Hi again, it’s Colleen here! It’s that time of year when we are making our lists and checking them twice. My lists are comprised of who I need to buy for, what I already have vs what I need, what holiday essentials I have to pick up like wrapping paper, tape, tags, etc, what parties we are hosting/going to and what tidbit I am bringing, all the food I want to make during the holidays and what ingredients I need, what I am doing for charity and who I need to help me and more…whew! I may sound organized but truly I’m not – I am a fly by my seat kinda gal, however, when things life gets too busy or a party is on the horizon…I can not do it without a list. THAT is the only way it will happen, plus it is SUCH an awesome feeling to cross off things as they are accomplished…right??
Raise your hand if you have ever attended or hosted a cookie swap! Aren’t they SO fun!!
I LOVE hosting cookie swaps and have done it a number of times. Just today, I had a “light-bulb” go off in my head. I immediately bellowed for my 9 year old daughter (who is a cooking machine) and asked her if she wanted to host her own cookie swap for 7-10 of her girlfriends. She squealed with delight and ran to grab a piece of paper for….yup, you guessed it, a list of who she wanted to invite. Like mother like daughter!
I’m not gluten-free, either is anyone in my family. I do, however, have a few friends who are, and since I know what it is like to feel excluded (both of my children have a number of life threatening food allergies), I do my best to always make/bring GF offerings.
Here are two incredibly decadent cookies that the gluten-free people in your life will get excited about and gluten lovers will never know that anything was “missing”. These cookies are delicious and different, and they just might be some of the best tasting gluten free cookies to visit your belly!
Homemade cookies always make a fabulous gift – especially when you put them in a glass jar, cute cookie jar or a festive tissue lined box. You can gift the cookies, the recipe, a cookie scoop or mini spatula as well! Even better, why not include an ingredient or two that make up the recipe – in this case maybe Mexican or Madagascar Vanilla Extract or the Orange Extract. That makes the gift even more special – especially if the one you are giving it to enjoys baking!
My absolute favorite online store period (as well as the online store I have purchased from more that any other in my life) is The Spice House. I am going to have to control myself here, or I will write about this forever. Think of a 5 year old let loose in a toy store…THAT would be me if I ever actually stood in one of their brick and mortar stores in Illinois. I have no words for how excited I would be!
The Spice House has SO many wonderful products for anyone who enjoys baking or cooking. They offer everything from flavored sugars, to vanilla beans to pepper corns, to Vanilla Bean Paste (a must have!!), to flavored salts and BBQ rubs…they even have a robust offering of organic spices. Simply put, The Spice House is my place for one stop shopping for herbs, seasonings and more!
My absolute favorite item from them…the one thing I get so nervous about if I think I am running low on is their in-credible Chicago Old Town Premium Spice Sugar. I use it for muffins, pancakes, breads and more. It is the “secret” ingredient to my Sweet & Spicy Pecans (which our friends and family are crazy for). People always look to be gifted with a bag or tin full during the holidays. The sugar is a little pricy, but I PROMISE you it is worth every single penny – the premium ingredients to make the sugar are what make is a standout. Think holiday gift for the foodie in your life!
A gift I have given a number of times is the Premium Spiced Sugar Box – I think it is priced great for what you get. You should see how cute the package the is when you open it…besides 4 bottles of amazing sugars (Molasses Sugar, Lavender Sugar, Chicago Old Town Sugar and Vanilla Bean Sugar…Swoon!!) They nestle the jars among a handful of usable Turkish bay leaves, Korintje cinnamon sticks and whole Grenada nutmeg! Who does THAT??
In addition to the sugar set, I love the Specialty Salts Gift Set (my 9 year old daughter is obsessed with the Hawaiian Black Lava Salt), The Peppercorn Set and the Bakers Spice Set to name just a few! I hope you have as much fun as I always do checking out both what The Spice House has to offer as well as the ton of recipes they have to go along with their products. All in all, from concept to products to their friendly customer service…The Spice House is top-notch!
Lucky for 2 of you – Patty from The Spice House was happy to offer up 2 of their Gift Box Sets to give away!!
To enter, all you need to do is to use the Rafflecopter widget below to tell us what your favorite holiday cookie is. You also have a number of other ways to earn entries! Will you keep it for yourself or give it as a gift? Either way…someone is going to be very happy! Good Luck!
Now for the cookie recipes!
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 TBS vanilla
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- ½ tsp Red/Cayenne pepper (optional but fabulous)
- Pinch of salt
- Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla. Beat them with a mixer on med-high for 2 minutes. Add in your egg and beat until just combined
- In a small bowl, combine the baking soda, salt & cocoa powder (and if using the red pepper).
- Fold the dry mixture into the wet and mix until combined.
- Add in chocolate chips, stir until incorporated.
- Place dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or more.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Scoop out tablespoons (or small cookie scoop) of the dough, roll into a ball and place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Flatten the ball halfway with the 3 fingers.
- Bake 9-11 minutes or until top of the cookies are cracked a bit and cookie is done. Cookies should be a little moist in the center.
But wait. I promised three cookie recipes, right?
The difference an “O” makes! These are a play on French Almond Macarons created by Four Seasons Pastry Chef, Patrick Lemble – not to be confused with the more familiar coconut Macaroons that are often half dipped in chocolate we all see come the holidays. For something a little different, why not treat yourself or someone with a jarful of these? Click here for the recipe –> Gluten-Free Almond Macarons.
If you are looking for a new cookie for the gluten lover in your life this holiday season – try my Chambord Chocolate Cookies – they are sinfully delicious!
Enjoy, and good luck with the giveaway!