I went to an old-fashioned “cookie swap” over the weekend, something I haven’t done in years. My sweet neighbor Martha organized it as a way for us to get to know some of the newer people who’ve recently moved into our community.
But Martha knows how to host a cookie exchange — there was wine and champagne on the table in addition to the coffee.
Some of us joked and suggested that next time we skip the cookies and just bring a bottle of wine to exchange, and then just open the bottles and get to know each other. I thought this sounded like a brilliant idea because the last thing I need to take home with me is a plate of cookies.
But it was fun and a great way to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. With so many things distracting us, especially now that the holiday season is here, it’s nice to stop and do something simple to connect to each other. And champagne and cookies can make anything more enjoyable, right?
I love to bake but I didn’t have much time this weekend to spend making cookies. Although Martha said you could cheat and bring something store-bought — Martha Stewart she’s not, and this was supposed to be a stress-free party! So I made this batch of Nutella Cinnamon Pinwheels, which I think has to be the easiest four-ingredient cookie recipe around. The most difficult part of the recipe was not eating the rest of the Nutella right out of the jar with a spoon!
The recipe calls for one roll of puff pastry, pâte feuilletée (I used the Trader Joe’s brand and it worked beautifully), 1/4 cup of Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread, one tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. That’s it. As Ina from the Barefoot Contessa would say, how easy is that?
Lay out a sheet of puff pastry (thawed if frozen) on a lightly floured surface and spread ¼ cup of Nutella on top using a knife or offset spatula. The offset spatula really works well here instead of a regular knife.
Sprinkle a mixture of 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon on top, then roll it up into a sugary log of greatness.
Freeze the roll for 15 minutes, slice into ¾-inch rounds (approximately 12 cookies), and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Don’t skip this step, the freezing helps you cut into pieces without any difficulty.
Bake for 15 minutes at 350° until the filling starts to bubble and the edges become crisp. Don’t overbake, the chocolate from the Nutella could burn on the bottom.
Here’s wishing you many days of joy and stress-free holidays in this wonderful season. If you want to get to know some friends or some neighbors, why not host a cookie exchange? The worst thing that could happen is that you enjoy a cookie and a glass of champagne, but maybe you go home with a new friend. Cheers to that.