"C" Is For Cookies...

My name is Haley, and I have a baking addiction. But I don't have to tell you that -- the unrelenting stream of cookie-themed posts this month speaks for itself. To give myself another excuse to keep baking, and to provide myself with an audience outside of my coworkers, I decided to host a cookie swap, a breed of holiday party in which each guest bakes and brings along a batch of their favorite cookies, and everyone goes home with a custom assortment curated from the offerings of their peers. I love any reason to play hostess, so what could be more appropriate for me than a party focused on baked goods?

Although I only requested that my guests bring three dozen of one type of cookie, because I was the hostess I decided to make three kinds: chocolate chip cookies with peppermint bark instead of chocolate chips, Aunt Lois' sugar cookies, and gingerbread-flavored palmiers (a French-pastry made from coiled puff pastry with a sweet, crunchy glaze). I also whipped up a batch of mulled apple cider in my crock pot, some homemade spanakopita, some mini-quiches, and assembled a cheese plate just to have a few savory options to balance all of the dessert.

My guests starting arriving around two in the afternoon, and they miraculously waited to attack the food until everyone had arrived and laid out their respective cookies on a platter. Indeed, the bounty of cookies was so impressive, that nearly everyone whipped out a camera or a cell phone to capture the moment; Sarah's boyfriend, Zach, even took a video of the feast.

From bottom, clockwise: Sarah brought peanut butter kisses, Mireya and her friend brought two different flavors of chocolate chip cookies, Ashley brought macaroons, Natasha brought jam thumbprints, Lauren brought pfeffernüssen (a German spice cookie rolled in powdered sugar), Jane brought dark chocolate cookies with milk chocolate chunks, Claire brought magic bar cookies, and Taryn brought toffee chocolate chip cookies.

From the other side of the counter, you can see my gingerbread palmiers on the bottom right, and Lois' sugar cookies are on the top of the cake stand.

Me with my buddies from work, Mireya and Natasha. I'm quite fond of my new headband, which I got at the One of a Kind art show a week ago. I think it's especially festive for the holiday season.

Zach, Me, Ashley, Lauren, Sarah, and Taryn.

Overall, I think the party was a success. Despite having a few last minute additions to the guest list on the morning of the party, I ended up having just the right amount of savory hors d'oeuvres and apple cider, which just goes to show that I usually serve too much food at my parties. Everyone seemed to have a pleasant time, and they enjoyed the little party favors of kitchen gadgets that I gave out in addition to the parcels of cookies. Aside from having a truly daunting amount of cookies leftover that did not get carted away by my guests, I think things couldn't have gone better. The cookie exchange might just become my default party for holidays to come...

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