Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Great Vegan Cookie Swap of 2103 (& Giveaway!)

Some traditions just cannot be skipped. Like Christmas Cookie Swap traditions, for example!
My wonderful pals and I started having vegan cookie swap parties a few years back. Some years we've gone big and invited loads of people... but this year I was feeling much more low-key. My dad is (finally!!) healing and I am resuming my normal routines. All the same, I'm still feeling pretty quiet and I'm in the mood for lots of cozy time with friends. The cookie party was intimate and wonderful... festive, quiet, full of good company and good cheer.

 Last year we started a Very Important Policy for the cookie swap: First you must bring along a very super mega-healthy dinner dish. I made a ginormous pot of minestrone soup (not pictured), and my pals brought along a huge raw kale salad, a huge bowl of red cabbage slaw, and some rice crackers with homemade vegan cheese. So delicious and nutritious. This is important because this way you fill up on really, really healthy and delicious vegetables, and it prevents excessive cookie consumption.

 We didn't actually have that many people come to the party, but we had some very enthusiastic bakers this year (*cough* coldandsleepy! *cough*). Here you see, clockwise from top:
Black Sesame Seed Benne Cakes
Coconut Sugar Cookies with awesome decorations
Gingerbread Tiles (veganized from this recipe)
Gingerbread biscotti (Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar)
Butterscotch Bars (veganized from Joy of Cooking: so. damned. good)
Chai Spice Snickerdoodles (from Isa Does It)

Also, you can't see them here, but we also had a great batch of
Nutty Caramel Barley Bars (from Whole Grain Vegan Baking)
and Persimmon Blondies

Here you see: (clockwise from top)
Horchata Cookies (from Cheers To Vegan Sweets)
Two different Oatmeal Cookie variations, one with chocolate chips and fresh cranberries, and one with sour cherry preserves in the middle
Kendra's Amazing Fig & Cardamom Cookies - one batch with Cocoa powder, one plain

 After so many months of feeling pretty worried and glum and preoccupied about my sweet dad's health, I am currently experiencing an explosion of joy for life. This extends into an even-more-than-usual Christmas Cheer... So, I made a total of four types of cookies! I probably would have made more if I hadn't run out of time.
Back in September, during VeganMoFo, I bookmarked just about every single traditional German baked good that Mihl blogged about, including this recipe for Marizpan Crescents. I was so happy to make one of her recipes - they turned out Perfect, Yummy & Beautiful! A 100% success. They weren't actually that hard to make, but they look very special, and they taste special too. I'll definitely make these beauties again.

I also used my favorite Joy of Vegan Baking recipe for brownies, but turned them into Peppermint Brownies by adding a 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract (that stuff is potent!) and I used chopped-up Peppermint Chocolate bars instead of plain ol' chocolate chips. These are so delicious!

On the right are some Horchata Cookies from my new copy of Cheers to Vegan Sweets. They are really nice, light cookies, with a bright limey glaze. I can't wait to explore more recipes from this book.

 And of course, I just had to make a batch of my favorite Christmas cookie of all time, Gingerbread Tiles. I found this recipe in Sunset magazine years ago, veganized it, and I've never looked back. They are dense, and chewy, and mega-spicy (they even have a 1/4 tsp black pepper in them!). Oh man, they are so good. (there's a link to the original recipe up above).

super cute pictures of Kendra Instagramming our glorious array of cookies

So, I copied her. Here is the view from above. Amazing!
Now my freezer is all stocked up with yummy treats which should last me for a long, long time. 



As you know, every year I give away a few of the homemade cookbooklettes I make for holiday presents. They feature recipes I've discovered and fallen in love with that year, and are illustrated with little doodles like you see on the blog. This year I'll give away 15 copies - anywhere in the world! Just leave a comment and tell me something you like about wintertime. Please make sure I can find you (either through a blogger link or leave your email). If you're hard to find, I'll just pick a different winner

P.S. A question for you
I have so many pictures left over from the fall, when I was just too overwhelmed to blog. Would it be weird to blog about Thanksgiving at this point? About my autumn garden harvest? What do you think?


