The first cookie exchange party I attended was when my son (now 16) was in Kindergarten. This group of ladies took their cookies seriously! If delicious cookies presented Martha-style was not enough, the hostess decked out her castle-like house in over the top holiday decor creating a winter wonderland so beautiful it would make Ebeneezer Scrooge melt. Everyone brought a designated amount of cookies, allowing each guest to take home a equal amounts of everyone's contribution. The math involved must have been mind boggling! The best part of course, was coming home with a platter of the most divine holiday cookies.
Moving from Seattle means I sadly no longer get to attend this event (actually no one does, the hostess moved to Florida…), but I got to thinking about it the other day and decided to ask a couple of my best baker girlfriends to contribute their favorite cookies to a virtual cookie party!
The first cookie on the table is from my friend Teri. She is an extraordinary baker and I beg her constantly to grace the world with her talents and open a bakery!
Sugar Cookies topped with Frosting and Crushed Peppermint
The table from a cookie party that Teri attended:
Next up is a cookie from my friend Vanessa who lives in Seattle and works for AllRecipes.com. If you are not familiar with this website – you will LOVE it. One of my favorite things about it is that readers can share their photos of the recipes they've tried.
Raspberry and Almond Shortbread Thumbprints
I love anything with almond flavor, so I can't wait to try these! For the recipe and the page with the readers photos of their version of the above cookie, click here.
I also wanted to share a program AllRecipes has organized called Cookies Across America:
'Join Allrecipes this December to “bake a difference.”Cookie lovers unite! Whether it’s baking and sharing cookies with the needy or donating cookie ingredients to a food bank, you can make a difference in your community this Christmas.
On December 10, 2011, join Allrecipes, Taste of Home magazine, and Nestlé®, as we spread a little Christmas cookie cheer across America. Here are a few ways to get involved.
Host a Cookie Exchange
If you love baking cookies and gathering with friends and family, this is the event for you. Take the pledge and join us, December 10, 2011, or set your own date during December, and have everyone bring a few dozen of their favorite holiday cookies. Make it a decorating party! Add icing and festive touches.
Then wrap up your cookies for donation and give them to a local food pantry, emergency shelter, senior center, lunch program, or other community agency. Be sure to check first they accept food donations, and ask when they would like delivery.
Organize a Food Drive
Host a food drive that focuses on baking ingredients, then donate items to your local food bank. Open up the food drive to friends, family, and coworkers, along with school, church, and other groups.
Ingredients Most in Need:
Where to Donate?
Food pantries, family shelters, senior centers
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The Ronald McDonald House
My contribution is a simple one, but sooo good.