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December 12, 2012

Cookie Swap 2012!

When I was growing up, we had a tin container, about 8 or ten layers high and a full 12-14 inches across that stacked one layer atop another, and had a metal handle that locked it all.  It was dented, and a bit less shiny than it used to be, but this was where all the best cookies lived each holiday season--the ones my mom wanted to take to her mom or mother-in-law.  There were other cookie tins we kids were allowed to "steal" from, but this one was traveling with us when we drove south to family to celebrate, so it was strictly forbidden until the trip. 

My folks recently retired, and I was dismayed to find that the cookie tower tin was donated to Goodwill in the move.  Of all my mom's kitchen appliances and tools, that was one that I would have treasured, the way she does her mom's "noodle cutter," with its chipped paint and rough handle that saw my grandmother through nine children during the depression and beyond.  

In any case, that tangible item is gone, but the memory is fresh.  Just before my first cookie exchange of the season, I came across this small bento lunch box.  Meant for a single person, it's only six or eight inches across, and tri-leveled.  It's so reminiscent of my childhood I had to have it!  And it's economical too--it's preventing me from bringing home from my exchange more cookies than I can eat, since I live alone.



My friend Jen organizes a monthly craft day in a community room near her home.  The space is great to spread out, even if working on a quilt, and her group gets around thirty people each month given her freewheeling bring-whatever-you're-working-on nature.  Once a year we turn the end of the room into a bakers' paradise.  It's so great to come away with a mix of gift-quality goodies!  The variety adds

I have so little counter space at home that any kind of rolled or dropped cookie is out of the question.  So this year I did some internet searching for more innovative bar cookies, and came up with this Macadamia Bar cookie from Better Homes & Gardens.  The cookie dough is so densely solid it's like a cement mixer, so be sure the pan is prepared before mixing the dough!  There's a light hint of nutmeg that made these cookies a great substitute for the traditional nutmeg logs that my mom and brother make yearly, without the mess of rolling and cutting into logs.  It came with a wonderful eggnog icing recipe but I found I didn't need the extra sweetness, and was able to go without buying eggnog.  I made this recipe again a week later for another exchange, and dropped the dough into a molded pan.  The holly shapes held and made for a really festive touch.  Those pictures will be in my next post.

Which new recipes are you trying this year, and what are your traditional favorites?  Please leave a comment on my blog!

Macadamia Bars with Eggnog Drizzle
reprinted from

Makes: 36 servings
Yield: about 36 bars
Prep 25 mins
Bake 350°F 25 mins

2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 recipe Eggnog Drizzle (see recipe below)
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, grease foil, set pan aside. In a medium saucepan, cook and stir sugar and butter over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.

2. Stir eggs and vanilla into sugar mixture. Stir in flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Stir in nuts.

3. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges just begin to pull way from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Use foil to remove uncut bars from pan; place on cutting board. Cut into diamonds. Drizzle with Eggnog Drizzle. If desired, sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg. Makes about 36 bars.

From the Test Kitchen
Layer bars between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze unfrosted bars for up to 3 months. Thaw and frost.

Eggnog Drizzle

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon eggnog

1. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and the 1 tablespoon eggnog. Stir in additional eggnog, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches drizzling consistency. Drizzle icing over bars.

Nutrition Facts (Macadamia Bars with Eggnog Drizzle)
Servings Per Recipe 36,
cal. (kcal) 144,
Fat, total (g) 7,
chol. (mg) 21,
sat. fat (g) 3,
Monosaturated fat (g) 3,
carb. (g) 21,
fiber (g) 1,
sugar (g) 15,
pro. (g) 1,
vit. A (IU) 97,
Thiamin (mg) 0,
Riboflavin (mg) 0,
Niacin (mg) 1,
Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0,
Folate (µg) 16,
Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 0,
sodium (mg) 39,
Potassium (mg) 28,
calcium (mg) 20,
iron (mg) 1,
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

1 comment:

  1. These tins are too cute! I've seen them around and next time I see them I want to go buy them.

    Hope to see you at the next LA Food Blogger Event in January!

    Los Angeles Food Bloggers Meetup Organizer


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