Christmas Cookie Exchange With Wine Pairing
It’s hard to think about the holidays and NOT think about all of the delicious seasonal cookies and treats. When you scour Pinterest alone you see tons of Christmas cookie recipes….but who has time to bake all of them? This is where a Christmas Cookie Exchange with a wine pairing (cookie and wine pairing…who knew?) came to life!
I have been to a couple of different cookie swaps, but it has been a VERY long time ago. The decision was made to host my own holiday cookie exchange, but I wanted to make it a little different. Holding the party at the beginning of December was important to me as I wanted to plan a casual night for my friends before heading into the hectic season. This allowed for some great girl time and hopefully some ideas for each of them of cookies they may want to recreate throughout the month.
What is a Cookie Exchange/Swap? ~
Getting technical, cookie swaps date back to the 17th Century. Alexandra Simon wrote an interesting article, The History of Christmas Cookie Swaps Explained for Grunge.com. It’s a pretty short but fun read all about Cookie Swaps…even down to the “official date” being December 22, according to National Today.
Basically, you ask all of your guests to make a designated number of cookies to bring to the party. Everyone then takes a certain number of each person’s cookies and creates their own variety of treats to take home and enjoy with their friends and family. You can ask them to bring their own plate/platter to transport their cookies home or you can provide a “to go” box for them. I found fun little tins with holiday themed lids.
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Cute little cardboard boxes with attached lid is also another fun idea:
Cookie & Wine Pairing? ~
As I said earlier, who knew…am I right? I’m going to be brutally honest here and tell you I am no where near being a “wine snob.” Nothing against those that are….I just enjoy wine from a bottle or a box… My friends already know this about me and love me anyway!
However, there is such a thing as what wines pair best with what different types of cookies. It was fun to do a little research to find the right wine. Everyone enjoyed discussing what they had discovered. Some even chose other types of spirited and non-spirited drinks to share. All in all, we all tried some new drinks!
The Invitation ~
It was intended to be a pretty casual event all the way around….from the planning to the hosting. An invitation was put together on Canva, and I dropped them off to my local friends and sent pictures of the invite via text to those that live further away. Obviously, they can be mailed and be as extravagant as you wish…I just wanted it to be pretty low key and relaxing.
Cookie exchanges vary vastly from number of cookies requested from each person. The amount chosen our little gathering was 2 – 3 dozen. I had 10 to 12 girls coming, which allowed for each person to take from 2-6 cookies of each. I arrived at this number knowing the amounts brought would vary…as well as the amounts being taken home.
While the focus of the gathering was on cookies and wine, we had to add in some festive appetizers as well. The Christmas tree cheeseball was a huge hit! Seriously, Lauren outdid herself on this one!
We also served Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese, Chilled Spinach Dip and Crab Dip Rangoon…yum!
The Cookies ~
There was quite the assortment of cookies and treats. Some were homemade, some store bought, some bakery bought and some used premade dough but fancied them up. This, my friends, was perfect! As I keep saying, it was meant to be low key and fun! I wanted no one to stress and we all have very different schedules. It also showed us that we have so many diffent options when needing to bring treats to a holiday gathering!
Christmas Sugar Cookies ~
|For the Cookies:
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
|For the Icing:2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt5
1 tsp. Vanilla
4 Tbsp. Margarine
3 Tbsp. Milk
For the Cookies:
Preheat oven to 350º.
Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla extract, almond extract and eggs (one at a time) to the butter/sugar mixture.
Combine the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, mix and slowly add to the butter mixture. Mix until moistened.
Refrigerate dough for 2 – 3 hours. Once chilled, drop ping-pong sized balls onto parchment-lined (or greased) cookie sheet. Do not flatten.
Bake approximately 8 minutes (or until the edges just begin to brown).
Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for a minute and then transfer to cooling racks to fully cool. Once cookies are fully cooled, ice with the icing recipe included.
For the Icing:
Cream margarine, salt and vanilla together until well combined. Add powdered sugar incrementally. Slowly add milk and food coloring. Icing will look water/runny, but will thicken once cooled.
Number Of Servings: 4 dozen
Personal Notes: These pair well with a nice glass of Pinot Noir!
Monster Cookies ~
|1 lb Brown Sugar
2 C White Sugar
24 oz Peanut Butter
4 T Baking Soda
|1/2 lb Butter (melted)
1/2 lb Plain M & M’s
1/2 lb Chocolate Chips
2 T Vanilla
8 C Rolled Oats (instant)
Mix sugar, eggs & vanilla. Gradually blend in oats and remaining ingredients.
Bake @ 350º for approximately 12 minutes.
Chinese Chews ~
|1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla
|1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
Mix butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and flour. Press into 10 X 10 inch pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350º.
Mix 1 cup brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, baking powder, coconut and nuts. Spread this mixture over the crust and bake again for 20 minutes at 350º.
Cut into squares while warm and roll in powdered sugar.
Christmas Sprinkle Cookies ~
Slice and bake cookies were baked and colorful red and green sugar crystals were added after baking!
Iced Christmas Cookies ~
These gorgeous cookies were bought from a local bakery. Not only were they beautiful, but they were also delicious. It’s always a win win to support local small businesses!
