Once you've signed up to participate in the swap, you're assigned three other food bloggers and send each one a dozen cookies. Then you get three dozen cookies in the mail! My kids were loving this and came home each day waiting for our swap cookies to arrive. The one requirement is that we're to make a cookie that is new to us. I searched high and low and found a recipe for pistachio shortbread cookies. Well...after seeing the price of pistachios (holy sticker shock!) I decided to take the base recipe and make a few modifications to use common ingredients that I always have in my pantry - dried cranberries and ground vanilla beans.
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 tsp ground vanilla bean
In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Add in the vanilla extract and mix. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and ground vanilla bean. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the butter-sugar mixture until a dough forms. Stir in the cranberries by hand.
On a foot long piece of plastic wrap, form the dough into a log about 9 to 10 inches long, about 2.5 inches thick. Wrap the dough and place in the refrigerator for at least three hours, preferably overnight.
When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the dough with a serrated knife 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your cookies. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
After packaging up the cookies, I sent a dozen off to:
A Zesty Bite
Dang that's Delicious
Cooking with Curls
I received cookies from the following bloggers:
The Freshman Cook sent me the cutest Gingerbread Men. The kids gobbled them up!
Susan from A Less Processed Life sent delicious Billionaire Bars..I devoured these!
The Toasted Sprinkle sent a dozen Cris Kringle cookies. My husband loved these!
Shortbread cookie recipe slightly adapted from The View From the Great Island