Yesterday, I had the chance to re-connect with some wonderful blogging friends and to meet new people at the Bloggers without Borders NYC Holiday Cookie Swap to benefit Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Aside from being surrounded by the warm camaraderie of fellow food writers, photographers, and cooking fans, this was also a chance to swap cookies, which I love making and eating (probably in that order) and to devour some barbecue, as the event was held at Hill Country near the Flatiron Building. So, I got to combine a few of my favorite food groups at the same time.
On a very sad note, this event has a particularly timely and personal significance for me, as well. Several months ago, one of my tiny toddler nephews was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. He is just three years old. The mass grew in his chest over a few week period, we were told. It was found when the doctors did a chest x-ray after he developed what seemed to be a cold that was making it difficult for him to breathe.
Fortunately, he seems to be responding well to the treatments he has received thus far, including very strong doses of chemotherapy, although this bright, energetic bundle is now more subdued and chronically tired (He did, however, talk to me excitedly about the pie he had at Thanksgiving.). My sister and her husband are taking it all one day at a time, one step at a time. The little guy has many more years of treatment ahead of him and has had to stay home from school and away from many outdoor activities as his white blood cell count is too low for him to fight off infections he might contract from others. All we can continue to do at the moment is to have faith that this disease was caught in time for the cure to be effective.
Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was started when parents of a child who was battling cancer discovered that funding for research into treatment for the pediatric versions of the disease is one of the reasons that there has been a lag in finding effective therapies for children who are stricken. Sadly, their son did not survive his battle, but they continue to reach out and hold events in the hopes that other children and their families will benefit from future advances. Bake sales and events like the one that was held yesterday are just a few of the ways that they raise money for this cause. They also have a cookbook* of recipes that you can use to make your own batch of something delicious.
Here are the instructions for making the White Chocolate-Cranberry-Macadamia Nut Cookies that I brought to the swap (based upon a recipe that I found years ago that I have completely altered and re-written). To me, the bright crimson of the berries plus the snowy white of the chocolate encompass some of the quintessential colors and flavors of the season. I added some subtle notes of holiday spices as well to cut through the richness of the nuts and chocolate, which can sometimes be a little cloying and heavy. These flavors don’t dominate the cookies, but, rather, bring out the essence of the celebratory feel that biting into one of these sweet treats brings.
Jackie Gordon, the wonderful Diva that Ate New York, has made a video of all the cookies from the swap on Sunday. She also has a round-up of all the posts from the other bloggers who were there. You can find it here, where many folks have listed their cookie recipes, if you are looking for additional ideas for sweet treats for this season.
White Chocolate Cranberry Macademia Nut Cookies
Prep Time: An hour and a half, including baking
Serving Size: 3 dozen modest-sized cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 tsp. ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground Ginger
1/8 tsp. ground Cinnamon
1 stick unsalted Butter
1/2 c. unrefined Sugar
1/2 c. Light Brown Sugar
2 large Eggs
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 bag White Chocolate Chunks (about 1 c.)
1/2 c. chopped Macadamia Nuts
1/2 c. dried Cranberries (unsweetened)
Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, blend butter and sugars together until they are thoroughly mixed and light in color. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until the mixture is fluffy.
Add the flour mixture about a third or a fourth at a time and stir to blend completely into the butter mixture. When all of the flour has been incorporated, add in the chocolate, cranberries, and macadamia nuts and mix until they are spread throughout the batter.
Make small rounds of dough of about 2 inches (or 5 cm) in diameter across taking care not to overcrowd the cookies on the baking sheet. They won’t spread that much, but do need some room to expand. Bake for 7 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes more. Remove sheet from the oven and put cookies on a wire rack to cool.
*These links will take you to the cookbook on my site’s Amazon store. I’ve also included OXO Good Grips Good Cookie Spatula in my recommended culinary items on that site, too. For every cookbook, Kindle download, and cookie spatula that is purchased via this site, I will donate the revenue I receive to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.