  1. Hi Amey!
    I would love to get another one of your cookbooklettes! I just moved and am in the throws of unpacking, otherwise I'd come to your yoga class since I'm right down the street now. I love how wintertime feels magical. All the super cheesy Hallmark movies on TV (which I love) and the feeling of anticipation in the air make this a really special time of year for me. Plus, my family has made a tradition of making lasagna for Christmas super (and of course it's your vegan recipe!).
    Sarah Z.

  2. I'd love to see recaps of your garden and thanksgiving! I'm glad to hear your father is on the mend!!

    Winter and I have a tenuous relationship at best (I'm a super cold wimp) but I love the holidays and even snowshoeing; especially the part where I get to warm up with a bowl of soup afterwards. ;)

  3. Anonymous10:16 AM

    Yes, please post your Thanksgiving/harvest photos!! As far as I am concerned all of this stuff is part of the season.

    Now posting pictures from a summer potluck in the park, on the other hand, would be just cruel with the weather right now :D

    Nice job on those marzipan crescents - they look like they came from a fancy bakery!

    jen e.

  4. yes. thanksgiving. you can post it in december. or may. or july. :)

    what i like about wintertime is how it gives me more opportunities to spend time with my family, because kids are out of school and relatives are visiting. i love spending time with my family all year but it just feels cozier and more special in the winter!

    also: soup!!!

  5. Yes! I'd love to have a cookbooklette! yum!

    1. Also please post your old Thanksgiving pics! That's all good for December and January too!

  6. Lyndsay O.12:11 PM

    I haven't had the privilege to check out one of your cookbooklettes, and I would love a chance to win one! You can email me at lmo5a@virginia.edu, if I have the honor of winning one. Wintertime definitely gets you closer to the ones you love, almost quite literally, due to it being colder outside. I adore being closer to the ones I love, and and cooking and baking seasonal treats for them!

    Also, yes please post about Thanksgiving, etc. It's never too late to do things like that :) Looking forward to seeing more posts in the future. Thinking about you and your family!

  7. I too would love to win a cookbooklette! And you should post whatever you damned well please. It's YOUR blog : ) A thing I like about winter - running outside with my dog right after a snow. So beautiful.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Ohhhh and my email is erindoeslife at gmail : )

      BTW either this is the cookie exchange of the future (which I am totally cool with) or the header was meant to read "Great Vegan Cookie Swap of 2013" : )

  8. I love snow! Give me cross country skis and snowshoes and crampons and ice axes any day over heat and dust! Plus, winter is time for skijoring with my two huskies, so fun :) I’d love to hear about your garden especially, so please post away!

  9. Anonymous1:32 PM

    Being Australian and not celebrating Thanksgiving, I'd love to see you blog about it and autumn too, seeing as that's my favourite time of year :)

    Thanks for making your giveaway worldwide, we so often miss out down here! I love winter here too, we put on our gumboots (wellies/rain boots) and go splash around outside making a huge happy mess :)

  10. What I love about winter is that, after having suffered in the cold outside, you come inside a warm home and are permitted to make a hot chocolate which has to be taken with some cookies that are being dunked in this delicious drink!

  11. My favorite thing about winter is the lights show that everyone puts out around their houses, going to light shows (just went to Callaway Garden Light show for the 3rd year anniversary), and the fact that carob hot drinks (like "hot chocolate") with a drop of peppermint extract warm you up on those cold winter days. I also love desserts, especially cookies so I'd love a cookbook, so I can try throwing a cookie swap party because I do have cookie monster friends too who are into vegan cookies. And I work at a vegan cafeteria and always get request for vegan desserts (I believe those are cookie monster lovers too). My email: nicolebsousa@gmail.com

    1. Oh and it would never be late to post Thanksgiving stuff. I think people secretly look into holidays all year round. And some people are just into Thanksgiving any time of year. If it was March and someone brought out a Tofurkey, I'd be like "Where's the cranberry sauce?"

