Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hallelujah for the Christmas Cookie Exchange

Who came up with this holiday ritual? I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. The Christmas cookie exchange is truly the lazy woman's answer for having tins of goodies of all variety over the holidays. I love the concept. And, after having heard of these wondrous events, I can now say I have taken part. And I am hooked!

Ok, I just had to look it up. While the Christmas Cookie Exchange is not credited to one person, it seems to first have appeared in print in the 1963 Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.
"A Party Idea. A popular once-a-year party is the Chrismas cooky swap party. Friends and neighbors gather, each bringing one dozen of her holiday specialty for each woman at the party. Cookies are set out to sample and admire and coffee is served. Afterward each one takes home a wonderful variety of festive cookies." Thank you, foodtimeline.org.

On a side note, did you know that my father's mother was the first female executive at General Mills, and for awhile, she was some of the features on the face of Betty Crocker (who was a composite of several women)? More on that someday...

Back to cookies... on Saturday night, I was part of a cookie exchange. It was just up the road from my house, and I was able to go with a good friend, while her hubby watched our three 1/2 year old daughters, who were incidentally born on the same day. Michelle & I got to hang out with my babe and two other fine ladies, sipping wine, eating Mexican chili (even veggie style for me!), and chatting. In the end, my 4 kinds of treats, turned into 9! And now, I have beautiful tins of baked goods to give away as gifts and to eat. Yum, yum!

I hope to collect some of the other recipes, which included yummy Russian Tea Cakes, delicious oatmeal peanut butter cranberry cookies, and exquisite pistachio lime iced cookies. I can share what I made...

Peanut Blossoms, which I wrote about and posted the recipe for here. My Aunt Jackie used to make these during the holidays and I think of her every time I make them. She taught me how and I used to unwrap and push in the Hershey's Kisses.

Maple Cinnamon Pecans. I got this recipe from my favorite enewsletter, Craft Daily. They are easy to make and the host of the cookie exchange referred to them as "crack", so be prepared to be addicted.

Homemade Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows. The recipe is here. Once again, Craft Daily, and the same wonderful contributor. The cookie exchange host squealed when she saw these! I could not resist attempting these. I don't really like to just eat marshmallows but I thought they would make great gifts next year, along with cocoa mix. I wanted to give them a shot before planning to make bunches and bunches. It was quite easy albeit sticky. I think I got about 5 dozen out of this recipe. I would use more vanilla bean next time and a stand mixer... They are beautiful, delicious, and Quin has fun helping to put the crushed candy cane on. They need to be refrigerated and can be kept for up to one week.

Iced Sugar Cookies. I have to admit that the batter for these was not made my me. The horror... but I wanted to support a friend who was selling buckets of frozen cookie dough as a fundraiser for her son's school. I bought one, thinking how much fun Quin and I would have making them. And we did. And I have a great respect for people who do such a beautiful job of decorating these. The thought of making different colored frosting... eeck. I just made a simple icing from icing sugar, a few drops of water, and a couple drops of lemon juice. Add sprinkles et voila!


Serena said...

Your cookies look delicious! especially the sugar cookies!!!!

We're making sugar cookies today, ill have to post pictures of that disaster!

angela said...

i also made baked goods to give away as gifts this yr...i made little care packages of 5 different items - lemon poppyseed shortbread, russian tea cakes, raspberry thumbelinas, gignersnaps, and peanut butter cups - all vegan and delicious! :-)

Tiffany Teske said...

OOOOOHHH, Ang, can I have the peanut butter cup recipe? Everything sounds amazing! Serena, how did your sugar cookies work out?