First of all, there is no way my dogs would sit idly by while I tortured them to pose with dessert. Come to think of it, even I wouldn't sit still.
Check out this great DIY Christmas idea from Gwen Gardner. Easy and frugal. Plus, she's included a decadent cookie recipe.
DIY Cookie Exchange
A cookie exchange is a perfect way to get together with friends to socialize during the Christmas holidays. The premise is simple. For each person attending, bake a dozen cookies. So if ten people are attending, each person will bake ten dozen cookies – include yourself in the count. Then get together and exchange cookies and end up with ten dozen different kinds of cookies.
You can make the cookie exchange as formal or informal as you’d like. Before I moved from San Diego, my girlfriends and I got together every December for a cookie exchange. These are my best buddies from grade school and high school, and we have known each other since the 1970’s. Since I’ve known these ladies for most of my life, we are fairly informal. We make it a ladies only event – no men or children. The host (a different host volunteers every year) provides finger foods such as hors d’oeuvres and other snack food. We serve adult beverages. Mulled wine simmering in a crockpot and tantalizing cinnamon aroma is just the thing to make you feel warm and fuzzy and get you into the Christmas spirit.
Whether you’re going formal or informal, here are some tips:
• Provide a Christmas themed door prize. You can provide a collector’s Christmas ornament, a Christmas cookie jar, or ask everyone to bring a cookie cutter, then package them up to give to the winner.
• Send invitations early. Facebook or e-vite is easiest.
• Once the number of attendees is confirmed, let everyone know how many are attending and how many dozens of cookies they need to bake. For this reason, an event on Facebook is ideal.
• Shop early for cookie packaging such as Christmas grab bags, boxes and baggies. You want to provide pretty packaging to send with your friends.
• Bake your favorite cookie. It’s okay to prepare the dough ahead of time and even freeze it. This is the easiest way for working women. Try to make them pretty.
• Plan your eats and drinks menu.
• On the day/evening of the cookie exchange, set up a large table or several tables where guests will arrange their cookies.
• Set up a separate table for the party food and drinks. Mulled wine, hot apple cider and hot chocolate are winter favorites.
• You can play games, tell stories or party. Just remember to take cookies home when you leave.
Since I now live in the Rockies, I don’t do a cookie exchange. But this year when I was baking cookies, I had two cookie monsters who were very attentive. They listened to every word of instruction, heads tilted to the side in order to better understand. You see, the “special” cookie box is in the kitchen, and I bumped it a few times. The cookie monsters know what cookies “sound” like, being experts and all.
Koko and Tuffy used extreme self-discipline while posing with yummy cookies for this photo. They received a doggie cookie for their efforts.
Do you have Cookie Monsters at home?
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1. In large bowl, mix oil, chocolate, granulated sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours.
2. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray.
3. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls into powdered sugar; roll around to coat and shape into balls. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.
Makes 6 dozen cookies
Gwen Gardner bio:
Ever have big plans for ‘someday’? Too often it never comes. But Gwen's did. She quit her corporate job, moved to the mountains and began to write. Crazy, isn't it? But even crazier? Is getting to the end of your life and realizing that 'someday’ is too late. Life is much too short for that! So the adventure has begun. Gwen Gardner is the author of Givin’ Up The Ghost. In addition to writing young adult paranormal mysteries, Gwen provides services to her fellow indie authors, including novel formatting, proofreading and copy editing.
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