Now that I have my house, I’m eager to start all kinds of annual traditions. My Halloween party was a big hit, and now that I’ve done all the planning, I can just copy it for next year’s bash. (Just like I do with my Thanksgiving Excel!) And after being inspired by my friends Blake and JP when they threw an amazing Christmas extravaganza last year, I knew that I wanted to host some sort of holiday party at my house… but I also didn’t really have many nights to work with. My solution was actually copying another friend, Theodora, in her holiday tradition: an afternoon cookie swap.
I invited people to come over for an open house-style event starting at 2pm, and asked them to bring a few dozen cookies. I looked up rules for cookie swaps online and found this website, which is insane, but great for a laugh if you want to read about someone even more anal than I am 🙂 I went with the simpler approach and didn’t specify any rules beyond “must bring baked treats” (or no-bake treats, as the case may be).
A strict cookie swap means you eat nothing and just box up all the goodies. No, thanks! I decided that people should sample as many cookies as they wanted, and then we’d box up whatever was left over to take home. I was worried that we’d all get sick of sugar pretty quickly, so I also put together a fairly simple menu of tortellini salad, honey barbecue meatballs, bruschetta, and spinach dip. Honestly, I started prepping for the party far too late after my company holiday party the night before, so I was really glad to have Adam help me host. We ended up dividing the cooking so that he took care of all the sweets while I made all the savories.
“My” cookies (that Adam made) were made quite simpler by the fact that Krusteaz had sent me some easy boxed cookie mixes, along with a packet of inspiration recipes. I ended up having Adam made the snickerdoodles and oatmeal scotchies almost exactly as-is, but for the shortbread cookies, we gussied them up with a thumbprint on the top and a dollop of cranberry sauce. Fun and festive!
The above picture shows you the bounty of treats at the table, and that was probably only half of what was eventually brought, since people were trickling in all afternoon. And to be clear, I had fully anticipated a lot of delicious cookies that would probably not be so great for my waistline… particularly since I was absolutely planning to try them all! So one change I also forced Adam to make was regarding the addition of butter to the mix.
Cookies are totally a treat and I don’t see the need for them to be completely healthy… but that also doesn’t mean you have to go overboard making them unhealthy. After reading this Pop Sugar article on how to replace butter when baking, we substituted Greek yogurt for half the butter in each recipe. It worked like a charm! The cookies came out perfectly delicious and you would never have known that they were a bit healthier than the norm. That’s perfect when I’m eating a dozen of them in one sitting 😉
Krusteaz has generously offered to send one lucky reader a huge prize pack of the following:
- Two boxes of each of the following mixes: Shortbread, Gingerbread, Snickerdoodle, Butter Vanilla Sugar and Oatmeal Scotchie
2. Some fun holiday baking items like an apron, tote bag, cookie cutters, frosting decorating pen and a mason jar
3. Holiday cookie recipe ideas for inspiration
To enter, leave a comment telling me your favorite kind of cookie, and log that in the Rafflecopter widget below (if you’re reading this in Feedly/Bloglovin’/email, you’ll need to click through to enter). The contest will run through next Monday December 28 at 11:59pm MT, at which time a winner will be chosen by random drawing and contacted by email. And for those who aren’t the lucky winner (or just want to try Krusteaz Cookie Mix sooner), you can click here to print a coupon to save $1 on your next purchase.
Thanks to Krusteaz for providing these mixes that made it easy for me to host such a wonderful event for my friends and neighbors – we had a wonderful time!
Note: Krusteaz provided me with product samples and a promotional item in exchange for this post. However, all opinions expressed in this review are honestly my own 🙂