aka why I’ve been in a sugar coma pretty much all week. #worthit
Hi friends! How are you? Happy almost-Friday! What do you have going on today? I’m excited to catch a yoga class later, and also enjoy some last-minute secret Christmas elf shopping. We had been holding off on our *big* gifts for the girls – we couldn’t decide, and didn’t want to do a playset since we’ll be moving in a year-ish – but finally made our decision. While spending time with the family is the best part of any holiday, I get a kick out of surprising the nuggets on Christmas morning.
There have been a lot of fun events going on lately, and a notable one was girls’ night this at our house: a little Cookie exchange.
Before we left San Diego last year, our friend Cam hosted the most amazing Cookie Exchange at her house. She had gorgeous gift stations set up throughout the house, and it was such a fun way to get together with friends and share a variety of sweet treats. I knew immediately that I wanted to host one in Valdosta, and was pumped that the timing worked out for so many friends, as a lot of people are traveling for the holidays.
Here’s how a cookie exchange works:
-Each guest brings around 3 dozen or so of their favorite cookies, so there’s a huge assortment of difference flavors and options
-You pack up a mix of all of the offerings to take home
These make perfect impromptu gifts (like when someone shows up with a gift for you that you were NOT expecting, you can easily reciprocate minus any awkwardness) or to freeze for Christmas morning. You bring out a tray of 15 different types of cookies and everyone thinks you were baking ALL WEEK. It’s brilliant, really.
I set up a little packaging station in the corner of the dining room – forgot to get a pic when it was totally set up. It was a photo finish getting everything set up and the food out before everyone arrived – with different types of cookie tins, boxes, tissue, bows, tags, etc.
And the most important part: cocktails + food.
On the menu:
Homemade sourdough bread with marinara dipping sauce (in the cast iron, I baked up some marinara with sliced mozzarella and torn basil)
maple-roasted carrot salad
baked shrimp scampi
an enormous cheese board
(+ a smaller version since I had so many ingredients)
and sourdough crackers. I can’t help but feel guilty every time I throw sourdough starter away (like, “I made you! I fed you! I took care of you! BYE” It’s just so wrong), but have found a great use for it in these crackers. The girls love them dipped in hummus or Ranch, and you can use any herbs or flavors you have on hand. We change up the flavors each week, and Liv had the genius idea to use the Trader Joe’s “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning. Just add 1 heaping tablespoon to this recipe. BOOM. The best crackers!
To drink, we had holiday spice sangria in the slow cooker, and chilling in the ice bucket: homemade egg nog (using the infamous recipe), Prosecco, and champagne.
The assortment of cookies was pretty insane!
Gingerbread, chocolate peanut butter, sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, truffles, mint chocolate… the list goes on and on.
Earlier in the week, Liv and I put on our baking pants to make these jam thumbprint cookies,
(they are excellent! Definitely a new tradition)
Mexican wedding cookies,
Julie’s Holiday Puppy Chow,
and almond butter truffles.
I froze everything so all I had to do was defrost a couple of hours before the party.
We had the best time snacking, packing up our cookies (I handed everyone a small tray and that’s how we transported the cookies we wanted to pack back to the table), and chatting until late with mulled wine and eggnog. It was a perfect bit of holiday cheer in the middle of the week!
So, tell me friends: are you baking this week? What’s your all-time favorite holiday cookie? I love Mexican wedding cookies because they make me feel all the Tucson feels.
What’s on the menu for your holiday festivities?
Here’s what I’m thinking so far:
Christmas Eve: steak, lobster, salad, baked potatoes
Christmas brunch: cinnamon rolls, Nana’s egg casserole with pico de gallo, fruit salad
Christmas dinner: poke bowls!
Have a great morning and I’ll see ya soon. Thanks for stopping by the blog today!
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