I do have a ton to catch you up on, but for now, I wanted to just discuss the cookie swap, which we held on December 19. It was a Wednesday, so we still had a couple days left of school before vacation, but we were starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our house was beginning to get prepared for hosting all 50 family members here for Christmas Eve, and Anne, Kenzie, Mom and I decided that we always want to get invited to cookie swaps but never do, so why not throw our own here? We sent out Facebook invitations to family and a few friends, and voila: the cookie swap was born.
1) Invite people. This is rather obvious, but you need a good number of cookies to have a swap. We decided to invite about 10 people. If you have too many, the amount of cookies to taste test is overwhelming, and too few and it's awkward. We also told people right off the bat to bring 2-3 dozen cookies. We felt it wasn't necessary to have people bring a dozen cookies for everyone invited, like some cookie swaps suggest. A few of each kind of cookie was plenty. Next time, I might have people bring a recipe card of their cookie; we didn't this year, and I wanted some of the recipes!
2) Decide on which awards will be given. We were kind of half-assing the awards for this swap, considering I frantically created 4 ribbons using Paint on my work computer during dismissal one day. We decided to give an award for best tasting, worst tasting, prettiest, and ugliest. My mother thinks that next year, the negative awards should be nixed, but I thought it was kind of funny.
|Here are the ribbons for prettiest and ugliest, and the winning cookies!|
|Lots of chocolates and candles for prizes!|
|Voting... Kelsey is not pleased with the results...|
|Marshmallows for the cocoa bar!|
4) Party! We had a wonderful night - especially me and Susie, as the top winners for prettiest (my linzer cookies) and best tasting (Susie's almond biscotti). Kelsey was the big winner of the night, with two awards! Unfortunately, they were for ugliest and worst tasting. Haha! A for effort, Kels. Again, my mom is now against the "mean awards" but as long as your guests have a good sense of humor, I think it is just fine.
Here are the recipes for the winning cookies (okay, except for Kelsey's!):
Linzer cookies (won the award for prettiest!)
from Martha Stewart
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons. cold water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cup flour
2 tsteaspoons baking powder
10 oz. slivered almonds
6 oz. chopped almonds
1 egg white, lightly beaten (for wash)
sugar or melting chocolate (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat first 6 ingredients until creamy.