This year I took part in this cookie swap http://www.fbcookieswap.com/, which I narrowly missed out on signing up for last year, but kept an eye out for, as I thought it was a lovely little idea. The idea is that you sign up and are matched with 3 people, who you have to send 12 cookies each to. You are matched to three other people, and in theory you will then receive 36 lovely cookies!
I received my cookies safe and well, and am very happily chomping my way through some as I type. Unfortunately, due to the manic nature which is my life at the moment, I was unable to be quite as artistic and creative as I would have liked with mine, but nevertheless, here is my contribution to the recipe pile, and this is what 3 (lucky?) people around the country received from me.
Chewy ginger cookies
For my first admission – these were supposed to be gingersnaps. I had such a disaster with these, I cannot tell you. I made the cookies straight from this recipe http://www.joyofbaking.com/Gingersnaps.html last Christmas, and they were delicious. Crispy, snappy, ginger-y. Lovely.
Batch number one of this year hit its first hurdle when I realised I only had one shelf in my oven. To make 36 cookies. Humhum. But nevertheless, I started. Second snag – wanted to soften my butter, didn’t have a working microwave (the joys of living in shared accommodation really are never-ending, aren’t they?)… I was running on a very strict make-cookies-in-between-placement-and-writing-assignment-and-moving-house schedule, so I pressed on, and sort of melted the butter a little bit. Unfortunately, this meant that the mixture was far too soft and didn’t harden as quickly as it otherwise might have done.
Nevertheless, I pressed on. Plonked the first batch in the oven, and waited. Took them out ten minutes later… and they had done that horrible thing that cookies do when you don’t leave them growing room… yep, they had melded together into one massive cookie. (And an an aside, they were totally the wrong texture) Realising that this might be problematic to post, I tried cutting them out into fun shapes. But no cigar, they looked awful.
I decided to give up on this batch and went to the pub instead to calm down. Re-planned my weekend of packing to do them a couple of days later. Get up bright and early on Sunday morning ready to bake… and… I didn’t have enough treacle. I used it all in my first batch. And it was 8 o clock. On Sunday morning. When the shops are shut. And I had a lesson to teach at 11. Getting worse and worse. Cue desperately wandering around convenience stores looking for treacle, giving up and buying golden syrup (in one of those horrible old school tins) at the newsagents instead.
Made the dough, decided I was too stressed to bake them, went to tutor, packed a little bit of my life away into boxes (literally, not metaphorically)… and set to it again (with a calm friend to help me through). Made them in VERY small batches, they didn’t stick together… and they were still completely the wrong texture. Chewy not snappy. But never mind, no time. Packed them away in thankfully cute boxes and sent them on their merry way. Forgetting to include any of my details, or indeed what the cookies were supposed to be.
So I’m not saying that the people who received my cookies should be grateful, because they weren’t that impressive… but hopefully they can taste the stress that went into baking them. In a delicious, ginger-y way, obviously.
I’m sorry cookie people, I will try harder next year.