Last year about this time, I was reading blog posts about bloggers receiving cookies from other bloggers. At first, I was completely weirded out by the entire concept. I have never been phased by potlucks like some people I know (I’ve never seen their kitchen!), but cookies? From someone you’ve never met? Most likely, from someone you’ve never heard of? How very strange. Yet also, so very much indicative of what many bloggers say they enjoy most about blogging – the friendships they have made along the way. Of course, where strange things and friends lead, I follow.
I chose to send my matches salted vanilla chip oatmeal cookies. In Pure Vanilla, The cookbook from which this recipe came, author Shauna Sever describes the cookie as an “earthy, sweet-salty, nubbly little number.” I have no better words. The recipe below calls for the ever exotic Vanilla Fleur de Sel. One can buy this salt and vanilla bean mixture or make their own. Just like homemade vanilla sugar, simply mix the seeds from a vanilla bean in with some salt and store the mixture, along with the vanilla bean pod, in a jar. Or, if you are like me, you can pour a few drops of vanilla onto some course sea salt and hope for the best.
I sent one dozen Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies to exotic locales like California, Minnesota and New York. Liz at YUM at first bite, April at Sutch a Delight, and Shelby at The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch received cookies from yours truly. I love each and everyone one of those blog names. I was also so very happy to receive such kind Facebook comments, blog comments and Tweet from these ladies. I am looking forward to reading more from them over this next year.
In turn, I received treats from Flavia at Flavia’s Flavors, Lauren at Foodie in Flight, and Jackie at La Casa de Sweets. Thank you ladies for the delicious cookies! Flavia sent cranberry-almond biscotti that were amazingly delicious. This has inspired me to try making this cookie at home some time in the new year. Lauren baked a classic sugar cookie that she added chocolate chips to and topped with a peppermint glaze. I loved this twist on a classic! And Jackie made a deliciously soft and sweet lemon cookie. I always find citrus cookies to be the perfect bright spot in a dull, dark winter.
Now about that orange spatula. The fine folks at OXO (I really can not say enough about this company’s involvement with the blog community as well as the community at large) sent each and every Cookie Swap participant a Be A Good Cookie spatula. This simple kitchen tool is a tangible representation of the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer program. As OXO tells it, two of their employees were inspired to raise funds for pediatric cancer research after their son fell ill with the disease.
This year, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to support this initiative. Anyone who purchases a spatula - it is the perfect size to fit in a stocking – can rest assured 50 percent of the profits will go to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Each food blogger made a donation to the program in order to participate, and OXO matched our totals. I would like to tell you just how much that was, but I am notorious for deleting emails once I read them. Hence, no dollar amount to share.
But it really doesn’t matter how much they donated. What matters is getting them to donate more by hosting a bake sale or purchasing a spatula. To learn more, click the links above or click here to go to OXO’s page.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I did not give my bright orange spatula much thought until I saw it sitting in my utensil drawer as I was looking for a teaspoon. I thought I had better use it for these cookies, and I am glad I did. I love this thing! It slides cookies off a baking sheet like nobody’s business.
Until the next year…
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup brown sugar, packed
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Vanilla Fleur de Sel
- Whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda and teaspoon in a large bowl and set aside.
- Beat the butter and vanilla extract at medium-high speed until fully blended and creamy.
- Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
- One at a time, beat in the eggs until fully combined.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly pour in the dry oat and flour mixture.
- When the mixture is just incorporated, stir in the white chocolate.
- Scoop by two tablespoon portions onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Sprinkle with a bit of Vanilla Fleur de Sel.
- Bake at 350 degrees F about 12 to 14 minutes. The cookies should appear golden brown around their edges but remain a bit soft in the middle. Take care not to overbake.
- Allow to cool on the sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to finish cooling.