Just in time for my holiday baking madness to begin, my friend Cheryl at 5 second rule has launched a virtual cookie swap. What a spectacular idea! Cheryl has asked her readers to post a comment endorsing the cookie of their choice. We will vote on the winning recipes at a later date, then Cheryl will bake them off and choose the ultimate victor. There are prizes too! Click the link, read her rules, and by all means enter the contest by offering a quick description of your favorite homemade cookie. You can post the description over in her comments or here on Beach Eats ... or better yet, both!
5 second rule is one of my most favorite blogs and you'd do well to click and bookmark that link in any case. Cheryl is a professional food writer. Her posts are witty and funny, and her recipes are magnificent. I'm still dreaming about her Acorn Squash Soup with Thai Red Curry Paste that I made in October ... and looking forward to making it again!
As for the contest, the tough part for me was deciding which of my favored cookies to enter. Now is as good a time as any to warn you ... December is all about baking for me and exactly none of it will be South Beach oriented. I have a long standing tradition of baking dozens and dozens and dozens of holiday cookies to distribute to friends and family. Some 13 years ago or so, I began gifting the staff of our building (doormen, Super, porter, etc.) with a selection of homemade treats and by now I'm known far and wide ... or at least on this corner of my block ... for my cookies. Of course I give them the customary monetary tip as well, but a check alone just seems so cold - whereas the addition of some beautifully crafted cookies really says: "Thank you!"
I will generally bake four or five kinds of cookies to distribute throughout December. I like to try at least one new cookie each year - but there are some classics that simply demand to be baked year in and year out. Pictured above are my traditional butter cookie cut-outs. It wouldn't be Christmas without them. I love this recipe and have such fond memories of baking them with Mama Diva when I was a child. I think the recipe came from my grandma Pam, but I'm not entirely sure. I bake a double batch - then channel my inner Martha and really go to town in the decorating. They are my absolute favorite Christmas cookie - yet I did not enter them in Cheryl's contest. The reason? They are a three day commitment and what sane person would vote for that?! I want to win!
I chose to enter another family favorite, Hungarian Horns. Again, this recipe has been passed down through the generations of my family and I adore these little gems. They are the first cookie I bake each December, thus ushering in the madness, and they freeze beautifully. Stay tuned for the recipe later in the week!
Meanwhile, read Cheryl's post, enter the contest and let's get baking! So, what's your favorite holiday cookie? Hungry Diva wants to know.