  12. Whoa —pretty impressive collection of cookies you've got there! I've never seen anything like the tiles, and I love the way they look. As for Thanksgiving, I think it's never too late (or early) to post about whatever you want! One year I did a Thanksgiving post in early Dec., so you're not so far behind. As for what I love about winter ... I love our fireplace, and I love my warm coat. I love snow, too.

    I'm especially glad to hear your dad is healing.

  13. A cookie swap is such a great idea! All your photos look wonderful and I hope they were as delicious as they look :)

  14. i love an excuse to stay cuddled inside!!

  15. I would be glad to see your Thanksgiving pics at any time.

  16. This is the MOST INSANE spread of cookies I have ever ever seen...including at bakeries. Oh my god. Next year I am coming!

  17. Amey, nice to meet you last month and also great to see you posting again. I'm glad your Dad is doing better.

    What I love about winter is when we have rainy days (so far and few between where we live lately) and having homey foods like soup.

    The title of this post made me smile - a lot of time has apparently passed! ;-)

  18. I took part in my first cookie swap this past weekend! Huzzah! That is my favourite things about this winter so far.
    I'd still like to see Thanksgiving photos. Good food ideas are welcome any time!

  19. One thing I love about winter is how the snow lights everything up. It really helps after the darkness of the end of autumn, when the leaves have fallen and it's just grey and gloomy outside. As soon as there's a blanket of snow, there instantly seems to be more light, which is most welcome, especially as the days are getting shorter.

    It looks like your cookie swap was a wonderful event, and it's such a lovely tradition! That's really inspiring...

  20. Yeah, I think it's too late to blog about fall. Save them for next year!

    Also, my fave winter time activity is walking in the forest after a fresh snowfall. Corny, but it's true. I love the way the snow absorbs all the sounds.

  21. Hi Amey,
    I'm so glad your Dad is better.
    I would love to win a cookbooklette. What I love about winter is the food - soups, stews, mashed potato, puddings, hot chocolate....... but now it is much too hot for those things in Australia. We are currently eating salads, salads, bit of pizza, more salad..... good but I am missing winter food!
    You can contact me on miafaletti at gmail dot com

    P.S. Love the look of those Marzipan crescents. I have bookmarked them too but am yet to try them.

  22. So many amazing cookie swaps going on at the moment! I need to start one in my area.
    I definitely think it is OK to blog about Thanksgiving. :)

    I was lucky enough to win a cookbooklet last year, I don't expect to be so lucky again! But hmmm... favourite thing about winter... I hate the cold! But my favourite thing is that I don't need to have the ceiling fan on in my room when I sleep, and that means Sahara will stay and snuggle all night long. She doesn't like the ceiling fan on at night.

  23. Wow, amazing looking food! I'd love to win one of your cookbooklettes, your posts just light up my day when I read them. I'm not a big fan of winter, but I do love the excuse to truly indulge yourself, snuggle up in warm fuzzy clothes and watch movies and drink hot drinks... It's all about the little things! Anyway, just in case I do win, my email address is desrochesclaire at gmail dot com.

    Also, please do post about Thanksgiving! It's never about the subject of blog posts for me, more about the writing style and the photos and illustrations. I look forward to it :)

  24. I love sitting with my loved ones by the fire and eating cozy comfort foods!

    also its not weird at all, i'd love to see your fall posts!


  25. I am glad to read that your dad is doing better!

    Fall and winter are my favorite times of the year. I love fall the most because of the changing leaves, and because it isn't as cold as the wintertime, but I like how winter is typically a time for introspection, turning inward, and slowing down. I also love how the moon looks at this time of year as well--so big and bright in the sky. I wish I lived in an area where I could take lots of peaceful moonlit walks in the wintertime.

    Hope you have relaxing, rejuvenating days ahead ~ Cee

    ceevegnashville ~at~ gmail ~dot~ com

  26. Anonymous7:21 AM

    One thing I love about winter is going for long Sunday runs--usually starting out feeling wimpy about the cold and ending up loving being outside.

