New Yorkers have all the luck. The food here is amazing — great restaurants, a cool food truck/cart scene, authentic specialty markets, and festivals year round. But it’s the social events which make me the happiest — gatherings like Pie Party Live and Brooklyn Swappers — because they bring people together. It’s the community which makes these events so nice, meeting with friends old and new, and sharing in a love of all things “yum.” So when I heard about Cookie Swap NY 2011 (being put together by my buddies Maggy Anderson Keet and Jackie Gordon, among others), of course I got excited. It’s only the second time they’d held one of these events, but it was my first time attending, so I felt like I had to go the extra mile. I decided to bake three different cookies. First I made the lime-cornmeal cookies from Flour by Joanne Chang, possibly the only recipe left in that book which I hadn’t tried yet — it’s another winner, although I might experiment with the coarseness of the cornmeal if I made them again.
I also made the double chocolate cookies from Flour, which I’ve raved about before. Seriously, these cookies are sleepers, meaning that they look kind of normal, but they’re astounding in texture and richness. They’re for chocolate fiends.
Lastly, I made Homesick Texan’s chipotle-spiced chocolate-pecan chewies again. I felt like something was different this time about the texture, but they were still great. Add to that, I got to put them on the gluten-free table at the event.
Baking just for fun is nice, but the event itself, held at Hill Country BBQ, was put together to help raise money for a charity you might know I feel strongly about, Cookies for Kids Cancer. Wiley donated some cookbooks for a giveaway, along with other sponsors like KitchenAid. The book, by the way, has become a little hard to find this holiday season, but I’d recommend Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Williams-Sonoma, and soon the book will be at all Bed Bath & Beyond stores!
I didn’t count, but there must have been something like 75 different kinds of cookies there. This round-up is by no means authoritative, and I would have taken more photos, but it was a little dark inside the restaurant for snapping pictures. Some highlights I noticed (and yes, these people are almost all my friends) included Hazel’s adorable bacon shortbread, cut in the shape of little piggies!
My friend Louisa baked these, perfect for the holiday season.
Gluten-free gingersnap candy cane sandwiches from Glow.
Oh my god, Anna, how did I not get to actually taste these? Wow.
Jess’s cool bullseye cookies.
Speaking of cool — Debbie’s Nutella raspberry pinwheels — I love how these look.
As if hundreds of cookies weren’t exciting enough, there was a BBQ feast too — Elizabeth Karmel and Hill Country BBQ went all out. The corn pudding and brisket were my favorites, so I went back for seconds of both.
Possibly the best thing about Cookie Swap NY 2011 was something I didn’t expect — the secret stash cookies and special deliveries. Cathy started me off when she offered me some bacon rugelach… nice. Then Jackie passed me these mandarin-flavored sandwich cookies (in the photo above). Lillian gave me some insanely good macarons to take home. Ken slipped us some special treats as well. So next time I’ll know — save the really good stuff for handing out on the sly. Maybe next year I can be one of the “cool kids.”