During December, many people host cookie swaps. Organizing a festive cookie party is a great way to cut back on your holiday baking. Instead of making a million cookies, you and your friends each bake a different cookie. Then you get together and trade cookies; everyone walks away with an assortment of treats. To ensure that you don't end up with 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies, ask your guests what type of cookie they will bring. Throw the party on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in between lunch and dinner.
Don't worry about serving a bunch of appetizers, but do offer a couple of easy nibbles like mixed nuts, cheese, and homemade savory cookies. Thyme, lemon, and sea-salt shortbread is crisp and buttery, while blue cheese pecan crackers are rich and addictive. You'll have to wait until tomorrow to see my suggested sweet cookie recipes, but you can learn the techniques for the salty shortbread and cheesy crackers when you keep reading.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour Makes 26 cookies. 3/4 cup (2 ounces) pecan halves Makes 20 crackers.
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 ounces blue cheese, such as Danish blue, crumbled
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Makes 26 cookies.
3/4 cup (2 ounces) pecan halves
Makes 20 crackers.