Nashville blogger stirs up a massive cookie bake-off

1:06 PM, Dec. 6, 2011

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20111207/LIFE02/312070082/Nashville-blogger-stirs-up-massive-cookie-bake-off

 

Lindsay Landis laughs as her mixer splashes her blouse while she makes cookies. More than 620 bloggers are sharing cookies, and their recipes, later this month. / GEORGE WALKER IV/THE TENNESSEAN

On Oct. 24, local food blogger Lindsay Landis dropped an idea into cyberspace like a hunk of butter into a mixing bowl.

“We should totally do a food blogger cookie swap,” she proclaimed in a tweet.

Fast-forward just a month later, and Landis could be found opening the door of her kitchen oven, releasing a rich waft of warm chocolate cookies. The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap was officially under way with Landis bringing together more than 620 bloggers from around the world to bake more than 22,500 holiday cookies.

“It took us awhile to figure it out,” she said of the swap format. But Landis and fellow blogger Julie Deily (thelittlekitchen.net) of Florida made it happen by organizing bloggers into groups, sometimes by food allergy or country. The bloggers bake three dozen cookies, sending one dozen by mail to the three people on their list. Then beginning Dec. 12, all bloggers will share their experiences and recipes with Landis posting a roundup on her blog, loveandoliveoil.com.

For a special edition of our Nashville Cooks series, Landis and her husband, Taylor, invited us into their Germantown home while they prepared cookies for the swap. We picked up some baking tips, learned Lindsay’s cookie swap recipe and had a taste of her holiday treats.

“It always has to be chocolate for me,” Landis said, as she scooped spheres of dough — dark with cocoa — onto a baking sheet. Later, she would chop a large bar of chocolate into bits and melt it over the stove before mixing it into a creamy malted ganache. The result: malted chocolate sandwich cookies.

Flood relief effort

Landis seems to have a knack for organizing things she probably doesn’t have time for, she says. In May 2010, she organized the Sweet Relief: Nashville Food Blogger Bake Sale following the Nashville flood. It raised about $1,000 for flood relief, but perhaps just as (or even more) important, she helped connect a group of Nashville food bloggers that’s now nearly 100 strong.

In October, Landis helped organize the Nashville Food Blog Forum, which hosted almost 100 food bloggers for seminars and tastings. And beginning last spring, she began organizing her own thoughts into a book: The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook.

Landis began the book project last spring. By July, she had completed recipes including those for cookie dough bread pudding, cookie dough waffles, and cookie dough fudge, among many others (and all egg-free and safe to eat raw). The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook is set to hit shelves June 5.

She has also kept her blog, Love & Olive Oil, up and running for nearly five years, while also juggling two businesses she owns with her husband: a graphic design company called Purr Design and a petwear company called Pattern & Paw.

Family tradition

As for her knack with cookies (in dough form or otherwise), she certainly comes by it honestly.

“My mom was always baking,” she said.

In the forthcoming book, there’s even a photograph of Landis as a young girl sitting on the floor with a bowl of cookie dough and a spoon.

Her family has a tradition of making gingerbread cookies together every holiday season. While you can find her gingerbread cookie recipe on her blog, she said she wanted to branch out for this year’s swap.

“I wanted to try something new,” she said.

And along with Landis’ recipe, we’ll soon have more than 620 blogger cookies to choose from when fixing Santa a plate.

“It’s gonna be the ultimate cookie recipe source,” she said.

Contact Jennifer Justus at 259-8072 or jjustus@tennessean.com.

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