Gooey Butter Cookies ~
|1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
|1 box white cake mix
1/2 cup sprinkles, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350º.
Cream together the butter and the cream cheese. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until combined.
Beat in the cake mix until well blended.
Sitr in 1/4 cup of the sprinkles.
Refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet (or line with parchment paper). Scoop out rounded tablespoons of dough and roll into a 1″ ball. Coat the ball with sprinkles then roll in powdered sugar until completely covered.
Place about 2″ apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Then allow to sit on the sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Nestle’s Famous Fudge ~
|1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) Nesltle Carnation Evaporated Milk
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
|1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil.
Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantlty for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in morsels and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute until morsels are melted. Pour into prepared baking pan; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into 48 pieces.
For Milk Chocolate Fudge: Substitute 1 3/4 cups (11.5 ounce package) Nestle Toll House Milk Chocolate Morsels for Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels.
For Butterschotch Fudge: Substitute 1 2/3 cups (11 ounce package) Nestle Toll House Butterscotch Flavored Morsels for Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels.
For Peanutty Chocolate Fudge: Substitute 1 2/3 cups (11 ounce package) Nestle Toll House Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate Morsels for Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels and 1/2 cup chopped peanuts for pecans or walnuts.
This pairs well with a chilled glass of Sparkling Cider!
Cranberry Shortbread Bars ~
|2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
|4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
12 oz (3 cups) fresh cranberries
Preheat oven to 350º.
Greast a 9 X 13 pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
Cream butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
Add in vanilla and salt and beat until well combined.
Slowly add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition (dough will be thick).
Press 2/3 of prepared dough into bottom of 9 X 13 pan making sure to press 1 inch up the sides as well.
Sprinkle cranberries over the top of the dough, making an even layer.
Add chopped pecans to the remaining dough and sprinkle in chunks of remaining dough over pecans, leaving some of the cranberry layer visible.
Bake for 45 minutes until edges are golden brown.
Spiced Rum Slice & Bake ~
|2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmetg
3/4 cup salted butter OR Crisco butter stick
1 cup powdered sugar (divided – 1/4 for the dough & 3/4 for powdering after baking)
1/4 cup spiced run
|2 tsp. vanilla extract
For Topping after baking:
1 cup crushed peppermints
Beat the butter and powdered sugar until creamy (about 2 to 3 minutes)
Add vanilla and rum and mix lightly.
Add flour and spices. Mix until dough is well combined.
Roll the dough into a log shape, about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours (or place in freezer for 30 minutes).
Preheat oven to 350º.
Slice refrigerated dough into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place on cookie sheet 1″ apart.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Coat baked cookies in powdered sugar while warm and top with crushed peppermints. Doing this warm, helps the powdered sugar and mints to adhere better to the cookie.
Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms ~
|1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. red GEL food coloring
|3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup red sanding sugar
1 bag Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 375º.
Mix butter, peanut butter and sugar in a stand mixer (or with hand mixer) on medium for about 2 minutes.
Turn mixer to low and add egg, milk, vanilla, and red gel food coloring. Mix for about 30 seconds, then turn mixer to medium-high and blend until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, sift cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture and beat on low until just combined.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Set on a parchment lined (or greased) baking sheet.
Roll dough ball in sanding sugar and place on prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. If you prefer them chewy, chill for 10 minutes in freezer before baking.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
While baking, unwrap Hersey’s Kisses. Once cookies are done, removed from oven and immediately press a chocolate Kiss into the center of each cookie.
Peppermint Oreo Cookies ~
|1 Box White Cake Mix
8 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 Large Egg
1/2 tsp. Peppermint Extract
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
|4 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
1 Cup Oreo Cookie Chunks
1 Cup Andes Peppermint Crunch Pieces + Extra
1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips + Extra
Preheat oven to 350º.
Combine the cake mix, butter, egg, extracts, and cream cheese. Mix until a soft dough forms.
Stir in the cookie chunks, peppermint crunch pieces and chocolate chips gently. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour (the longer the better). The dough should not stick to your hands when you roll it.
Scoop or roll dough into 24 balls. Place 12 balls on prepared baking sheet, placing others refrigerator until ready to bake.
Bake for 10-11 minutes. Do not over bake. The cookies will be very soft and look undone when you first take them out.
Let the cookies sit on the hot cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes, then gently remove to parchment or wax paper.
Press extra chocolate chips or peppermint pieces into the tops of the hot cookies. Let them sit until completely cooled.
Pairs well with a nice glass of Cabernet!
Sharing of Recipes ~
Most cookie exchanges ask you to bring a designated number of recipes to share with everyone at the party. I, too, asked this, but then decided I wanted to also create a fun cookbook for everyone. I use an awesome company, Family Cookbook Project to create cookbooks. They truly make it so very easy to make all kinds of cookbooks. Last year, I made a book filled with some of Pappy’s favorite grilling recipes…Check out my Grilling With Pappy on the Penarve post here! Be sure to check them out to see just how easy it is!
Here’s the cover of the Christmas Cookie Exchange With Wine Pairings cookbook that I have put together. It includes all of the recipes I have shared above as well as some long time special holiday recipes I have collected. Be sure to subscribe to my blogpost to get a copy of my latest cookbook!
Happy Holidays & Happy Cooking to all of you my dear friends!