Wednesday, December 1, 2010

‘Tis the Season to Host a Cookie Exchange

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The aroma of fresh-baked cookies brings back good memories. It reminds us of our childhood, measuring out flour, chocolate chips and Karo syrup as we baked with Grandma, or maybe of quality time spent with our own children.

“Cookie exchanges are a delicious way to share time-honored family recipes and sample an abundance of new treats”

Cookies will always be a timeless treat and a wonderful way to share memories across generations. They also make thoughtful gifts. If you haven’t considered hosting a cookie exchange, this holiday season is the perfect time to start.

“Cookie exchanges are a delicious way to share time-honored family recipes and sample an abundance of new treats,” says celebrity pastry chef Malika Ameen, owner of, a made-to-order gourmet cookie website. “More importantly, you’ll have the chance to share the joy of the season while spending precious time with your friends and family.”

Bring one of the following treats to your next cookie exchange and you’re guaranteed to be everyone’s favorite baker! Developed exclusively for Karo by celebrity chef Malika Ameen, the cookies are traditional recipes with a modern twist. The fruit lover in your life will delight in the Oat Crisps with Cranberries and Orange while the Maple Walnut Sticky Bars with Clove Scented Shortbread are heaven for the person who can discern what is absolutely divine. Can’t live without chocolate? Chocolate Crinkles are delightful as an elegant post-dinner dessert, paired with your favorite dessert wine or after dinner drink.

Visit to upload your own Cookie Exchange recipes and win great culinary prizes!

Lace Oat Crisps with Cranberries and Orange

These elegant cookies require only a few minutes to put together. They have the toasty and warm flavor of brown sugar and molasses and a brightness from orange and cranberries. They are a beautiful teatime dessert or just a quick and easy holiday treat to share with loved ones.

Yield: 2 Dozen

Bake Time: 12-13 min

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or one teaspoon of vanilla extract

½ cup Karo® dark corn syrup
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups thick rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds with skin
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, combine sugars, vanilla bean and orange zest. Gently rub together with fingers until sugar looks slightly coarse. Heat butter and corn syrup on medium heat for 1-2 minutes until butter is melted. Add sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. Add in nutmeg, oats, almonds and cranberries. Mix until well incorporated.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place one tablespoon of oat mixture on baking tray, leaving 3-4 inches between each. Press each cookie gently with the palm of your hand to help it spread evenly when baking. Bake crisps for 12-13 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Cool for 15 minutes and then remove from baking tray.

Serve or store in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Maple Walnut Sticky Bars with Clove Scented Shortbread

These shortbread bars have an irresistibly crisp cookie bottom with a subtle hint of sweet, aromatic clove. The topping is quick and requires no additional baking. The result is a buttery toffee nut topping with a deep maple flavor. These bars are the perfect accompaniment to a strong hot cup of coffee. Sweet, sticky, buttery and absolutely divine!

Yield: 2 dozen

Bake Time: 15 to 18 minutes


½ cup (4 oz.) butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup of all purpose flour
½ teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of ground cloves
¼ light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Walnut topping
9 tablespoons butter
2 cups walnut halves
1 ½ teaspoons pure maple syrup
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon maple sugar*
¼ heaping teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons Karo® light corn syrup
¼ cup + 1 ½ tablespoons heavy cream or evaporated milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment paper allowing a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter the lining (not overhang). Whisk together flour, salt, and ground cloves. Place ½ cup butter and ¼ cup brown sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add flour mixture and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan and chill 30 minutes or overnight.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until shortbread is a pale golden color and set in the middle.

For walnut topping, place butter and walnuts in a medium sized saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until nuts are fragrant. This will take 3-4 minutes and you will also see the butter become foamy. Add maple syrup, sugar, salt, corn syrup and cream. Boil, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 2 minutes. Spread over the shortbread crust and let completely cool. Lift shortbread out of dish using the parchment overhang. Cut into sixteen 2-inch squares. Store in an airtight container up to three days. Bars also freeze well for up to one month.

* Maple sugar is a specialty ingredient available at Whole Foods and specialty stores

Chocolate Crinkles

These are the ultimate decadent chocolate cookies. A cross between a cookie and a truffle, these crinkles are slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. These will be the most elegant cookies in your holiday repertoire and satisfy the most intense chocolate craving!

You can also take this cookie to the next level by adding sweet cardamom, which marries beautifully with chocolate.

Yield: 4 dozen

Bake Time: 8 minutes

2 cups all purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cardamom (Optional)*
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons Canola oil
2 Tablespoons Karo® light corn syrup
1 large egg yolk
2 Large eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Instant espresso powder (two teaspoons of VIA by Starbucks can be substituted)
1 teaspoon of hot water
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup confectioners sugar


In a medium bowl whisk together well the flour, baking powder, salt and optional ground cardamom, and set aside. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on low power for one minute. Stir and microwave in intervals of 15 seconds for 2-3 minutes or until chocolate is melted. Let chocolate cool.

Mix together hot water and espresso powder and stir to form a smooth paste.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together sugars, butter, oil, and corn syrup to blend. On low speed beat in eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and coffee paste. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and continue to mix until thoroughly combined. Turn off mixer and add all of the melted chocolate. Mix on low until combined. Add all flour mixture at once and mix on low until combined. Chill dough overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Remove rested dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Scoop one tablespoon of dough and shape into a ball. Pour ¼ cup granulated sugar in a large shallow bowl and 1 cup confectioners sugar in another bowl. Roll dough in granulated sugar, and then in confectioner’s sugar. Place on prepared baking tray. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake prepared cookies for 7-8 minutes at 325 degrees and remove from oven. Cookie centers will look wet and not set but this is what you are looking to see. Let cookies cool on the baking tray. If cookies are baked longer they will be firm in the center and much crisper. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

* Substitute cardamom with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon or a combination of allspice, ginger and nutmeg for “Spiced Chocolate Crinkles.”

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