Annual Holiday Cookie Exchange

This is my 3rd annual holiday cookie exchange with my colleagues and I swear the caliber of cookies and how they were presented were just getting better and better.  My teeth are hurting from all the sampling I have already done and I'm bouncing off the walls of my office!!

There were our old favourites like Bonnie's famous oatmeal cranberry cookies and new items that came from the Jamie Olivers and Martha Stewart cookbooks.

There were stand outs in terms of packaging where Sophia presented her cookies wrapped in a box with a different ribbon wrapped around each of them or Carly doing little festive parcels made of saran wrap. Tonya had her 'santa cookies' wrapped in santa cellophane.  We were all asked to make 4 dozen cookies where we would each take home 6 cookies from each variety- let's just say here's to sugar highs and holiday spirit!  I have to say I have one of the most talented offices for baking and perhaps we should think about putting our recipes together for a cook book!

Here's the selection we had to choose from - i will also include recipes as well

Tanya- Her mom's famous cookie wal-nut tart pie bars
Marjanne – Jamie Oliver's Shortbread bars
Carly – pretzel clusters with white chocolate, cranberries and candy cane and chocolate gingerbread bars packaged so nicely!
Bonnie – her famous Oatmeal and cranberry cookies (see recipe below)
Steph - Chocolate Macaroons and vanilla macaroon tops from Martha Stewart 

Sophia made - Almond kisses, chocolate duos and green tea short bread cookies packaged in a box for us!

Heather- Martha's Lime Meltaways

Tonya- she brought in molasses cookies which are also known as the 'santa cookie'.

I made matcha green tea cheesecake balls rolled in graham crackers.  I have to say these were rather time consuming as I had to make the dough, chill it and then roll the balls in graham crackers and then bake them.  I am not happy with the way they turned out- they are a bit dry and need to be eaten with milk I believe.  But I tried to push the bar and put my best foot forward and thus they were made with patience and love.   (recipe is below)

Bonnie's Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
 1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1tsp salt 
2 old fashion rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 package semi sweet chocolate chips
OR substitute with craisins, and/or raisins
crushed wal-nuts if desired

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, then vanilla, unitl smooth. 
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Stir into butter mixture.  Add oats, chocolate chips or optionally craisins/raisins/wal-nuts. Combine thoroughly. 
Drop by tablespoonfulls on to greased baking sheet and bake for in 350F for about 12 minutes or until golden.  Delicious!!

JV Matcha Green tea Cheesecake balls

1 c. (1/2 lb.) butter
1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese
1 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 1/2 c. flour, unsifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. graham cracker crushed
2 Tbsp Matcha green tea powder

Beat butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, lemon peel and juice and mix well. Stir in the flour and baking powder and matcha powder until thoroughly blended. Chill dough until firm, about 1 hour. Divide dough into 48 equal sized portions. Shape each into a ball, then roll in cracker crumbs to coat all sides. Place balls on lightly greased baking sheets and Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Enjoy!

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