An old fashioned Cookie Swap was always on the agenda at my house immediately following Thanksgiving! I couldn’t wait to decorate my home for Christmas and send out invitations to friends and neighbors.
The invitation explained that each guest was asked to bake a double batch of their favorite cookies along with the recipe printed on index cards. Their cookies would be placed on a platter on the Dining Room table with the recipes close by. That way, guests could take the container they came with and walk around the table to sample each cookie and take a few to place into their container. They could also take a copy of the recipe. It was a way of trying something new and getting some great recipes!
The first party I had was so successful, the next year people started calling me right after Halloween to make sure I was going to have it again ! So began a yearly tradition until we moved from the neighborhood.
I got so many wonderful, family treasured recipes that I still make to this day! Some of those favorites are included in my cookbook: Lauralee’s Brownies page 243, Judy’s Cheesecake Squares page 248, and Fruit and Nut Mounds page 211. Of course, I could go on and on and also add Homemade Candies to the list too like Almond Butter Crunch page 217 and of course, New Orleans Creamy Pralines page 219
I always set my table with my finest Christmas tablecloth and my Christmas Tree china. There was of course some Savory tidbits to balance out all that sugar along with a fresh pot of New Orleans Coffee and yes……a crystal pitcher of my Garden Club’s Famous Whiskey Snowballs page 225.
Those Cookie Swap parties are now just a “Sweet Memory” but if I was ever invited to another one, this is what I would make….My New Orleans Turtle Cookies
Turtle Cookies N’Orleans Style
Yields 36 cookies
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 slightly beaten egg whites
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375*
Sift together flour and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, cream together the brown sugar and soft butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Blend in egg yolks, vanilla and water. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Place slightly beaten egg whites in a shallow bowl. Place the chopped pecans in another bowl. Using a 1” cookie scoop, form 1- inch balls of dough and dip the flattened side in the egg whites, then dip into the pecans. Place on parchment lined sheets, nut side up spacing about 1 1 /2 inches apart. Press down lightly on the cookie, being careful not to crack the dough balls.
Bake at 375* for 7 minutes. Reverse pans and continue baking for 8 more minutes. When cookies are completely cooled fill with mounds of chocolate icing made as follows:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons of unsweetened Hershey’s cocoa
1 pound of confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (or more if necessary) milk or cream
Place salt, cocoa and confectioner’s sugar in a processor. Blend well. Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined and fluffy. Place icing in a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Top each cooled cookie with a generous dollop of icing. Store in a covered cake box.
…until next time, Bon Appetit