Many people have Cookie Exchange parties this time of year. My friends get together for more of a Cookie Throwdown -- heavy on the competition part of things and a little lighter on the warm-and-fuzzy exchange part of the evening.
Now, don't get me wrong...this is all in good fun and good spirits, I promise. Maybe we all just happen to be really competitive gals and this is our annual outlet for it? I can say it has become a great time over the years and a holiday tradition I genuinely look forward to.
I look forward to it so much so, that I got nervous it might not happen this year. We are hosted each year by one wonderful friend who became a first-time mommy this summer. She actually used the occasion of last year's Throwdown to announce her pregnancy. And while she is more than capable of doing it all, I had a worry about a month ago that maybe the Cookie Party (there, that's sounds a little sweeter than Throwdown, doesn't it?) would cease to be now that there was a baby in the house.
Thankfully, the party was still all systems go. Which then threw me into this dreadful time of year where I feel like I eat, sleep, breathe, and DREAM about cookie recipes. Where had I fallen short the year before?? What would the real "wow" factor be this year? What could I make that would be impressive and still not cause me to spend hours and hours in the kitchen?
I poured over my personal recipe collections. I asked friends for suggestions. I used my coworker/assistant to help me research recipes. (Employee of the year....that's me!) I even talked to Mr. Toothbrush about it -- thank goodness he's somewhat of a foodie so was intrigued by the cookie competition.
I finally settled on a Peppermint Brownie Bite -- a cookie/brownie hybrid with some peppermint buttercream frosting and decorative candy and chocolate drizzle topping. I thought that one had it all going on -- a different twist on a traditional cookie, a very holiday-ish appearance, buttercream frosting, and a chocolate drizzle. Because let's be honest, would a chocolate drizzle on top of anything make it worse?
Trouble with me is always budgeting enough time. I mean you don't want to make them too soon in advance, so I thought I would be safe with buying all of my ingredients the day before and then baking on the morning of the Party. That plan was wonderful except that my Safeway was out of the Peppermint Extract I needed for the frosting. I didn't have time to be running around to different grocery stores (had evening plans), but I also hated the thought of leaving another chore to do on Sunday morning.
So I texted Mr. Toothbrush to see in his culinary opinion if he thought I really needed it or if I could just skip it. I mean it was only a tablespoon of extract. And the crushed peppermints on top would make it still "minty." He told me to just go to the ABC store and buy a bottle of Rumple Minze. I think I safely managed to graduate college and lead a full adult life without EVER buying a bottle or Rumple Minze, but I took the suggestion and ran with it. Cause it was a heck of a lot better then a tablespoon of Scope mouthwash, which was the only other thing I could think of using as a replacement. And no fellow Cookie Party ladies, I likely would NOT have told you I had used Scope as my secret ingredient.
And you know what? The booze totally worked. I admit it turned my stomach a little to smell that liquor bright and early on a Sunday morning after a night out in Georgetown on Saturday...but I managed to hold it together.
Final products...one batch with crushed up peppermints
And another with just red sugar sprinkles.
I'll be back soon with Part 2 because I just know you are dying to find out who won...