Desserts pretty much make the holidays for me. I know that sounds lame, but as a Jew and a foodie, there isn’t a ton to look forward to. We don’t have a big Christmas dinner or cookies for Santa, and there is no sipping eggnog by the tree. For me, the reason I love the holidays is the food. Eating lakes with friends, Chinese food with family and baking an insane amount of dessert for my coworkers.
So this year, I decided to get in on the holiday spirit on my own, and when I came across The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I knew I had to participate. Here’s the fun part: each food blogger participant bakes 3 dozen cookies and ships them to 3 other bloggers they are paired with, also receiving 3 dozen different cookies back. Here’s the amazing part: each blogger donates $4 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and OXO matches the donation dollar for dollar. As it turns out, getting 3 dozen cookies in adorable Christmas boxes in the mail is also pretty amazing.
The easy part was done. Next came the real decision: what type of cookies to make. It’s pretty apparent from my blog that I’m not one to do anything traditional when it comes to food. I needed something seasonal and not too complicated. I also needed a cookie that could hold up for a few days in the mail. As much as I love to fill things with cream cheese frosting, that was out.
Then it came to me. Gingersnaps! I am a ginger myself, and I love all things flavored with ginger. My fantasy football team even goes by the same name. Somehow, I had never made a single gingersnap cookie. You can only imagine how much that has changed since I got my hands on some molasses a few weeks ago – the single ingredient standing between me and a lifetime full of gingersnaps.
The recipe I ended up developing wasn’t technically a gingersnap because they really have no snap like the traditional cookie. They turned out with a deliciously chewy interior. And even though they turned out much flatter than a traditional thumbprint cookie, I think they still held the pumpkin filling pretty well. If you want to leave out the filling, I’m sure they would still be (almost) just as delicious.
Ginger Spice Pumpkin Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 3 dozen (exactly!)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 stick butter
- Turbinado sugar (for rolling the cookies in)
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- Cream together butter for dough and sugars in a stand mixer or with your hand mixer.
- Then, add in your molasses and egg.
- In a separate bowl combine your flour, spices, salt and baking soda.
- Gradually add in wet ingredients to dry until well-incorporated.
- Refrigerate dough for at least an hour.
- Meanwhile, make your filling. Mix together the pumpkin and powdered sugar.
- Cream in your butter to the mixture, and then add in your spice.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Roll out dough into small, evenly sized balls.
- Then, roll each in turbinado sugar until covered all around.
- Push down in the top of the ball with your thumb, creating a small well for the filling. Carefully fill the hole with the pumpkin mixture.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned and thoroughly cooked in the center.
Cool, and then enjoy!
The three lucky bloggers who received my cookies were Leila of Belly., Rachel of La Pêche Fraîche and Hannah of FleurDeLicious. I mean, I hope they thought they were lucky. I packed a dozen into each of these adorable boxes, and then in a sugar-induced haze attempted to mail them via USPS priority mail. Like many twenty-somethings, I become very frazzled when I step inside a post office and didn’t know how to handle the flat-rate box/bubble wrap/packing tape situation. So I really just threw them in there and hoped for the best.
I spent all of my money, integrity and patience at the post office, and I wasn’t so sure if the experience would be worth it in the end. But once I saw that first box at my doorstep, I realized how wrong I had been. Getting a package in the mail is one of the greatest feelings. It’s like the feeling you have when you get junk email in your inbox, but the complete opposite. Check out what I got in the mail.
Chai-Spice Gingerbread Men from Rachel of Passing Daisies
These were actually addicting. Soft on the inside and a great crunch on the outside from the sugar. I ate six basically in one sitting and then I had to remove them from my apartment. It was a dangerous business.
Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies from Emilie of Scarborough Food Fair
I was absolutely obsessed with the box that these cookies came in. Like so adorable I almost didn’t want to open it. But then I did. I also loved doing this swap because I found some amazing new blogs to read! I loved the mac ‘n cheese bites she made recently.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies from Courtney Fos
Last but not least were these chocolate crinkle cookies. They looked just like Christmas! They were also in an adorable looking box that I completely tore open. Courtney shares such inspiring stories on her blog about her family, and I loved reading her weekly menus.
I loved participating in this cookie swap, and not only for the cookies I received. It was great hearing from the bloggers around the country who got boxes of my cookies. And most of all, it’s going to be great finding out how much money OXO is donating this year. I think I have a few weeks off before my holiday baking starts, and my biggest goal is to not eat 3 dozen cookies by then. Is that called a diet?