The tennis playing Crest Associates of have the right idea about holidays and cookies.
First, they gather each early December to play two hours of hard tennis, working up the kind of sweat that the less motivated among us might pay personal trainers to coax out. They follow that with a cookie exchange, in which each of them has brought a couple dozen cookies to share with the others. And to top it all off, the cookies are judged and prizes awarded by firemen from local station No. 88.
Tennis, cookies and a hug for the winners from a hunky fireman?
The Crest Associates is a community support group for Pepperdine, with participants contributing to scholarships and funding student programs. In exchange for their donation, Crest Associates are invited to many cultural and social events, and have use of the athletic and library facilities on campus.
This tennis group, in addition to its cookie exchange, also contributed toys for John Velasco’s Heart of Compassion organization, dedicated to fighting hunger and transforming communities impacted by hunger and poverty into communities of hope and self reliance. Pepperdine Alumni are well-known for the many service projects they create and are involved in, to better and change lives in the local community.
Tennis, cookies, firemen and doing good, all on a gorgeous day on the edge of the continent overlooking the sea.
It doesn't get better than that.
Cookie winners were:
Most creative category:
- Spice Girls, by Lisa Machenberg
- Tennis Balls, by Remy Carroll
- Linzertorte cookies, by Margaret Schultz
- White Chocolate Peppermint Marshmallow Treats, by Candace Kelly
- Gingerbread, by Miray Bik
Best tasting category:
- Whole Grain Cranberry, by Gina Odian
- Chocolate/White Chocolate Chip, by Mary Jacobson
- Chocolate with White Chips, by Marie Wexler
- Shortbread Squares, by Fiona Corrigan
- Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies, by Sky Stipanowich
Here are a couple of recipes from the Pepperdine tennis ladies to whet your appetite for holiday baking!
Whole Grain Cranberry Pecan Cookies
From baker Gina Odian
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
4 packs of maple & brown sugar instant oatmeal
1/2 cup organic turbinado sugar
1/2 cup organic salted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
1 organic egg
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pecans
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar, then add egg, water, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix some more. Add the cranberries and pecans. Put teaspoon-sized cookies on a cookie sheet and bake until light brown (about 10 minutes).
Makes 36 little cookies.
Swedish Nut Ball Cookies (Tennis Ball Cookies)
Baker Remy Carroll says, "This is a classic recipe. I just dyed the powdered sugar to make it look like tennis balls!"
1 cup butter, cut into small slices
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup ground walnuts or pecans
Coating: 1 cup powdered sugar (dyed with green food coloring if you wish)
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream cold butter and powdered sugar, then add flour, vanilla and 1 cup ground walnuts or pecans.
Using your hands, roll into small balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until slightly golden in color. When done, remove from oven and roll hot cookies in powdered sugar, covering completely. Allow to cool on a rack, and then roll once more in powdered sugar.
Store in a covered container.
A note about dying powdered sugar: Remy says that was the toughest part. She tried spray colors, colored sprinkles, colored sugar crystals, etc. and they weren't the right consistency. So she finally resorted to the regular liquid food coloring, dropping a little drop at a time inside a Ziploc bag with the 1 cup of powdered sugar and kept mixing it together with the fork until the color blended the right way. She says, "You kind of lose the powdery consistency, but it worked!"