Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

As you may or may not yet know, I've participated in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap of 2013, an annual event wherein bloggers bake cookies and send them to each other. It's rather thrilling, if I do say so myself. Don't judge. I mean, really, how many of you get 3 dozen cookies over the course of November from people who cook as their passion? 

I deliberated long and hard about which cookies to make. I received my matches (Miss in the KitchenDaily Cup of Asheejojo & A Kitchen Addiction), read through their bios, and glanced through their recipes. I hoped to make something that not only suited them but also aligned with my blog's style. Whatever that means. Anyway, I'm not opposed to eating cookies that have a pound of butter in them if someone else put their labor and love into them, but I'm generally not the one to make them. (Unless they're snowballs/Russian teacakes/Mexican wedding cookies. More on this later.) 

I love the All About Cookies book by Joy of Cooking and most of the cookies I bake for the holidays come from there. I was intrigued when I came upon Dream/Angel Bars on page 49. The blurb said:

"Many a copy of Joy has been sold on the strength of this recipe, or so we have been told."

How could I ignore that kind of assertion? It would have been heresy to ignore such a mandate. Right now a lot of experienced chefs/bakers are shaking their heads at me. I can feel the raised eyebrows and pursed lips pointed in my direction. They seem to be saying "you really shouldn't test out a recipe on guests". In my head, the logical extension of this common knowledge is that it's even more important to test your recipes before serving them to people you've never met before. Especially if most of them are seasoned cooks. Alright, alright. But it always works out, doesn't it? 

To be honest, I rarely (never?) make test batches. I go all in. And since the deadline for the cookies was still a full week away, there wasn't that much risk. Except for the fact that I might have 3 dozen dysfunctional cookies on my counter at the end of the process. But it wasn't like I was getting it from an unknown source or anything. I trust Joy of Cooking, so that was the end of the story. I dove headfirst into mounds of coconut and chopped walnuts without a backward glance.

Dream Bars
from All About Cookies by Irma S. Rombauer
for the crust
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
for the filling
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
for the crust
1) Line an 11x7 pan (2 quarts) with aluminum foil, allowing it to overhang on all sides about 2 inches.

2) Combine the butter, granulated sugar, egg yolk and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined and somewhat fluffy.

3) Stir in the 3/4 cup of four using a wooden spoon. Switch to using your hands when it become to difficult to handle. Press the dough into the pan so that it's fairly even and reaches all the edges.

4) Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Set aside once finished, but leave the oven on.
 for the filling
5) Spread the coconut and walnuts on separate baking sheets. Place them in the oven, toasting for 2 minutes before stirring both. The coconut will most likely take less than 5 minutes total, so keep a sharp eye on it. The walnuts may take up to 7, but be careful not to burn them either. {I recommend pausing everything else while this process takes place as the coconut got very dark while my back was turned.} Set aside.

6) Combine the whole eggs, brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla in the (clean) bowl of the stand mixer. Beat until smooth on medium speed. 

7) Add the toasted coconut and walnuts to the bowl and stir with a rubber spatula. Pour onto baked crust.

8) Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted is slightly wet and the top has darkened slightly.

9) Once the bars have cooled almost completely in the pan, use the edges of the foil to lift them gently but swiftly from the pan. {They can easily break under their own weight, which makes the bars slightly less even.}

10) Cut the bars into squares, being careful not to perforate the foil so that it will peel off easily in one sheet.

11) Enjoy the dream.

And finally, I'd like to recognize the lovely people who sent cookies to me. 

From Celebrating Sweets, I received Butter Toffee Shortbread Cookies, which had little pieces of butter toffee baked into a crispy, crumbly cookie. Oh yes. 

There were more, but let it suffice to say that they met their fate.
From the CBO (Chief Baking Officer) of Toast Enterprises, otherwise known as Tales from the Crumb Tray, I received Danish Butter Sandwich Cookies with a Chocolate Variation. Yup.
This time the camera caught them
before the fingers did.
From Nickida of Nicki's Random Musings, I received Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip cookies. The best part about them, other than their taste, of course, was the fact that they were huge, so it's easy to feel good about yourself because you can say you only had one. Ha.

My nighttime photo doesn't do them justice,
but you can at least get the spirit of the party this way.


All three years have been hosted by Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen. For the roundups of previous years' cookies, visit their pages for 2011 (Part 1 & Part 2) and 2012 (Part 1 & Part 2).


  1. I am glad you enjoyed them Jordan. They are hefty cookies. LOL. My motto is if you are gonna have a cookie it has to be a nice big cookie. :)

    1. Thanks again for sending them! I'll look forward to making them.