Mom blog: Christmas cookie exchange

Mom Blogger JacquelynFinally I did something on the weekend other than cook and clean and run kids all over the city (all of which I still did, of course). I went to my first-ever cookie exchange. Yes, I had read about them in Canadian Living magazine, and I’m sure there must have been one in the hundreds of Martha’s mags that I have in the basement, but I’d never attended one. And it’s not for lack of baking. We have been baking and decorating “fancy” cookies since my daughter was three and I wanted to come up with a type of cookie she could really participate in. Those pictures of toddlers with flour all over their heads, faces, hair, arms and fronts may be cute but they made me cringe. I did not, and do not, like the thought of little kids hands, no matter how scrubbed, anywhere near something that might be ingested by anyone but themselves. Do I sound a little freaky?!?

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So, flooded icing cookies were the answer:
• Mum mixes dough
• Mum gives kids their own piece of rolled out dough from which to cut any shape they desire
• Mum bakes
• kids have a ball decorating their own cookies with fancy icing in pastry bags, which they can handle with great skill at three and four years of age
• Mum decorates cookies side by side with the kids, but puts hers out of harm’s way for giving and storing for later.

Darlene, the mum who gave the Hallowe’en party (with her husband, of course), was the hostess, and an experienced one at that—this was her seventh annual cookie exchange. There were women there from the very first party, and brand-new faces like mine too.

It was just like I had imagined from the glossy magazine pages—Christmas decorations up, plates of cookies and bars and veggie dips and cheese and crackers, a bar laden with coffee, juice, pop and wine (praise on high). There were games—and I admit to an urge to escape through the nearest window when I heard that. But it turned out that none of the games were of the “truth or dare” variety, but involved skills such as unwrapping and consuming Hersheys kisses while wearing oven gloves (our team won), identifying holiday objects by touch only through a Christmas stocking, and a knowledge of Christmas carols. Like all excellent kid parties, everyone got a prize. I left mine on the speaker to the left. It might have been my eagerness to get to the cookies that wiped out my memory.

At exchange time, it was a cookie lover’s fantasy conga line. Darlene had laid the platters and trays and boxes of cookies and bars over two large tables, and we snaked our way along picking up at least 20 different goodies, from shortbreads, skor bars and holiday fruit drops, to pumpkin cookies, butterscotch brownies and toblerone shortbread. Each attendee had to bring six dozen cookies, which meant you received 72 cookies minimum, since I think many people brought more.

I came away with a huge Crabtree & Evelyn gift tin crammed with a gazillion calories, meant to last through to the holiday season, and for some people, maybe even through the season. I am now leaving the keyboard to count the cookies remaining in my tin.

Seventeen (that’s 17). Nine of those have bites taken out of them (how nice that my kids are so wary of germs, and manners). I probably worked off half a cookie getting up, crossing the room and searching for the tin. Good thing!

So, Darlene was kind enough to send me a pic of my tray, and my number 1 fan here, Graydon, took some photos, which I’ll add. I know I’m not the Foodie File, and recipes can’t go here, but I’ll be asking Darlene for pics of the whole table, and add those too.

It was super fun. If you do an exchange, I now know why. If you don’t, maybe you should try and organize one. Maybe I’ll ask Darlene to guest blog on how she does hers, if I have any interest from you…

Now, this photo is huge. Feel free to roam around and see all the detail you’ll ever need, and then find the bottom of it where you’ll find some thumbnails you can actually see!

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And now for pictures of more cookies from the exchange:

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See you tomorrow!

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6 Responses

  1. Hey Jaqueline, nice flooded cookies! You decorate like a pro. That platter full of cookies (I know from much experience) is a lot of work, I hope you received in kind.

    Christine from the Foodie File,

    Get answers to all of your baking dilemmas:
    Dec 6 / 9am – 11am on Canadian Living Forum

  2. THOSE COOKIES ARE AMAZING. Jackie, last year my Mom didn’t want to have hers because it was so pretty. Much too gorgeous to eat she said. (In the end though, she DID eat it.)
    ♥

  3. Thank you so much! Can’t get much better than a compliment from you about food—and they do take a lot of time, but it is like therapy for me, both the making of them and the giving, since they taste as good as they look. And I did get fabulous stuff back, including skor bars, which I cannot make because the kids and I always open that bag of skor bits in the car for a taste on the way home from the store, and there has never been enough left to cook with!

  4. All I have to say is MMMMM, those cookies look delish and so pretty, too!

  5. I am always a little in awe of people who can make sugar cookies … any cookie that requires rolling out the dough so that it can be cut out before baking is not even given a chance in my house (I can’t roll out dough properly nor can I decorate the cookies that may survive the process correctly) … loved seeing the tray & thought WOW those look great wish I knew how to make cookies like that … but then realized they fall into the never zone for my kitchen 🙂

  6. Ahh! now the true test..how quickly can I get everyone the recipes from the cookie exchange…so many recipes so little time! I think I’ve gain 1/2 inch in my hips….oh well tis’ the season right?

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