Tonight was my friend Linda's 41st annual cookie party. She's been hosting them every year since I was one. My mom has attended since the beginning. As a teen I remember waiting up for her to get home from the party to see (and taste!) what cookies everyone else made. I've been attending the party since college. It's a holiday tradition that I really enjoy.
The party consists of mostly the same familiar faces from year to year. We describe our cookie to the group, do a little craft project, play a gift exchange game with wrapped holiday ornaments we bring, and of course, taste the 12 varieties of cookies that were made by participants. This year we tasted first and voted on favorites.
When I decided to make Oreo balls, I didn't now how ridiculously easy they are to make. I just knew they were tasty. Basically, you pulverize Oreos (I used the food processor), mix with cream cheese, and form into balls. Then dip in melted chocolate. Voila! There's a little more to the technique. I used the recipe from Preppy Kitchen. I opted for semi-sweet chocolate for the dipping. and sprinkled a little Oreo dust on the outside. My daughter helped and I think she could make these solo. She has big plans to experiment with some variations with this type of cookie.
This year's cookies were a great variety and very tasty! Here's a glimpse of the rest of the cookies.
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.