My (8th) Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange

Today was an awesome day.  My 18 (local) BFFs came for lunch, and we all took home some truly outstanding Christmas cookies.

I made two interesting, somewhat seasonal, Denise-original salads (recipes below), and Craig picked up pizzas from a local pizzeria, Fortels - Shelly's Deluxe ("guy" pizza for sure - in case we had leftovers - hamburger, pepperoni, bacon, green pepper, onion), Little Jeffrey's Veggie Deluxe (mushroom, black olive, green pepper, onion, and I added tomato), Lexi's Spicy Southwest Chicken (southwest sauce, diced chicken, roasted red peppers, sauteed onions, added tomatoes), and THE hit, Brynn's Chicken Florentine (creamed pesto sauce and mozzarella).

The winning recipe was baked by my friend Michele.  Craig, acting as the official judge, is not typically a biscotti fan, but now is a convert and will have these yummies with his morning java tomorrow. 

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Biscotti
2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Dash of salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
2 eggs
1 c coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Sift first 4 ingredients together; set aside.  In a large bowl, mix butter and sugars.  Using an electric mixer at high speed, beat in espresso powder and mix until fluffy.  Continuing to beat, add in eggs one at a time, about 2 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients; mix well.  Add nuts and chips until well incorporated.

Divide dough in half placing each on a lined baking sheet.  Using floured hands, form each piece of dough into 3” diameter logs.  Bake 25 minutes or until firm to the touch.  Remove from oven and cover with a towel while they cool.  Leave oven at 325F.

On cutting board, use knife to cut logs on diagonal, 1” wide and put biscotti on baking sheet cut side down.  Bake for 10 minutes and turn over for another 10 minutes. Cool.

Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  Makes 3 dozen

Spinach, Apples, Bacon, and Walnut Salad with Creamy Maple Vinaigrette
Serves 6

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons Champagne or other white wine vinegar
2 tablespoon country-style Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, salt
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
1/2 cup chopped Braeburn apple
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach

To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk first 8 ingredients in a bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil until mixture thickens slightly.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Dressing can be prepared 3 days in ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.  Rewhisk before using. 

Combine mushrooms and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss with dressing until well-coated.

Winter Orange, Gorgonzola, and Avocado Salad
Serves 6

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups orange sections (about 2 large oranges)
1 cup blood orange sections (about 1 large orange)
5 cups torn romaine lettuce
4 cups torn red leaf lettuce
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 medium avocado, sliced

To make vinaigrette, combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl and whisk well.  Set aside.

To prepare salad, combine orange sections, romaine and red leaf lettuce in a large bowl.  Add onion, cheese, and avocado slices.  Pour vinaigrette over salad mixture; toss gently to coat.

All the cookie recipes are attached via this link: 2009 Christmas Cookie Exchange Recipes

1 comment:

  1. OK, this a long comment but I feel more needs to be said about the wonderful lunch/cookie exchange.
    I love the warmth you open up to your friends, Denise. That is just what it feels like, all warm and fuzzy...or was that the Champagne Cocktail I enjoyed as many of us caught up on the past year's events. I choose the Spinach, Apples, Bacon, and Walnut Salad with the awesome Maple dressing. The Maple dressing just seemed to melt in my mouth as I crunched on the apples, bacon and spinach. The pizza was so unique and yummy! Now, to the cookies. I am sure Craig had a tough job judging the cookies. There were so many great recipes despite some women claiming, "I am not a very good cook", um Leslie, the Neiman Marcus Bars melted in my mouth right down to my hips! My favorite cookie was Festive Chocolate Bark made by Anne. Yummy chocolate with pistachios and cranberries, WOW. Lastly, we all received a small book containing all of the cookie recipes and salad recipes which Denise made. I always love reading the cooking quotes she adds to the pages.
    It was difficult to leave Denise's unassuming warmth, however I was the last guest remaining so I departed with a stomach full of food and a heart full of gratitude and love. Thank you for sharing your love through food and thank you for sharing your friends! God Bless!



Related Posts with Thumbnails