The Recorder – A Calorie-Free Cookie Swap

“Who doesn’t like cookies? Lisa Prolman, deputy director of the Greenfield Public Library, asked me recently. The question was rhetorical because Prolman knew my answer would be a resounding “Nobody!” “

Last week, Prolman and her colleague Pamela McBride hosted the library’s second annual cookie swap via Zoom. A small group of seasoned bakers have come together online to discuss their favorite recipes and share tips on baking and holiday treats. The event was sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

I was supposed to be here just as a reporter, but couldn’t help but comment on topics such as the relative advantages of different fats in baking cookies and the difficulties of sending treats from people. Holidays.

In the end, I also submitted my own favorite holiday cookie recipe to the library. We are in the season of sharing, after all.

I asked Prolman what prompted the library to start the cookie swap last year.

“With the pandemic in full swing and people having to cut back on their holiday celebrations, we wanted to see if we could use technology to, if not duplicate, deliver something close to what people could be. [accustomed to] participate, ”she said.

“I used to attend a cookie swap at a friend’s house and I loved talking with everyone about what they were doing and why, and we thought, why not do a virtual cookie swap ?.

“The cookie swap program has gone so well, we did another one on Comforting Soups and Stews in January and have done a few more over the past year as well.”

Prolman explained that she sees the cookie exchange as a good fit for the library’s overall mission.

“One of the goals of the library is to offer programs to people of all ages,” she noted. “With the closure of our meeting rooms in 2019, it has been a challenge, but the pandemic has surprisingly provided us with an opportunity to redesign programming with technology.

“We’ve always offered different types of programs – book discussions, writing groups, storytelling times, lectures – but with technology we’ve been able to see people ‘face to face’ again. “

The cookie recipes the group discussed varied widely. A few were relatively healthy, with an emphasis on fruit and less on fat. Several were decadent and typical Christmas cookies. There were also novelty cookies – like the Cool Whip cookies submitted by Francesca Passiglia.

“Believe me, they are delicious,” Passiglia wrote. (She was unable to attend the exchange.)

I’m not a big fan of the artificial whipped toppings or cake mixes, the main ingredients in these treats, but I can try them. I have a feeling that their texture can be something special.

Some of the cookies shown were from family members, such as Rugelach from Prolman; she inherited this recipe from her grandmother. Others have been adapted to the needs of their bakers. For example, McBride cooks a lot with coconut oil because her husband can’t eat butter.

I left with a number of fun new recipes to try. Anyone wishing to obtain the complete list of recipes can request it by sending an email to [email protected]

Cookie fans are also welcome to come to the library to vote for their own preferred cookie type, to get a list of cookie books available at local libraries, and to browse the cookie books on display.

In short, the library is devoted to cookies, especially in these uncertain times. McBride praised the baking skills of Marianne Snow, one of the cookie recipe authors and a friend of the library.

“She has helped us get through parts of the pandemic with her cookies,” Snow’s McBride said.

Here are three of the recipes featured in last week’s virtual cookie swap. I will be back next week with another… with my own family’s favorite cookie.

Ethel’s Sugar Cookies

Carol Foote sent this basic sugar cookie recipe and, through her photographs, showed participants how to combine cookies (with frosting) into a festive Christmas tree. Foote used 3-inch 4-point star cookie cutters.


3/4 cup shortening (Foote likes some butter or margarine.)

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2½ cups of flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of baking powder


Mix the shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla well. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder.

Combine the two mixtures and refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the dough on a lightly floured board. Cut it into shapes.

Place cut dough on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until cookies are a delicate golden color. (The baking time will depend on the thickness and width of your cookies.)

Cool cookies on a wire rack; then ice them and (if you want) arrange them to make a tree with several levels.

Foote didn’t specify a yield, but I would estimate this recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies, more or less, depending on the size.

Maple Snickerdoodles

I’m a fan of a good snickerdoodle – there’s something about the pillow consistency of this cookie that speaks to me on a basic level – so I was intrigued by Pamela McBride’s maple version of this. classic cookie.


2 cups of flour

1½ teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/2 cup softened butter (McBride is replacing a mixture of coconut oil and vegetable oil here; I think all vegetable shortening might work just fine, too.)

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1 beaten egg

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) maple syrup

1/4 cup maple sugar

1 additional dash of cinnamon (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Put aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and 1/2 cup white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the egg and maple syrup. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 1/2 hour.

In a small dish, combine the rest of the sugar and the maple sugar; add a pinch of cinnamon if desired. Roll the cookie dough into 1-inch balls and roll each ball in the sugar mixture.

Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheets for 8 to 10 minutes. Snickerdoodles should be cracked on top but look slightly damp. Cool them on wire racks before eating them. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Cool Whip Cookies

Francesca Passiglia adapted this recipe from


1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 eggs

1 cake mix (18.25 ounces), any flavor; Passiglia loves strawberries but says lemon and chocolate are good too.

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup icing sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the baking sheets or line them with parchment paper

Beat together whipped topping and eggs. Add cake mix and flour and continue to mix. The dough will be thick. Cool the dough for about 30 minutes.

Drop the dough by teaspoons in a bowl of icing sugar and roll the cookies to coat them. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes. Cookies won’t look quite baked, but they will harden upon resting on cookie sheets and cooling.

Passiglia did not rate the yield, but according to all recipes, the original recipe served 18.

Tinky Weisblat is the award-winning author of “The Pudding Hollow Cookbook”, “Pulling Taffy” and “Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb”. Visit her website,

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