Most cookie exchange parties are not competitions. But, at the one I go to, people go ALL out. It all started last year….
The invitation said we would be judged 50% on packaging and 50% on taste and the judges were Brian Luscher (Chef/Owner of The Grape), Michael Flynn (Sommelier), and Chad Houser (Cafe Momentum). Of courses we got REALLY into it — after all, we knew who was invited and we wanted to at least put up a good fight! Well, we ended up winning! My mom won for packaging and I won for taste. You may recognize them…my cookie tinis!
So, this year, the gloves were coming off! And, in the days leading up to the competition, it was all out war on Facebook. Everyone was posting photos of their ingredients and being in “The Lab” or “The Test Kitchen”. Our apartment was named “Cookie Command Center” since we had my cookies, my moms cookies, and our friend Maria’s! We had cookies running out of our ears. But, I think my FB post was definitely clever…Batter Up!
So, I know you are wondering what I made but before I give you the details, let me go over the rules (yes, there are rules).
1) Make 6 dozen cookies
2) Package 10 half dozens. Put one half dozen aside for the judges to taste and one half dozen for Cafe Momentum
3) No chocolate chip
4) No bribing
So, I decided to make a miniature apple pie cookie. But, not just any apple pie. These were laced with alcohol.
First, I made the pie dough about a week in advance. I just did a basic pie dough recipe but added several tablespoons of cinnamon! I estimated that for one recipe of dough, I could get about one dozen cookies. So…yes…I made it 6 times. Then, flattened them into discs, wrapped them in plastic wrap and stuck them in the freezer. Tip: you can store pie dough in the freezer for 2 weeks!
Now, for the filling I sliced Granny Smith apples into matchsticks and mixed them with brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and butter.
So, the day before I began assembling everything, I set my pie dough out to thaw. The day of, I rolled it out and cut out small circles (I had to make sure they fit in my container!). I laid out 12 circles of dough on my cookie sheet, brushed them with an egg wash, put a spoon full of apples in the center, then a slice of caramel. I topped them with another circle of dough and pressed the sides down with a fork. They baked at 450 for about 12 minutes. Once they cooled, I drizzled them with an Apple Moonshine glaze (moonshine and powdered sugar) and topped with a sprinkle of fleur de sel. On the side, I whipped up a bourbon and cinnamon whipped cream 😉
I have my cookie. Now I need my packaging! I found glass containers at the Dollar Tree that had a white plastic lid. I painted the lid with red chalk paint and wrote on top with a white paint pen.
Under the lid, I used all different Christmas looking fabric and tied a cute tag around the top with ribbon.
Some would say that adding the bourbon on the jar was bribing….I say it’s strategic packaging!
So last night was the big night! Filled with good food, wine, and friends! And to top it all off, I won for packaging! Now…what will I make next year…??