For as long as I can remember, my family’s Christmas season officially started with cookies. Before we were even tall enough to reach the countertop, my mom would pull over kitchen chairs so my sister and I could “help” out and get our hands in the flour. She would get out the baking sheets, the ingredients, and the flour-dusted recipes that were reserved only for the holiday season. We’d bake batch after batch after batch, eating more cookie dough than actual cookies.
This year, to kick off our holiday season, I created a little cookie & cocktail party taking inspiration from my family cookie memories. And we’ve partnered with Crate and Barrel to share a few cocktail and cookie recipe ideas and tips to create a sweet gathering of your own.
Create your Cookie Swap:
After a quick google search, I’ve learned that some people have some pretty serious Cookie Swap rules. I personally don’t think rules and parties go together so here are just some of my tips to help get you started:
– Invite some friends who have a big sweet tooth. There’s no calorie counting at this party! The more people you invite, the more cookie varieties you’ll have.
– Ask each person to bring one batch (about 2 dozen) homemade cookies and a tin or storage container to take cookies home in.
– Make a fun & festive cocktail but I like to keep it simple. I made a Blood Orange and Bourbon Cocktail with a sprig of rosemary.
– Set up platters for guests to place their cookies so everyone can share cookies and swap recipes.
My mom and I spent an afternoon baking some of our family favorites: this Spritz cookie is my family’s signature cookie. It’s a light buttery cookie flavored with sweet almond extract. Create fun shapes using a Cookie Press – the poinsettia flower shape was always our favorite. We also made vegan sugar cookies, pistachio truffles (which are also vegan), and pecan turtle bars.
And don’t forget some cookies for the dogs – ours are always looking for handouts!
pictured: Peppermint Bark Dog Treats
- 1 cup Earth Balance vegan margarine, at room temp
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- With an electric mixer, beat margarine until creamy. Mix in powdered sugar until creamy, and then add almond milk, vanilla and almond extract. Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until blended. Spoon dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap dough and refrigerate at least two hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each half to ¼ inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes.
- Bake 7 to 8 minutes. Let cool and frost (optional).
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
- a squeeze of orange, plus an orange slice for garnish
- rosemary sprig, for garnish
- Fill a tumbler glass with ice. Pour the bourbon, bitters, orange juice and stir. Add an orange slice and a sprig of rosemary and stir.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2¼ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- colored sanding sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and set aside 2 ungreased baking sheets.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the egg and almond extract and mix until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.
- Spoon dough into a cookie press and follow the instructions on the press to create shaped cookies. If the dough becomes too sticky, chill it in the fridge to firm up.
- Sprinkle cookies with sanding sugar and bake 8-10 minutes.
This post was created in partnership with Crate & Barrel. All words, opinions and images are my own.