Christmas Cookie Extravaganza

Have you ever heard of a cookie exchange? I’ve been invited to two this year, fortunately spaced a good two weeks apart, which means that we’ll have time to enjoy the first batch of cookies before the next one arrives. It’s a sensible idea. Each person gets one dozen of everyone else’s baking. Not only does it simplify the Christmas baking procedure, it also diversifies my tastes; I end up with cookies that I wouldn’t necessarily think to make.

A cookie exchange, as I learned last night, can also be a great excuse for a ladies-only night out. Who would have known that cookies could be an enabler of new friendships and connections?  Not to mention the luxurious decadence that goes along with grazing on cookies all evening long — quite satisfactory, I must admit.

In preparation for the cookie exchange, I had to make seven dozen cookies of my own choosing. Now, I’m usually a work-minimizer when it comes to baking. Because time is precious and I never know how long I’ve got before the kids’ moods start to fall apart, I tend to opt for the easiest, fastest, least work-intensive recipes. This time, however, I felt ambitious. Why not try something fancier for a change? So I did. I made spiced and iced cut-out cookies. Nearly six hours later, I was finished. The table, floor, my shirt and arms were covered in hardened bits of royal icing. My nerves were frazzled from fighting with a clogged decorating bag and I felt jittery from eating too much sugar and not enough dinner because I wasn’t hungry from all that sugar.

The end result after hours of intense labour!
The end result after hours of intense labour!

These were some of the other decadent offerings at the cookie exchange. (Not pictured here: cake batter fudge and Greek olive oil-cinnamon-sesame twists.) It was worth all that hard work to make my cut-out cookies because now I have this divine selection in my cupboard. It’s like having an in-house pastry shop, and what’s not to love about that?

Melted rolo, pecan, and pretzel bites
Melted rolo, pecan, and pretzel bites
Perfection in bar form, aka "Christmas crack"
Perfection in bar form, aka “Christmas crack”
Chocolate-topped coconut macaroons
Chocolate-topped coconut macaroons

Anyone want to come over for tea and cookies?!

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