Tonight I went to my first ever cookie exchange. I know, how have I never never been to a cookie exchange? Anyway, a crafting group I belong to decided to host one and so I felt some pressure to step up my packaging game a little. I figured a crafting group would expect better than just a half dozen cookies in sandwich baggies. Though it turned out I probably over-prepared, which is not that unusual for me honestly.
First I had to decide which cookies to bring, which you'd think would be difficult for me since I have so many I love to make, but I decided to break out the star for this event: Earl Grey Tea Cookies.
They're a shortbread-like butter cookie made with pulverized Earl Grey loose leaf tea right in the dough. Every time I make them for anything I get stellar reviews. Plus crafters + tea = sort of inevitable, right? I've pasted the recipe below, but in this case, the cookies really weren't the point.
The point was the packaging.
Since most cookie exchanges tend to involve bringing half a dozen cookies for each attendee, I wanted to do something small, simple and inexpensive since even though I only needed 8 for this event, others might do exchanges with as many as two dozen. I used only materials I had on hand so if you have something different in your stash, feel free to change it up a little.
What you'll need:
parchment paper (or wrapping paper or scrapbook paper or fabric)
baker's twine (or ribbon or cooking twine or fishing line or beading wire)
vintage buttons (or charms or broken old earrings or anything with a hole in it)
copies of your recipe
First you need to make your cookie logs. Take however many cookies you want to wrap up and wrap them in plastic wrap. For anything with butter in it, you need the plastic layer to keep the cookies from bleeding butter all over your nice, pretty package.
Next, cut your paper to the proper size to wrap around your cookies. Since these tea cookies are bite-sized, I needed a fairly small sheet: basically 8" high by 12" wide. If you're wrapping larger cookies, you'll need bigger paper. Makes sure it is tall enough to go around your cookie log 1.5 times and about 4 times as long as your cookie log. Roll up your log in your paper and twist the ends to keep them closed. I didn't secure them with anything, but if you're using fabric, you'll need to use a little more twine to tie them up.
Next, take your recipe (I just printed out mine on printer paper in color and folded it in half lengthwise so it was a good size) and wrap it around the cookie log in the opposite direction from the direction your wrapped the paper. This will help everything stay in place while you get the twine and buttons sorted out.
Next, get your twine and wrap it 4 or 5 times around the recipe, right in the middle. Tie it off as if you're starting to tie a bow, but don't finish the bow.
Next, add your button. I threaded one end of my twine through one hole and the other end through a second hole. Then tie your bow to keep the button in place.
You're all done! You could also add a tag in the previous step before you add the button if you know who will be getting your cookie packages, but because I wasn't sure who was coming, I just left out that part.
They were a big hit at the cookie exchange. Everyone liked the cookies and the vintage buttons. And it was so easy! These 8 took about 20-25 minutes to package. And the recipe appears below.
I hope you get invited back to many, many cookie exchanges. I highly recommend them! Just picture that said with a mouthful of cookies.
hands-on time: 20 minutes | total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes (includes chilling time) | makes 6 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea leaves, from approximately 6 tea bags
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Pulse together all the dry ingredients in a food processor until the tea leaves are pulverized. Add the vanilla, 1 teaspoon water, and the butter. Pulse together until a dough is formed. Divide the dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a 12-inch log, about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice each log into disks, 1/3 inch thick. Place on parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.