Cookie Baking Day Cookies Desserts

Orange Pecan Gems

December 12, 2011

Over the past few weeks roughly 22,000 cookies were sent around the world as part of the first Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! How cool is that? Thanks to Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen, over 600 food bloggers were matched together to share in cookie goodness. How it works: Sign up, make 3 dozen of the same cookies, send 1 dozen each to 3 of your matches. In return, you get 1 dozen cookies from each of the 3 bloggers that got your name. Six new blogging friends!

2011 Food Blogger Cookie Swap

For my cookies, I chose these Orange Pecan Gems. They weren’t my first choice. I poured over several cookbooks and eventually chose cranberry macadamia white chocolate jumbles that had coffee as an ingredient. They turned out horrible fresh from the oven. So I quickly decided on another cookie, the Orange Pecan Gems. I mean I’m mailing cookies to fellow food bloggers, I can’t send any ol’ cookie. What’s interesting is after a few days, the nasty coffee taste disappeared from the first cookies and they ended up tasting pretty fantastic. Who knew? But I never would have discovered the Orange Pecan Gems, so it’s a win win!

Orange Pecan Gems

So, how’s it taste?

I loved these cookies from the second they were mixing in the mixer. The sweet smell of orange is intoxicating. They couldn’t be easier to make since the base is a cake mix. I recommend Duncan Hines brand because their mixes taste better than the others in my opinion. The orange and pecan go so well together. The cookie is very soft and moist. They are almost like eating little cakes. I like how the cookie is really chewy, but there’s bits of crunchy pecans in the cookie and one big crunchy pecan on top. They really last, too, stored in an airtight container. I saved a few cookies so I could taste them on the day I saw my packages were delivered and they were just as good as the first day I baked them. My mom and I enjoyed these cookies so much, they made the list for our Annual Cookie Baking Day! (See the bottom of this post for a list of the other cookies we baked and stay tuned this week for their recipes!)

My packages went all the way to Connecticut for Karen at Small Kitchen Big Taste, to Utah for Holly at, and to Oklahoma for Kathryne at Cookie and Kate. I only heard from Karen, and she and her boyfriend really enjoyed them! Hope that doesn’t mean the other two thought they were crap, lol!

In return, I received three awesome batches of cookies! My first batch came from Margaret of Ma Vie En Rose. She sent Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Magic Cookies. I devoured these. When I ate one, I’d have to have another. They were the best of both worlds with chocolate chips and raisins in an oatmeal cookie.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Magic Cookies

My second batch was from Karen of Soup Addict. She sent Secret Stash Cookies. A soft vanilla cookie and the bottoms were iced with a dark chocolate ganache. Yes, the bottom was iced…more room for the ganache! Completely addictive. I love soft cookies and the delicate vanilla matched perfectly with the dark chocolate. It was almost like it was fudge! I was sad when I ate the last of these.

Secret Stash Cookies

My third batch was from Madeline of Munching in the Mitten. She sent Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies. These cookies reminded me of my Mexcian Brownies. Fragrant with cinnamon and chocolate…a wonderful combination. And after you eat one, the subtle heat of cayenne sneaks up on you. It’s not hot, just a nice warmth on your tongue.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Want to be part of the 2012 Food Blogger Cookie Swap? Subscribe to receive notification when signups begin for next year!

Other goodies from Cookie Baking Day 2011:
Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
Iced Lemon Pistachio
Cranberry White Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Chocolate Malt Cookies
Triple Chocolate Oreo Chunk Cookies
Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Orange Pecan Gems

Duncan Hines
makes 4 1/2 to 5 dozen cookies


1 box Duncan Hines® Moist Deluxe® Orange Supreme Cake Mix
1 (8 oz.) container vanilla low fat yogurt
1 large egg
2 tbsp. butter
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup pecan halves


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheets or cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine cake mix, yogurt, egg, butter, and chopped pecans in mixer bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer until blended. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Press pecan half into center of each cookie.

3. Bake at 350°F for 11 to 13 minutes, or until golden brown.* Cool 1 minute on sheets. Remove to cooling racks. Cool completely. Store in airtight container. Cookies will stay really soft and moist.

*It's hard to tell when these cookies get golden brown since they're orange. Bake for the lowest amount of time first and check cookies as you go. A good way to tell is when they aren't shiny like the dough anymore.

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  • December 12, 2011 at 8:49 am

    It’s so funny you had problems with your first batch of cookies, I TOTALLY did too! I tried to make some anise snickerdoodles that turned into hockey pucks. Ew! I kept on trying but they kept being terrible, oh well. The cookies I ended up sending were much better anyway. Wasn’t this cookie swap fun? I can’t wait until next year

    • Leah December 12, 2011 at 8:51 am

      Too funny you did the same thing! I was completely panicking over the first batch tasting awful. Talk about pressure when you’re sending to fellow food bloggers!

  • Erin December 12, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Love the individual pecan halves you put on each.

    • Leah December 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      Thanks! I love pecans, so the more the merrier!

  • SoupAddict Karen December 12, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Okay, NOW I can admit I had a glitch with my cookies, too. 😀 The ganache didn’t turn out right the first time through, so instead of being able to mail the cookies on Saturday morning, I had to wait until Monday, the deadline! I was panicking that they wouldn’t arrive on time – so glad they did (whew). Love your orange cookies!

    • Leah December 13, 2011 at 5:55 pm

      Ha ha! It’s funny to hear the stories behind the cookies. Glad I wasn’t the only one feeling the pressure. Yours were fabulous. The ganache was awesome!

  • Jessica December 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Can I have one of each?! Please?!

    • Leah December 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      You’d think I’d be sick of cookies by now, but nope, not one bit!