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Cookies, Luncheon, and Crustaceon!

Another holiday season brings another office Cookie Swap! Over the six years I’ve worked at this company the delicious-ness of the cookies has remained top notch, but I will say I’ve seen the packaging and presentations improve greatly. Everyone is so creative and talented. Can you say Martha Stewart??

This year’s cookies included:

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Stained Glass Cookies
Spice Crackle Cookies
Chocolate Mint Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies (Yummy)

All were delicious and very festive. And to add to the fun, immediately following the Cookie Swap, we all headed off to a local restaurant for the company sponsored Holiday Luncheon. Perfect timing, because the smartest folks agree, it is always best to eat your cookies before you eat your lunch!

The luncheon was followed by the traditional Yankee Swap. (It was a full day of swapping, dontcha know?)

I think I’ve mentioned before, my coworkers are a pretty mellow bunch. The annual $10 limit Yankee Swap gifts are always very nice and cheery, but sometimes a little, well, how do I say this….they can be sort of dull. You know what I mean, a Dunkin Donuts gift card or a reindeer mug with hot chocolate mix. Nice, but not all that F-U-N.

All that changed this year, when Ms. C chose the plainly wrapped shoe box from under the tree. She held it up, gave it a little shake, started to carefully remove the wrapping paper, and then yelled, “It’s ALIVE”!!!!

That is when we all noticed the antennae peeking from under the tissue paper.

Photo altered to protect the innocent.

We all had a great laugh and a fun afternoon. And I suspect Ms. C will have a tasty lobster salad for dinner this evening.

Happy Holidays!

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The Cookie Swap

My office is a pretty low-key place. You’ll find no secret workplace romances, no one from accounting wearing a lampshade at the holiday party, and no x-rated copies being made on the new color copier.

What you will find is a bunch of ladies who really get into the annual cookie swap. We spend the weekend before mixing, sifting, baking and wrapping. The day of we drink too much hot, very sweet (non-alcoholic) cider and eat way too many baked goods.

Spiced Crackle Cookies

Makes 4 dozen cookies
Prep: 20 minutes. Refrigerate: 1 hour
Bake at 350° for 12 minutes

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
2 cup all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, chopped
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

In large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and molasses on medium speed until blended. Beat in egg until blended, scraping down side of bowl. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon and white pepper in clean bowl. Add to butter mixture; beat on low speed until blended. Stir in crystallized ginger. Cover; refrigerate one hour.

Heat oven to 350°. Lightly coat 2 large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Place confectioners’ sugar in bowl. Dust hand lightly with flour. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Immediately roll each ball in confectioners’ sugar to completely coat. Place on prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until cookies have expanded and flattened; the tops will be covered in cracks. Transfer to wire racks. Cool completely.

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