Friday, December 3, 2010

Crumbling Affection


Nothing hits home in quite the same way as a cookie.

Cookies and milk are a treat I still enjoy. Cookies and punch (a far inferior combination) nevertheless remind me of childhood parties, and school dances, and red KoolAid stains on your shirt that blend very well with smeared chocolate chips. Cookie dough ice cream stands alone.

You may have a favorite meal, or dish that mom makes that simply doesn't measure up to anyone else's version. But nothing beats the cookie straight from the oven, having only cooked through enough to keep the warm, soft edges from melting onto your greedy fingertips.

See? This is a feeling that pie could never evoke.

So why must I make you feel this way right now, while you are sitting at your computer or reading this on your smart phone, and very likely not near a bakery?

I must because it's cookie swap time.

Every year before Christmas, the Mastro ladies gather 'round to swap cookies. You bake five dozen of your signature nosh* and swap them with the several other varieties of treats that all your relatives brought. You leave with a bunch of different types of cookies without having to make anything but one type of cookie in your own kitchen.

Genius and delicious. Now, if only we could figure something like this out for weeknight dinners....

Anyway, I don't want you to miss out on an Advent or Christmas cookie swap just because you have no long-standing family tradition to eat way more butter and sugar than should be humanly allowed. Here's a guide to hosting your very own meaningful cookie swap that I really enjoyed reading.

For my cookie swaps this year, I'll be making my signature kolach, a cream cheese dough filled with fruit preserves. They're like miniature hot pockets, but sweeter. And, you can eat eight of them before you realize you're full.

In fact, maybe I need to go make them now.... Happy baking!

*I have totally just given an "out" to all of you Mastro ladies out there currently reading this blog who do not have the time to make your five dozen cookies. The stores have some good stuff nowadays. Feel no shame.

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