“Chocolate-Gingerbread Flora & Fauna Cookies” – The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014

choco gingerbread2

I have been saving these flora & fauna cookie cutters for a special baking occasion. The 2014 Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap seems like such a  moment in this holiday season. Started by fellow bloggers at Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen a few years ago, this very worthwhile fundraiser for Cookies For Kid’s Cancer is always a lot of fun to participate in and if you did not have time this year try to make time in 2015.

My cookies combine dark cocoa, Nashville’s own Olive & Sinclair Cinnamon Chili Mexican Style Chocolate along with gingerbread spices &  local molasses. The dough cut into forest animals, acorns & leaves lightly decorated with a simple icing is perhaps all you need, along with world peace & love to make this one nice holiday season one chocolate-gingerbread bite at a time.

Just “Imagine”.


Olive & Sinclair has shown up in quite a few desserts here at food on fifth. This one is my  favorite for cookies…cinnamon & chili.


Round cookies? Square? Shapes for sure. Some vintage, some new cutters.


Upon my doorstep one day there appeared a package from OXO and inside was what really turned out to save the day when it came to icing my cookies….Like magic a set of OXO Good Grips Baker’s Silicone Decorating Bottle Kit appeared just when I needed to ice these cookies. Thanks OXO elves!


Royal icing, my new OXO icing tool and some sanding sugar made this part effortless.


While the icing dried I put together a few tags, my business card……


…stamped the tins with Holiday images, checked to make sure the tags worked…..


..nestled the cookies for a safe trip out into the big, wide world……


….tins packed…boxes stamped….Happy Holidays all you other Cookie Swapper’s out there.


A big thanks to my three fellow bloggers that I received delicious cookies from…Kristin at kesaling.com (sorry your site is not coming up so I could not do a link!…Amanda at amandakbythebay.blogspot.com and Renee at marriedandhungryblog.blogspot.com…Santa is going to love your cookies as much as I do!


Happy December, Be Sweet and Kind and Bake more cookies to share!

Chocolate-Gingerbread Flora & Fauna Cookies

  • Servings: 36cookies
  • Difficulty: very
  • Print


  • For Gingerbread spice – 1 tbsp ground ginger; 2 tsp ground cinnamon; 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves, mixed together in a small bowl
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp soft unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3 ozs baking chocolate (of your choice) melted & cooled to room temp
  • For Royal Icing – 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar; 1 egg white; 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Sanding Sugar/Decorating Sugar in Clear or White or Silver


  1. In a mixing bowl whisk together the gingerbread spice mix, cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt.
  2. In a stand mixer using the paddle, beat together the butter & vegetable shortening.
  3. Add the brown sugar & beat until fluffy and light.
  4. Add the egg & beat until well blended. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  5. Lastly beat in the molasses and melted chocolate. Beat for about 2 minutes until ingredients are very well mixed.
  6. Add the flour mixture in batches until well incorporated, beating to form a dough.
  7. Scrape dough from mixer bowl, divide into 3 balls, flatten into disks, wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour before using.
  8. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2-3  cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Working with one cookie dough disk at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4″ thick. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes & place on parchment lined pans. Gather up any dough scraps and re-roll and cut out more cookies until all of the dough is used.  Work in batches, rolling out next disk of dough while others are baking.
  10. Bake cookies for about 6-8 minutes, or until cookies are slightly puffy and dry on top. Remove from the oven, allow to cool on pan for a few minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before icing. Repeat process until all dough is baked.
  11. For icing whisk together the powdered sugar, egg white & lemon juice until smooth. Put icing in an icing bag with a small tip or other icing tool, such as the OXO one I used. Set aside until cookies are completely cooled.
  12. Decorate cooled chocolate-gingerbread cookies with icing. Sprinkle with some sanding sugar to add a bit of Holiday glitter.Icing will harden in a few minutes. Eat, Share, Send, Make More!

Notes: These cookies are terrific dipped in hot coffee or alongside a cup of tea. Kids love the animal shapes.

Teresa Blackburn   http://www.foodonfifth.com       http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com


Animal Cookie Cutters from IKEA, Trees, Acorns & Leaves various Antique Malls during the year.

OXO Icing Tool (randomly arrived at my house unsolicited but it turned out I needed such a thing so I am saying I like it with no money having changed hands! Available online I  suppose.

Glitter Christmas Houses from All Seasons right here in Nashville. Every year I buy a few to add to my village!

White tins and packing boxes from The Container Store.




“Music City Mocha Chip Cookies”

“Music City Mocha Chip Cookies”

(developed for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011)

This chewy cookie is subtly bold with a hint of heat… it is familiarly cozy in its chocolatey-ness, but is that coffee I smell? Hmmm….molasses?

As my cookies were to be mailed out to three fellow food bloggers scattered around the country it was important to me to use  as many local ingredients as possible to share a taste of Music City.   Chewy, chocolatey (Olive & Sinclair) with a hint of coffee (Bongo Java) and a little unexpected “bite” via hot pepper was what I settled on as the flavor profile.  I made about 3 recipes before I got to the one you see here. They were all tasty, but I was just dancing around until I came up with my “Music City Mocha Chip Cookie”, a cozy little cookie that is great with a glass of milk for Santa….


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (White Lily or Martha White) mixed with 1/2 tsp baking soda & 1 tsp sea or kosher salt

8 ounces unsalted butter, room temp (Farmer’s Market)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1 generous Tbsp Sorghum Molasses (Tennessee)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temp (Farmer’s Market)

3 Tbsp finely ground coffee (Bongo Java “Mystic’)

 2 cups chopped semi sweet chocolate (Olive & Sinclair chocolate)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper + more to garnish if desired

1/2 cup cocoa powder


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream butter, brown sugar & granulated sugars together until fluffy using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

3. Add in eggs one at a time.  Scrape down sides of bowl often. With mixer on low add in ground coffee & vanilla extract.

4. Add the flour mixture until well blended. Sprinkle in cayenne pepper & cocoa & mix well.

5. Stir in chopped chocolate until fully incorporated. Chill dough for 1 hour before baking.

6. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart after dipping tops of  dough balls in decorative sugar crystals.

7. Bake until cookies are puffy & the surface starts to “crack”. About 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle on more decorative sugar & extra cayenne if desired,  cool on wire racks. Cookies will keep for up to one week stored in airtight containers with waxed paper between layers.

The dozens of cookies were baked, cooled and readied for mailing. I wanted my cookies to arrive at their destinations in good shape, in fun packaging, something a bit special and Holiday-like. I found great sturdy tins & mailing boxes at The Container Store. My tags I made using imagery from my many Christmas catalogs.  I used a Christmas tree rubber stamp I made last year to decorate the outside of the mailing box. I inserted more catalog imagery into the top of the tins and constructed ingredients list envelopes using art paper scraps & cardboard…I really had to make myself stop…those boxes had to get in the mail!

Bon Voyage “Music City Mocha Chip Cookies”, Bon Voyage.

Thanks to Julie (http://thelittlekitchen.net) and Lindsay (http://loveandoliveoil.com) for organizing this fun event.

Here are the cookies I received:

From Megan at http://www.mlbailey.blogspot.com
From Nancy at rivertreekitchen.com
From Steph at willrun4treats.com

….bake, share & have a very, very sweet holiday….