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Holiday Treats: The Virtual Cookie Exchange Blog Hop

I’ve always wanted to participate in one of those cookie exchanges. What a fantastic idea! You bake lots of your favourite cookie, attend a party with other cookie bakers, and leave with a fabulous array of holiday treats that make it seem like you’ve spent months in the kitchen.

Well, my wish (kind of) came true! I’ve been asked to join a virtual cookie exchange created by the lovely Linda Poitevin. Virtual eating is no where near as fun as the real thing, but virtual baking and virtual clean up? That I can definitely handle.

Many thanks to Vanessa of Thodestool for inviting me to the party! If you check out all the invited guests’ posts, you’ll be able to collect 341 new cookie recipes…how cool is that?

As for me, it was really difficult to choose just one. There’s so many cookie recipes that I grew up with and absolutely adore. In honour of my Scandinavian heritage, I decided to go with Anise (or Aniseed) Cookies. If you’re from Scandinavia, chances are your holiday baking revolves around three spices: anise, cardamom, and caraway seeds. Anise lends a delicate liquorice flavour to these cookies, and it’s absolutely delicious. Trust me! I used to eat the seeds like candy when I was a kid.

**Note: While these cookies are easy to make, they do require two hours of chilling, so don’t try to whip them up at the last minute. Also, they don’t really brown. You’re looking for a hardening of the dough. If you leave them until they’re brown, they’re burnt. Very much like shortbread that way.

Anise Cookies (recipe from Harrowsmith)

1 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 cup soft butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour

Crush anise seeds with a rolling pin or grind with a mortar and pestle and set aside. Cream butter, then gradually add sugar, mixing well. Add eggs one at a time, beating each time. Add vanilla. Stir in anise seeds, and gradually add flour, stirring sufficiently to mix. Chill the dough for two hours.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and knead lightly on a floured pastry board. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to half an inch thickness. Cut the cookies with a cookie cutter of your choice, place on a greased cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until dough starts to firm.

Makes approximately four dozen cookies.

Enjoy! What is your favourite holiday treat?

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10 Comments

  1. Stephanie Faris

    Those sound delicious! I’ve seen a lot of cookie swap posts on Facebook this year. I’d never heard of them before this year. I guess that’s something I missed out on during my office days!

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Thanks, Stephanie. I was invited to one once, but the friend’s house is really far away and I don’t have a vehicle. One of these days…

      Reply
  2. Javier

    I love cooking but until recently I never dared baking. This year I made gluten free and vegan cookies for work and an apple cake that turned out pretty good.
    Great holiday post. All the best in the new year, J.H.!

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      That’s great, Javier! I love baking, although it can be frustrating if your oven is temperamental. If you’re ever feeling stressed, bread-making is wonderfully relaxing. I highly recommend it. Apple cake sounds amazing!

      All the best to you as well! Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  3. Susan Scott

    Anise seeds? What’s that! I read the recipe and it looks easy enough … thanks for sharing and may your Christmas and 2015 be bright and filled with goodwill and cupcakes. Thanks J.H. 🙂

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Hey Susan,

      Thanks for commenting. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

      Anise seeds are a spice. They look a lot like fennel seeds, except they’re smaller, and they have a nice liquorice taste. They’re used a lot in Italian baking as well.

      Thanks for all the kind comments over the year. It’s been much appreciated.

      Reply
  4. Elle

    Sorry I missed this one – I would have been all over it. I made two treats this year: peanut butter marshmallow squares, and candy cane cookies. Now I’ll have to bookmark all these for next year.

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      I would have tagged you, but I was the last person to be chosen. It was kind of a weird blog hop, because the one who originated it didn’t seem to read the posts. Or at least she didn’t comment.

      Oh well. It was fun anyways. And if you’re going to make just two treats for the holidays, I’d say you picked some awesome ones!

      Reply
  5. Lisa

    :0(((
    I commented but it appears the comment didn’t take….

    Your cookies sound Yum!

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Sorry about that, Lisa. I’ll be happy to see the end of Blogger, that’s for sure.

      Thanks for commenting! They are great cookies, and easy to make, should you want to try them.

      Reply

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