A Christmas cookie exchange party is the perfect excuse to get a group of girlfriends together during the busy holiday season. It’s more relaxed than the other holiday parties tend to be, and you don’t have to worry about finding the perfect gift. Plus it’s a great excuse to get in the kitchen, buy or use a special platter (like this one) and sample so many holiday cookies.
For some reason, parties tend to bring out my more creative side and that’s when one or two recipes that I’ve been hoarding all year long on Pinterest are decided upon.
This year those two recipes were Carmelitas and Andes mint cookies that my boys deemed Grinch Cookies. Don’t be fooled though, there is a completely different recipe for the latter.
First up are the Carmelitas. Of course when you are making a new recipe there’s going to inevitably be a snag or two. First of them being that none of the grocery stores in town had the exact caramels called for. So being in the adventurous mindset that I was I thought to myself “making homemade caramel shouldn’t be too hard”. Ha. HA! I was completely unprepared for how many different types there were: sauce, ganache, syrup. Okay, there aren’t really THAT many types but the amount of content available via google felt overwhelming. This is the recipe I ended up going with and maybe added a little more sea salt than was exactly called for. Regardless, they were a gooey, yummy hit at the party!
Next up at bat were the Andes Mint cookies. Here is where the second snag came in to play….. I accidentally put too much peppermint extract in the dough and had to start over. These were about a 3 on the difficulty scale so whipping up another, perfectly measured, batch wasn’t a big deal. Although, keeping my husband from eating them as they were being pulled out of the oven was!
This particular exchange was a brunch themed party and who can resist BRUNCH?! They even made candied bacon. CANDIED BACON PEOPLE! . The hosts, Jacey and her mom Holly, have become so incredibly dear to me over the past few months. They are so sweet and genuine down to the bone. As were all the other ladies that attended. We had a nice spread from gingerbread men to macarons, sugar to sour cream cookies and many more. Here are some pictures of the mouthwatering sweets!