It’s probably a cliché to say this, but one of the main reasons I love baking so much is that I get to share the fruits of my work. I mean, nobody makes a whole cake only for him- or herself, right? The holidays are the perfect excuse to go on a baking frenzy because I not only get to make desserts for many dinners to come but also create edible gifts.
Because I’m always willing to take on more baking projects, this year I decided to take part in The Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap. This yearly event brings together food bloggers from around the world to celebrate cookies. Each blogger who signs up receives the address of three other bloggers to whom they must send a dozen homemade cookies. The registration fee is donated to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a national non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer, which claims the lives of more children in the United States than any other disease. By participating in the cookie swap, you not only get to enjoy delicious cookie, but also help support a great cause.
Sending carefully wrapped packages is one of my favorite things to do—in fact, I wish I could figure out a business model that would allow me to wrap and ship beautiful packages all day. Every December, I ship homemade cookies and candies to friends and clients—it’s my way of saying thank you for a great year. Clearly, The Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap is the perfect holiday event for me.
The cookies I shipped to Sharana, Jane, and Amanda combine my favorite baking nut, pecan, with my favorite holiday candy, Maple Syrup Fudge. Yes, that’s right. There’s a piece of maple syrup fudge in each cookie! If that’s not heaven in cookie form, I don’t know what is. I’ve made five batches of these wonders over the past two weeks, and I plan on making more because, well, they’re that good. Note that you must make the maple syrup fudge before you make the cookies, but the good news is that you’ll have plenty of fudge left over to snack on as you shape and bake the cookies. Plus, cookies packaged along with a few separate fudge pieces make the sweetest gift—one you will probably get requests for every year from now on.
- Vanilla Crescent Cookies (by Jason Sandeman, R.S.E.)
- Chocolate-Pistachio Sablés (by Stacy from 27th and Olive)
- Molasses Cookies (by Christina from I Say Nomato)
I loved being part of this year’s cookie swap. Want to participate in the 2016 edition? Sign up to The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap newsletter to be notified when signup opens.
Makes Makes about 20 cookies
Cookie combined with your favorite holiday candy? These Chewy Maple Syrup Fudge Pecan Cookies make perfect gifts for the season!
Position a rack in the middle position of your oven and preheat at 400°F [200°C]. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, if you’re using a handheld mixer), cream the butter and brown sugar together. Add the egg and beat until smooth and creamy. At the lowest speed, or using a wooden spoon, stir in the dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in the chopped pecans.
With floured hands, shape 2 tsbp [30 ml] of dough into a ball (using a mini ice cream scoop makes this easy). Push a cube of maple syrup fudge into the center and cover completely with dough.
Place 10 cookies on each sheet, leave 2 inch [5 cm] space around each cookie. Top each cookie with one pecan half.
Bake, one sheet at a time, for about 7 minutes, or until the edges just start to turn light golden. The cookies will still be very soft in the center, but they will set as they cool. Place the cookie sheet on a wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat to bake the second batch of cookies.
Serve the cookies at room temperature. If they are refrigerated, return to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. These cookies don’t freeze well.
MAKE IT DAIRY FREE
Use dairy-free buttery shortening instead of butter. I use Earth Balance’s Vegan Buttery Sticks.
Recipe Credit: Adapted from Ricardo Best Cookies: 72 Spectacular Recipes.