To Share, To Care

First steps, words, teeth.
First loves and first heartbreaks.
First losses and griefs.
First snows, melts, blooms.
The sweetest first peaches and the crispest apples.
The first leaves and snowflakes to fall.
Everywhere you look, life is replete with novel experiences…
This was my first year participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!
I made decorated sugar cookies (for the first time), and they were funky fresh ugly not the most beautiful, but they were delicious- rich and reminiscent of the holidays.
The cookie swap benefits Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, which helps fund pediatric cancer research.  It has inspired me to run two bake sales for the charity; it’s a great (and enjoyable) way to help others.
If you feel so inclined, you can send cookies to young cancer patients, or you can donate money or run bake sales and other events.
It is an incredibly satisfying and rewarding way to spend a little time; I highly recommend it.
I was sent wonderfully delicious cookies from three other talented blogger-bakers:
Ginger spice pumpkin thumbprint cookies from Marly of Ginger Foodie,
Chai-spiced gingerbread men from Rachael of Passing Daisies
And Earl Grey almond chocolate chip cookies from Leila and Nina of Cenabimus
They were all crazy yummy! Thank you so much! Be sure to click through to their sweet blogs.
I sent my cookies to three other bloggers:
Hannah (and Kate!) of Fleur DeLicious
 Lauren of SizzleEats
and Sara of Modern Alice
Go check their pages out too: deliciously creative things abound!
I am ever grateful to have had the chance to help fight pediatric cancer.  Cookies for Kids is a charity which I will be keeping up with, whether it be through another food blogger cookie swap or more bake sales.
Some random photovomit photographs:
Oh and also? I’m super thankful for the delicious cookies.  This was a truly fattening fun experience.

Classic Iced Butter Cookies

Yield: about 44 small sized cookies
From Cook’s Illustrated
12.5 ounces flour
5.5 ounces superfine sugar (whiz regular granulated sugar in a food processor for 30-45 seconds)
1/4 teaspoon salt (I would have increased this by a touch)
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons cream cheese
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture starts to resemble sand.  Add in the cream cheese and vanilla and mix until the dough begins to come together.  Remove from mixer and lightly knead a few times to bring dough together.  Pat into two disks and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, and up to 3 days.
Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Freeze dough for at least 20 minutes, or until very firm. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are barely turning golden.  Cool on a wire rack.
The decorator icing is from Bridget of Bake at 350, who makes just about the most perfect decorated cookies.
I increased the recipe by 1.5 and had plenty… In fact, I had way too much.  For this number of cookies, I think 1 batch of the recipe would do.  I tinted using Wilson gel colorings, which I prefer over regular food coloring for their potency.

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