As we've established, I'm a blogger now. Bloggers do weird things like be friends with each other even when they've never met. Weird, but also very sweet. As I learned this past weekend, Washington, D.C. has quite the cache of young, female bloggers who share a common interest in food, photography, healthy living, exercise and obsessive compulsive behavior (I kid . . . sortof).
One such gal, Lisa, was very graciously opening her home to local bloggers for a cookie swap. My first thought: "That is so cool, I totally want to be a part of that! Gepetto, make me a real blogger!" My second thought: "Hold your horses, cowgirl, you don't know any of these people. Stick to what you know." I felt kind of like a weirdo inviting myself to a party at someone else's house where I wouldn't know another soul, buuuuuut, what the hell. I decided it would be good to get out and meet some new people.
I tried to explain the situation to a guy I work with, and it led to some second guessing:
Katie: "Guys, I'm going to a party with other DC bloggers that I've never met to exchange cookies!"
Co-worker: "Were you invited to this party?"
K: "Not exactly."
CW: "Do you know the host?"
K: "Mmm, no."
CW: "Are you going with some who knows the host?"
K: "N-n-n-o-o." (Deflated voice; no more exclamation points.)
CW: "Kathryn, will you know anyone at this party?"
CW: "I don't get it."
And so, by the time the cookie party rolled around, I was feeling a little nervous. Maybe this really was a ridiculous idea. Plus I had caught cyberwind of what some of the other bloggers were making and was feeling inadequate. Originally, homemade oreos sounded so wonderful, but when I heard some of the fancy names of other cookies, oreos seemed kind of pedestrian. But at that point, I had all the ingredients for oreos plus two other events to prep for over the weekend. No time for changing plans.
Fortunately, there was nothing intense about the situation at all. Everyone was amazingly nice and complimentary and funny. Most of the other people were in the same boat as me and didn't know any of the other guests. And it was really neat to talk to so many other bloggers.
And the cookies, WHOA. Let's just say everyone brought their A game. I wish I had taken notes on who brought what, but see above re feelings of nervousness - I was not in a mental position to plan for note-taking. I do remember that Chase brought my absolute favorite kind of cookies, Italian pizelles (made without anise - not the traditional Italian method, but just the way I like them!). Clearly, we were instant friends.
Talk about crafty! These tree cookies were like little works of art.
I do remember that above and below were made by the host and co-host, Lisa and Emily. Both delish.
And for the record, my oreos were big hit (I think the pretty packaging helped). I served them at room temperature for the party, but these cookies are best eaten when frozen or thawed for 10 minutes or so (this also keeps the frosting from squishing out the sides when eaten).
*My apologies: I had originally posted the recipe for a very large batch of these wafer cookies, which makes a LOT of dough. More than my food processor can handle. Corrected measurements below.
Homemade Oreo Cookies
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. sugar (v - vegan sugar)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened (v - Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks or similar product)
4 tsp. milk (I used skim) (v - plain soy milk)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
turbinado or demerara sugar for rolling (v - vegan sugar)
Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, salt and baking soda in a food processor and pulse until mixed. Cut butter into chunks and add to processor. Pulse until incorporated (it will look like little chocolate crumbs). Mix the milk and vanilla together in a small bowl and add to the processor while pulsing. Continue to pulse or run the processor until the mixture forms a ball (keep pulsing, it will happen).
Roll the ball out into a log around 14 inches long. Roll the log in turbinado or other large sugar crystals until coated. Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate for an hour or so (longer is fine; I left mine overnight).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice log into 1/4 inch thick slices and place on a baking sheet. The cookies will spread, so do not place too closely together. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Cookies should get crispy as they cool.
A foreword on frosting: I do not measure frosting ingredients (though I do my best to provide estimates for you). For add-ins like hazelnut and peanut butter, I just add until tasty. I do the same with the powdered sugar. More sugar here would probably serve the purpose of making the frosting very thick, like real oreo creme, but I prefer the taste with less sugar. Also, if you are working with an organic powdered sugar, you really must sift the sugar or put it through a mesh strainer before using (for some reason the organic kinds are clumpier).
Each recipe below is enough for one batch of wafer cookies from above.
Hazelnut (this was so outrageously yummy)
6 tbs. butter
3 tbs. cream cheese
1/3 cup hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
2 to 3 cups powered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add Nutella, milk and vanilla; mix. Blend in powdered sugar slowly.
See recipe from Mint Oreo Cupcakes. Divide batch in half.
Vegan Peanut Butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (I like Smucker's because it is thicker than most brands)
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
splash of soy milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Mix butter and peanut butter with a hand mixer. Add milk and vanilla; mix. Blend in powdered sugar slowly.
Assembly: Fill a quart sized ziplock bag with your frosting of choice and snip off 1/2 inch of the tip. Pipe generously onto one wafer cookie and top with a second wafer cookie. Serve after freezing or refrigerating.