In 1978, when I was one year old, a family friend started hosting a Christmas cookie exchange. My mom attended that first year. The 12 ladies would each bake 13 dozen cookies, sharing a dozen on a plate that evening and taking home 12 dozen (one dozen of each variety) to enjoy for the holidays. Once I was old enough I would always wait up for my mom to arrive home after the annual party to see what treasures she was bringing home.
At some point the women stopped sharing plates of a dozen in favor of half dozen, requiring a mere 7 dozen cookies for the exchange (a dozen to eat that evening and 12 half dozens to swap). Once I was in college I started attending the party, tagging along with my mom (but she baked). Then there was a phase post-college that I lived alone and my mom and I each baked 7 dozen and attended as two separate participants. Now I'm the official participant, and my mom comes along with me.
I'm kinda fly by the seat of my pants and usually pick a recipe that I've never made before. I went one step further this year. I picked a recipe I'd never made, and then asked my husband to do the actual baking (while I sewed and played board games with the kids). He made two 13 x 9 pans which I cut into 48 cookies each. With the big mixer he was able to do it all at once as a double batch.
The recipe I chose is Easy Peanut Butter Bars from Midwest Living. I think they went together easily as advertised, but they could certainly be improved by the addition of some chocolate. ;-) I could see them crumbled over chocolate ice cream. With hot fudge. Mm. They came out pretty much looking like the ones in the picture on the recipe, though I cut them a little smaller. The bar itself has the consistency of a cake-like brownie. And some of the topping (peanuts and Reese's Pieces) were sacrificed in the cutting of the bars. I'd maybe smash them into the dough a bit more before baking if I made them again. Overall, tasty... but I'm hoping to end up with some delicious chocolate cookies in tomorrow night's swap.