Friday, December 18, 2015

Hosting a Holiday Cookie Party

Baking is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season, but I struggle with self control with too many cookies around the house ;) This year I decided to host a cookie decorating brunch for a few friends instead of baking on my own, so we could all share in the cookie love.

We started with mimosas, coffee, and sweets from Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe that my friend S brought to share. Everything was delicious, but the apricot scone in particular was crazy good. For coffee, I am loving the dark roast from Lavazza and the gingerbread flavor from Trader Joe's right now.

I made two quiches and a frittata - Julia Child's recipe for Quiche Lorraine and the Vegetarian Times magazine recipe for a Mushroom and Spinach Quiche. I may have burnt the crust on the Julia Child quiche {shh} but we still ate it, so the filling must have been decent! I loved the Mushroom and Spinach Quiche recipe - I used smoked gouda instead of Gruyere cheese and it was delicious.

 I also made a version of my Rosemary Roasted Vegetables as a side dish, substituting potatoes for winter vegetables - I used red potatoes, sweet potatoes and purple Stokes sweet potatoes.

I think the best thing you can do when hosting a cookie decorating party is make the cookies in advance. I made two different cookies - Spice Cookie Cutouts from Good Housekeeping and The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies from allrecipes. I made the dough for both the night before baking, and refrigerated it overnight. However - I do NOT recommend refrigerating the Spice Cookie Cutout dough in advance! It doesn't need it, and I actually barely salvaged the incredibly hard dough the next morning. The Rolled Sugar Cookie recipe works really well refrigerated overnight.

I picked up new cookie cutouts this year, including the cutest mini cookie shapes. I found cookie cutouts at The Container Store, World Market, and JoAnn Fabrics. Yes, the fabric store sells cookie decor! These are just a few of my favorites - the bow and snowflake cookie shapes are at the top of my list. I had grand plans to make cookies at least one day in advance, but I stayed out too late running Christmas errands. I ended up waking up up super early the morning of my brunch party and made all of the cookies before my friends came over.

The most important part of any cookie decorating is the frosting and cookie decor, right? I used a simple frosting recipe from The Kitchn - just milk, powdered sugar, and extract. I used almond extract instead of vanilla because I love almond flavor in cookies! Sprinkles, crushed candy canes, sugar shapes, and extra bags of cookie frosting rounded out the decor.

Decorating in-process...

And the finished products!

I think the cookies turned out beautifully. The more color and sprinkles, the better the cookie :) Even the mini cookies got plenty of toppings.

I asked friends to bring containers to take cookies home, so we all had a chance to share in our hard work. It was a lovely, festive morning!

Are you doing any holiday baking this year? If so, what's your favorite recipe?

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  1. How fun! We used to do a holiday cookie party each year with my cousins. Haven't done it in a long time. You've inspired me to start again! Thanks!

  2. What a yummy and fantastic way to get the family in the holiday spirit. Such fun!

  3. Wow, how much fun did you guys have?!? Your cookies turned out great! Enjoy the holidays :)

  4. How much fun did you have! Love the recipes and most especially the little cookies!

  5. You guys had so much fun! And some quality family time too!

  6. Love your cookies and your tips are surely handy! Thanks for this lovely post!

  7. What fun you had! You caught my attention with the apricot scones, then the quiche, tatters, cookies....I could go on and on - you know how to throw a cookie party, no doubt! Thanks for all of the great ideas!

  8. This is such a great idea! Cookie baking is so fun in a group. I love to invite my grandkids over and after all are done send most of the cookies home with them! Lots of fun and few cookies remain to tempt me!

  9. Oh my goodness that looks like an absolute hoot of a party! :D

  10. Seems like you had great time with your friends! This is a great idea for get together and thanks for the wonderful tips you shared. Very useful!