    So glad your Dad is feeling better and I'm all for you going back in time with your blogging :)



  27. Anonymous8:10 AM

    Actually, I’m not a big fan of winter … No idea why I live in a place where it’s cold most time of the year. To keep me happy during those dark winter months I bake cookies, make soup and look forward to spring. I’d love to win one of your awesome cookbooklettes, so in case I’ll win here’s my email address: katrin.schepers@gmx.de.
    And please tell us about your Thanksgiving! Love, Katrin

  28. I love winter because of the colourful Christmas lights, the quiet moments watching snow fall, the abundance of hot drinks and cozy cuddling with my favourites.

    So happy to hear that your Dad is healing! Wishing you and your family lots of comfort and joy :)

  29. Anonymous4:10 PM

    I'm a long-time lurker, first time poster! I've loved reading your blog ever since I discovered it a few years ago, and I'd love to win a cookbook! I like snow, but I don't get to see much of it in London; fortunately I'm back in Ohio for the holidays at the moment so I'm getting my fill! I also love having an excuse to wrap myself in blankets and have tea and cookies! (not that I really need an excuse, of course) :)

  30. I love baking and reading by the fire during winter!

    nodonahue at gmail

  31. I love all the warm and cozy family events! lburnett at alumnae dot mills dot edu

    You should totally post your old stuff! I'm so glad your dad is doing better and I totally missed your posts while he was sick - it's never too late for posts!

  32. I like taking my kids skating outdoors, there's nothing like it :-)

  33. I think one of my favorite things about winter is the baking I do then. I bake all year round but winter baking is extra special. And as a bonus the oven heats up my freezing cold house! My kids and I made 16 dozen cookies (4 different kinds) yesterday and delivered them around the neighborhood to friends -- so much fun it's ridiculous.

    I'd love to see stuff you haven't posted yet. I missed your posts, and I'm very glad your dad is better!

    1. Oops...email is beckysekeres at gmail dot com

  34. Oh, I must have a complete set of your master works! I sure hope I win another brilliant cookbook zine of yours...

    Winter is far from my favorite time of year, but I do enjoy the chestnuts, persimmons, and citrus, at least.

  35. Post everything, no matter the season!
    I love the comfort food that comes with winter. Early fall always makes me want to start baking & making soup.
    I'd love to check out one of your booklets!
    Find me at pappasjacqui@yahoo.com

  36. It's never too late to post pictures of Thanksgiving or your harvest! In fact, I'm constantly piling up a backlog of pictures and just add them to posts every now and then.
    Something I really like about wintertime is how cozy being inside suddenly becomes. It's a true family time of the year best spent with loved ones.

  37. I love your cookbooklettes! What I like best about winter is the extra days off work for the holidays and that those days are spent with people I love. :)

    I currently have photos that are approximately 2 years old I haven't blogged about yet, so I say go for the Thanksgiving and autumnal posts! I'd love to read them.

  38. I'm so happy to hear that your dad is doing better! I don’t think it's ever too late to post about Thanksgiving, and I'd love to read about your garden harvest too. :)

    My favorite thing about winter is seeing the Christmas lights in the snow -- they make me really happy! :) I also love baking holiday cookies. Thanks for doing the giveaway! I have one of your cookbooklettes from a prior year and absolutely love it! :)

  39. What a fun party! I love the idea of everyone bringing a super healthy main dish to balance out the sweets. I'm so relieved to hear that your dad is on the mend. That has to be a huge load off.

    One thing I like about winter are the cozy, stay inside days because it's too snowy and slick outside. A big blanket, a snuggly cat, and a hot bowl of soup while looking over a white wonderland feels like a "snow day" from school in childhood.

    P.S. I totally think you should re-cap any pictures you want to highlight from last fall. Why not?

  40. Winter is all about hot chocolate and a fireplace! And because, I am living in Iceland, it's also about Northern Lights! ;)

  41. One thing I love about winter is that I don't feel as guilty if I just want to snuggle up and read all day!

  42. Yay, cookies! I am so, so pleased to hear that your dad's healing well and getting stronger. Such brilliant news. Here's to a super awesome 2014 Amey.


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