Margaret Rodgers filling her tin at the cookie exchange.
It is hard to believe that our annual holiday cookie exchange has been going on for 10 years! It all started because of some shows I saw that year on The Food Network, the cable TV network to which I was (and still am) hopelessly addicted. I’d never really heard of cookie exchanges, but it seemed like a swell idea. Guess what? It is!
Our cookie exchange involves about 25 people (so far, all women). Each person bakes six dozen cookies and they bring them on large platters to my condo. We have brunch and then pass out big cookie tins which each person proceeds to fill with various kinds of cookies. It’s a blast. I believe our husbands, boyfriends and children like this party even more than we do — because they get to eat the cookies!
We try to get everyone to tell me in advance what kind of cookies they plan to make so we can avoid duplicates. But this plan is only moderately successful. A lot of folks apparently don’t decide until the last minute what their contribution will be. That’s fine. It has a way of working out.
Anyway, here’s a quick look at our festivities last Sunday. I’d like to encourage you to start a cookie exchange, too. It’s great fun.
Mintha Roach arrives with her cookies.
Susan Brown doesn’t cook. But she volunteers to help me out by bartending. Trust me — this is an important contribution!
Dawn Ford was her assistant. Here, she’s mixing the Bloody Marys. Thanks, Dawn!
We spend a good hour or so socializing. Here are Judy Collins Griess, left, and Ranee Randby.
Christi Branscom, left, and Gay Lyons
Monique Anderson brought these beautiful star cookies — on a beautiful star platter.
Janet Testerman, a former caterer who now works for Scripps Networks Interactive — the parent company of The Food Network — was the only one who garnished her cookies! Aren’t these Tuscan rosemary and pine nut shortbread cookies stunning?
I lost track of who brought these filled cookies, but they were awesome.
Mickey Mallonee, left, and Sheena McCall
In addition to cookies, every year Tami Hartmann brings us these cute mice made of candy and cherries!
Often, Tami brings thumbprint cookies.
Shaun Fulco Hyver, left, and Kristin Grove
Shaun brought Cool Whip cookies. Very festive.
Kristin brought cinnamon spiced hot chocolate cookies.
Waiting for “showtime:” Sara Rose, left, Margie Nichols, center, and Annette Winston
Loved these cocktail napkins someone gave me last Christmas.
Carolyn Pointer Neil brought coconut pineapple snowflake cookies.
I’m not sure who brought these peppermint numbers, but they are very festive!
Sara Hedstrom Pinnell brought these dazzlers! She’s an artistic type — a landscape architect — and her cookies always look spectacular.
From left, Tami Hartmann, Sara Rose, Carolyn Pointer Neil and Judy Collins Griess
These are Dawn Ford’s holiday snowballs.
Phyllis Nichols, left, and Monique Anderson
Not sure who brought the meringues, but they were super.
Sheena’s orange cranberry pinwheels were outstanding.
This is peanut butter cookie bark. Not sure who brought that, but yum!
This dish called Company Breakfast Casserole was the main course when brunch was served. It came from Pinterest.
In addition to fruit and a salad, we also had these blueberry cheese rolls. Another Pinterest recipe.
Sara Hedstrom Pinnell, left, and Martha Buchanan finishing brunch.
It’s always Dawn’s job to explain “the rules!” Basically, she just gives the advice: separate your cookies into individual containers when you get home. Or the peanut butter, ginger and peppermint ones will give off their flavors to the other cookies. And the soft ones will make the crisp ones mushy. (That’s Tami Hartmann, left, and Ellen Robinson in the background.)
Christi, Monique and Judy were the first to hit the cookie table!
Carolyn and Mintha were not far behind. “They are like Black Friday shoppers!” someone exclaimed.
Ha! I love this picture! Judy gives Dawn a taste while Mintha applies herself to the task at hand.
Judy and Kristin
Tami chooses carefully.
Sara seems pleased with her haul!
Monique didn’t even wait to get home to break into hers!
Here’s the plate I made for Alan.
He liked it!