|Thanks to all for Baking it Forward!|
What started out 10 years ago as a way to save my sanity during the holidays, turned into an event that grew exponentially with each year. Hosting a Cookie Swap saved me from the 48 hour cookie baking blitz hangover for sure, and I was very pleasantly surprised by all the wonderful and delectable holiday cookies that my friends and family proudly brought to the party.
|Beautifully Packaged Cookies|
Year #2 grew to include the guys and even more snacks and holiday drinks, but this time, we added a Yankee Re-Gift Swap to mix things up. We've come to find out that there were always one or two gifts that were most desired as they served as a big source of amusement, and the game became a little cut-throat (in a friendly sort of way).
In Year #5, one or two of the gifts managed to reappear under our tree. The guest list grew and so did the small plates and libations. We always provide beer and wine, but sometimes include a signature cocktail such as a specialty martini, mimosa or homemade eggnog. This was the year that we started to include a prize for 'Best Cookie' which kept everyone on their best cookie baking game.
Year #6: It seemed unfulfilling that all of us enjoyed the event so much while there were others that were not so blessed with a home, family and friends, presents under the tree and food in their bellies. So that year, we started donating a tray of cookies to a charity of our choice. These donated trays were always welcomed and it made all of us feel the spirit of the season even more intensely.
You can see how my modest holiday party / cookie swap
|Herbed Goat Cheese Pinecones|
Cocktail Meatballs (at every event for the past 10 years)
1 lb hamburger
1/3 c breadcrumbs
2 T A-1 Steak Sauce
Combine all ingredients and shape into small meatballs. Brown under broiler in a cookie sheet lined with foil. Drain fat and add to large frying pan along with: 1 c A-! steak sauce, 4 T brown sugar and 6 T butter. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes and serve warm.
Sausalito Crab Dip
1 pkg. Knorr Leek Soup Mix
1.5 c sour cream
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t hot pepper sauce
2 cans lump crab meat, drained
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 c shredded Swiss cheese
1 T chopped fresh dill
Mix all ingredients together and chill for 2 hours. I like to hollow out a round pumpernickel bread and fill with dip. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and fresh rosemary to simulate holly.
Turkey and Stuffing Eggrolls
Left over chopped turkey meat
Left over stuffing
Left over mashed potatoes\
Combine first three ingredients and place a large tablespoon of mixture in bottom corner of eggroll wrapper. Brush opposite corner with a little water and roll up from the bottom, fold in sides and seal with top. Fry in shallow pan with canola oil and serve with hot gravy and / or cranberry sauce.
1 stick butter
1 lb. can Hershey's Syrup
1 c sugar
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 t vanilla
1 c chopped walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a prepared tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool, unmold and sprinkle with powdered sugar or chocolate glaze.