Saturday, January 14, 2012

C is for Cookie

A few years ago, I read a wonderful book about a group of women who get together each year to exchange cookies and recipes for their favorite Christmastime treats. The book, The Christmas Cookie Club, by Ann Pearlman, made me want to start my own club. I love cookies, and the holiday season is probably my favorite time of year, so it seemed like a perfect combination for me. Somehow, though, I never got around to organizing one... until 2011.

Although I held the party late (December 30th, 2011), I figured it was still close enough to New Year's to really count as a holiday celebration. It also gave me a chance to wear the sweater my mother-in-law, Sheila, got me for Christmas. I think this green moss sweater, from Ann Taylor Loft, really helps the blue in my eyes stand out. Actress Zoe Saldana (Avatar) likes this sweater, too. She was spotted in the exact same style earlier that month. Here is a picture of me wearing the sweater, and posing with my sisters, on the day of the party. (I look exhausted because I had to work earlier that day, and I had been up late the night before baking.)

I really debated about what cookie to make for the party. I thought I might make Pecan Sandies, the cookies my mom has made every Christmas for as long as I can remember. We actually baked them together the weekend before Christmas this year, and they turned out wonderfully (and are so easy to make, too). Whenever I bite into one, it's like I'm biting into a piece of my childhood. And they are so delicious! However, the Sandies are covered in powdered sugar. I brought some to work, and all week you would find a dusting of powdered sugar on the floor, on desks, on the carpeting... I decided they might not be the best choice for a party.

I thought I might do a chocolate chip cookie, or a chocolate chocolate chip cookie, but that seemed like too "vanilla" an option for the cookie party. I love making Oatmeal Scotchies, but again... the recipe is right there on the butterscotch chips package. I wanted to do something extraordinary to share with my friends.

I finally decided on these Oatmeal Cream Cheese Butterscotch Cookie Bars. I had flagged the recipe months before, but had never compiled all the ingredients and actually attempted to make them. One night, the week before the party, I got everything I would need to make them. The night before the party, I started actually making them... and reading through the recipe for the first time. I didn't realize I would have to bake in phases, and zest a lemon (I had no idea how... but I called my husband, who was out of town on a business trip, and he walked me through it), but it worked out.

Although the recipe took longer than I wanted to dedicate to baking that night, they came out so delicious. I have already made them again since the party, so I could bring some to work, and they went over well there as well. I think I found my new favorite butterscotch cookie recipe!

As my friend, Katie, also wrote on her baking blog, KT Kakes, everyone at the party brought so many unique cookies. There were several kinds of sugar cookies, ginger cookies, lemon wreaths, oreo cookies and much more. My sister, Laura, also made the Paula Deen recipe, Meemaw's Kitchen Sink Christmas Cookies (which really impressed me, as they seem quite complicated).

I kind of improvised on the set-up of the cookie sharing: I just made each person stand up, tell a little about the recipe and if it was at all special to them/ why they chose it, and then go around with her cookie platter so each person could sample the cookie. Although my dad wanted to come, I told him it was females only. I think it worked out ok, because everyone seemed to have fun enjoying the cookies. It was a great start to the New Year's weekend!