There are many beloved holiday traditions: trimming the tree, hiding presents, seeing The Nutcracker, and, of course, baking cookies. Here in the South, we like to take it a step further and host cookie swaps. How do these work? Many groups have their own rules, but the general idea is to assemble a group, have everyone bring around three dozen of their favorite cookies and swap. Everyone goes home with a passel of new treats to try and share with their family. It’s a great way to catch up with with friends, and you may even find your new favorite (meltingly tender) cookie recipe. We know that competition at these things can get fierce–set your treats apart and make sure everyone knows what you brought with one simple item: Dogwood Hill gift tags. They are an easy, elegant way to label your cookie contributions, soigne and personal, all at the same time. Check out our favorite cookie recipe this season featured in our Holiday 2016 photography.

from Christmas with Southern Living 1997, found here


1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar


Beat shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed of an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and flavorings, beating until blended.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to shortening mixture, beating well. Cover and chill dough.

Shape dough into 1″ balls. Roll balls in 1/4 cup sugar. Place balls on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350° for 8 to 9 minutes or until barely golden. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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