 3rd gingerbread cookie attempt I got the ingredients right with a little help from my Five Spice Ginger Cookies. Using a similar ingredient plan I was able to get the right consistency and taste adding in some orange zest for additional zip. Super Yum and I’ve even turned a few non gingerbread cookie fans into gingerbread cookie lovers with these gems.
If you choose to decorate and ice, I have included the royal icing recipe I use. The kids love to decorate these cookies and I love this cookie that has now become a family favourite and a new tradition.
By participating in the Food Blogger Cookie Swap I also received 3 fabulous cookies from Food Bloggers across Canada. Heather from The Tasty Gardener in Toronto sent over some “tasty” Egg Nog Cookies. Sarah at Feasts For All Seasons in Vancouver (my old stomping grounds & heart City) provided me with a Lovely cookie called Chocolate Gingerbread Crackles. Evelyne from Cheap Ethnic Eatz in Montreal sent along some Ohh La La Candied Orange Peel Shortbread. Fantastic cookies all around and I can’t wait until next year’s Cookie Swap 2014!
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- ⅔ cup molasses
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups all purpose white flour
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp ginger
- ½ tsp cloves
- ¼ tsp salt
- In a large bowl beat together butter, brown sugar, egg, molasses, orange zest and vanilla. Set aside.
- In another bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to wet mixture, mixing well.
- Divide dough in half, shape into two discs, wrap in plastic and place in fridge until firm (2-3 hours or overnight).
- When ready to cut out cookies, roll out dough to about ¼ inch thickness on lightly floured surface. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place on parchment lined cooking sheets about 1 inch apart. If the dough feels soft, place cookie sheet back in fridge for 15 minutes to firm up dough before baking.
- Bake in 350 F oven for 4 minutes then turn and rotate cookie sheets in oven. Bake for another 4 minutes or until cookies lightly browned on bottom and firm to touch. I always rotate the trays in the oven so the cookies bake evenly on all sides.
- Set on racks to cool completely before icing.