…but it’s not going to be the alcohol that’s the problem…
My friend Kathleen is a renowned cookie baker. She has offered them up as rewards in fundraising campaigns, and people she works with have access to them as treats year-round. Tonight I found out more about the mad mastermind behind the holiday cookie-baking bonanza.
Last weekend was her annual baking bash (I hope to get to join in THAT fun next year) when she and a few friends baked 1,000 cookies of all types along with a few things like peppermint bark and fudge that are more properly categorized as candy, but let’s not split semantic hairs. Midweek she came up with a great idea – a half-dozen other lucky people and I were invited to partake tonight in a cookie tasting.
We sat down to get started as the sun was setting over a great view on one of those 80° days that makes the rest of the country wish they were Southern California. Our hostess explained that we would have several “courses”, each accompanied by a well-planned beverage pairing. The complete list is below the photo break. We started with Cranberry juice and champagne cocktail and a shortbread cookie with eggnog butter cream frosting dusted with nutmeg. It paired well with the champagne (but what doesn’t go with a glass of bubbly?).
We took a break midway through the affair for some palate-cleansing savories – I made my once-a-year chicken liver pate, based on a recipe from Bon Appetit from the 70s that had 1/2 a pound of butter to a pound of liver, an onion, an apple and some cognac. I’ve cut down the butter by more than half, but it’s still pretty rich. That, along with hummus, some gherkins, spicy bread and butter pickles and fabulous 3-cheese and roasted tomato bruschetta took the sugar edge off and we were ready to dive back in.
CHAMPAGNE AND CRANBERRY COCKTAIL
- Eggnog butter cream with nutmeg shortbread
- Chocolate dipped sugar cookie with dried apricot – the best black & white I’ve ever had
- Coconut macaroons
- Classic American chocolate chip made with butter flavored Crisco!
- Molasses spice – soft and yummy – frosted or unfrosted (I’m a purist and went unadorned)
HOT SPICED APPLE CIDER WITH CINNAMON SCHNAPPS FOR THE “BALL” COURSE
- Classic rum balls
- Coconut rum balls
- Orange nonalcoholic balls – with lots of zest!
- Spiced rum balls
- Fruitcake cookies
- Reindeer droppings (was my leg being pulled at this point – a cornflake butterscotch thingy)
- Peanut butter peanut butter chip
- Thumbprint cookie with jam
- A soft tart lemon cookie that was made with a secret ingredient that is hard to find in Southern California but can be imported from Wisconsin. Anyway it was a rocking good cookie.
COFFEE – with Bailey’s and any number of other additions – we’ve finally made it to dessert!
- Hidden kiss. Looks like a nun’s fart but it has a secret chocolate center
- Laura Bush’s Cowboy cookies – Way way better the George Bush’s art!
- Oatmeal craisin cookies
- Baileys Irish cream white fudge
- Peppermint bark
Well after the sun had fully set we were in kitchen packing ourselves bags to take home. There were no bad cookies in the bunch, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be the orange balls!
God bless us, EVERYONE! And to all a goodnight. Yes, I know I’m mixing my Christmas metaphors, but I’ve mixed my Christmas cookies pretty severely too!