Bit o’ Blogkeeping: You have until 11:59pm on Monday, Dec. 24 to enter my Damn Right I’m From Cleveland giveaway. I’ll announce the winner on Christmas Day!
As I’ve blogged before, my lack of cooking skills is a bit notorious. In fact the last (and only) time I ever baked something was a few years ago.
And even then, I wouldn’t really call it baking. I made cookies from those Pillsbury cookie dough rolls and still managed to burn them to a crisp.
However, last week I donned an apron once again when I
got roped into decided to make cookies for the 3rd annual Ohio Blogging Cookie Swap.
I was told baking is more fun in the company of friends so when WhyCLE offered up her kitchen, I figured this was as good a time as any to learn how to actually make cookies from scratch.
Jen handpicked one of her tried-and-true recipes that was perfect for my skill level. And after some wine and pizza, Jen, Alicia and I set to work.
I’m proud to say that with a little supervision from CLEGuy, I was able to walk into my first cookie swap with a few dozen cookies that were actually edible (recipe below).
This year’s swap was at Battery Park Wine Bar.
I’ve been to Battery Park Wine Bar a few times for happy hour, small group events like this and larger networking events that have taken over the entire bar.
It’s such a versatile venue and the staff is easy to work with so if you’re considering a food-and-drink group event, I’d fully recommend it (email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info).
We took over the back half of the bar which was the perfect size for our group and allowed us to swap cookies without bothering other restaurant guests.
They offer a nice happy hour menu that Battery Park Wine Bar made available throughout the night.
Their $4 happy hour white wine was a Chardonnay that had a decently robust taste — very enjoyable, especially for $4.
The wine was complemented both in price and taste by the $6 happy hour mussels and $4 parmesan and oregano-seasoned fries I ordered.
As someone who orders mussels a lot, I appreciated the spicy clam and sauvignon blanc broth they were dressed in. It added that bite you don’t often get with mussels.
However, the winner of the night was the fresh roasted tomato ketchup that accompanied their fries. Although I got the fries for sharing, I could not stop myself from eating most of them.
After enjoying this light dinner and catching up with everyone, it was time for the cookie swap.
There was a great selection – from rich chocolat-y goodness (like Jen’s Kahlua Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Sarah’s Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies) to festive, sweet and refreshing (like Lane’s candy cane cookies and Julie’s cherry limeade cookies).
It’s impossible to pick a favorite but I especially enjoyed Kimberly’s lemon poppyseed cookies and Julie’s vegan peppermint-chocolate cookies.
Here’s the full list of everyone who was there:
- Alicia from Poise in Parma plus Hans and PIP Mom **meetup recap**
- Brian from Run Swanson and Katie **meetup recap**
- Crystal from Eat Drink Cleveland
- Jen from Why CLE? and CLEGuy Matt **meetup recap**
- Julie from Am I There Yet **meetup recap**
- Julie from ROJ Running
- Kimberly from SMITTEN…in cleveland
- Kristian from man-gi-am-OH and Ohio Festivals & his son Max **meetup recap**
- Lane from Lane Baldwin Photography and husband Nathan
- Nidhi from NIDHIZZLE
- Sarah from Cooker Girl
- Stuart from sosAssociates
The next Ohio Blogging Association meet-up will be on Friday, January 18 at Noodlecat. Things will kick off at 9pm when Poise in Parma, Smitten in Cleveland, WhyCLE and I co-host Karaoke at the Cat. All are welcome, not just bloggers. Click here to RSVP and stay tuned for more details.
And if you’d like an easy recipe for all your holiday cookie-making, here’s what I used (if I can make it, so can you):
Recipe courtesy of Jen at WhyCLE
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
- 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 12-ounce package M&M’s chocolate mini baking bits (I used full-size M&Ms)
- 3/4 cup chopped nuts, optional (I did not use nuts in my cookies)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
- In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Blend into creamed mixture. Stir in M&M’s and nuts.
- Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 10-13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and centers are soft.
- Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets, cool completely on wire racks.