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The Annual Christmas Party

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Today was one of our favorite events of the year-our annual Christmas cookie party. And to make it extra seasonally festive-it began snowing just as people arrived! Lots of the older kids just ran around outside being crazy, which was nice as it kept them from being crazy in the house. I love our party for lots of reasons, and one of them is simply that it makes us really tidy up and clean the house and then it’s lovely and pretty all Christmas season. (Of course I was a nutcase on Saturday.)
Mercury Glass Bell
We got our tree a couple days ago and it looks great. I love our ornaments and the stories they have to tell. A few years ago I started writing down all the new ornaments for the year and where they came from. Since an ornament is our souvenir of choice when we go places our tree becomes like a big scrapbook. This year’s new editions were from Cape May and Niagara Falls.
the tree
So, the fire is blazing, the tree is lit, the Christmas tunes are playing, and all is ready for the cookies.
A sampling of cookies with the winners in the front (linzer tart, cookie-canes, gingerbread snowmen)
This year we had:
Cookie-Canes-made by Paul, he’s made this same basic thing in past years, but this year it came out a bit differently. Basically he crushes up a lot of candy canes and adds them to the basic dough you use for chocolate chip cookies. I was crazy for the way the canes melted and the result was like a big blob of crunchy/gooey cookie and candy. Canadian Christmas (also by Paul, but named by me.)-a bacon cookie. In this case the bacon was cooked in the oven and drizzled with maple syrup. The cookie was good and especially the ones that had some pecans sprinkled on. Gingerbread Snowmen–I’ve had this recipe in my holiday recipes folder for a couple years but never made it before. And I guess, technically, I still haven’t as I used the King Arthur Flour recipe for gingerbread, said screw it to royal icing and just made regular icing. So basically from my BHG recipe I used the circle cutter, decorate to look like a snowman, idea. I don’t know that I’ve ever made gingerbread cookies before. This was a great recipe-dark and spicy, super easy to roll and cut out. I used candy fruit slices (orange) to snip pieces into carrot noses. Our guests brought: Linzer tarts (I happen to love linzer tarts, so I was very partial to these, especially when I saw how they had beautiful seasonal cutouts on the tops);
Look at that perfect little angel cutout in the linzer tart
Chocolate Almond Thumbprints; Pistachio Coconut (such a pretty green);
The cookies
Pistachio, Chocolate Chip, Cranberry; Cocoa Delight (a favorite for Paul and Clark); White Chocolate Gingerbread (a soft gingerbread cookie with white chocolate chips); b cookies (I thought these were spectacular-delicate and lacy, the perfect shape. Mary Lynn said she used the Barefoot Contessa recipe in her newest book.); Chocolate Fudge Sandwich cookies (with a darling little green tree on top); Frosty Snowballs (a name which I constantly laughed at as it made me think of Schweddy Balls, these were like Mexican Wedding Cakes); and Pinwheels (a festive pink and white spiral sugar cookie.) So many delicious cookies! And to go with it of course I made a boozy punch (and a non-boozy punch with orange sherbet)
What's a holiday party without a boozy punch?
and a savory cheese ball.
The cookies
Our cookie party is not a swap-but a competition. A friendly competition. This was our third year where we had voting with money, with the grand prize winner donating all the money to the charity of his/her choice. And this year’s winners was….
Paul’s Cookie-Canes!!! Interestingly, when he made these he was unsatisfied with how they came out-all melty. I kept saying I liked them and gobbling them up and was sure he thought I was placating him. But obviously lots of people liked them. He chose to donate the $95 collected to our local food bank.
The other categories we vote for by just making a hash mark next to the cookie we think is Most Christmassy and Best Overall Appearance. To my delight and surprise, for the first time, I was a winner! My gingerbread snowmen were deemed Most Christmassy.
Gingerbread Snowmen
And to no surprise, and super well deserved, the best overall appearance went to Melissa’s Linzer Tarts.
I usually make prizes and this year I was very rushed and started to sew something today and then finally just wrote an i.o.u. for the winner, along with stitching a felt ornament. Since Paul won perhaps I don’t need to follow through on the i.o.u., but he can proudly hang the ornament.


About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

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