Christmas Cookie Exchange
It’s that time of year, tasty treats abound. Parties are a constant and the Christmas cookie exchanges are being planned. This is a Christmas tradition that I absolutely love, of course, it is about sharing tasty food. What’s not to love! Friends, family, cookies and candy, sharing recipes and spending an evening enjoying it all over a steaming mug of hot chocolate or cider. Yum!
Let me guess, you have avoided such gatherings since your journey to be gluten-free. I agree, it was a struggle for my family during the holidays when we first started out, but it is possible. Why not host one of your own, a gluten-free party. Challenge your friends to come up with tasty treats that have no gluten, or perhaps no dairy, eggs or tree nuts. You might find some tasty new favorites in the process.
Living a gluten-free lifestyle is more a part of the main stream these days. It’s sad on one hand, but wonderful on the other. Products, ingredients, bakeries and recipes are readily available these days. The options for a tasty holiday party are everywhere, even in the regular grocery store there are tags on every isle marking the gluten-free or allergy-free options that are available. Most super markets around my home carry more and more food intolerance friendly products all the time. Let’s face it, it’s big business these days! That means huge selection and better prices for us!
So, how do you go about hosting a cookie exchange? Well, I say that since you are hosting, you should decide how you want it to look. There are many ways to do this, and none of them are wrong, as long as everyone leaves happy, having had a good time and of course with lots of tasty goodies to enjoy later. The parties I’ve attended have all been fun. Usually you are asked to bring two or three dozen cookies and you divide up the cookies according to the number of guests, plus have some to enjoy at the party itself. Easy, don’t you think?
Planning what cookies you’ll make is the hard part! Do you want traditional roll out sugar cookies like grandma used to make. I have a huge weakness for buttery sugar cookies, my favorite way is no frosting with just a bit of sugar sprinkles baked on, though I have been known to eat them plain right out of the oven with no embellishment whatsoever!
If sugar cookies are what you are craving, but you don’t want to roll out the dough, this is the recipe for you! Scoop out a bit of dough, place it on the cookie sheet and pres it down with a sugar coated glass. You could make balls out of the cookie dough and roll it in sugar, then squish them down with a glass or cookie press. Simple and so tasty.
Perhaps a drop cookie is more to your liking? Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies are perfect for this time of year. Pumpkin is just so amazingly tasty just about any way you serve it! If you don’t want to use chocolate chips in these cookies, try some of those fun cinnamon chips or even a white chocolate chip. If you want to avoid “chips” all together, try dried cranberries or raisins. For a more festive or elegant look, dip the cookies half way in chocolate.
Who doesn’t love Christmas candy? There is just something special about homemade Christmas candy. For me, it brings back memories of spending time with my grandmother in her kitchen making fudge and special treats that were only enjoyed this time of year. A couple of years ago I tried my hand at making homemade marshmallows, they were a huge hit with my friends and family. Now they are tradition!
Another favorite candy in my house this time of year is called Avalanche Bark. This was actually given to me years ago as a thank you gift from someone at church. Thankfully, the recipe was also included with the package of candy. It’s another candy that has become tradition for my family, my kids ask for it every year.
It just wouldn’t be the Christmas season without Gingerbread Cookies or a Gingerbread House. While I don’t love gingerbread cookies to eat, I love the smell and the look of them. I know I’m nuts, but that’s just how it goes. Building gingerbread houses has also become tradition in my home, it’s an addicting art, to be sure!
A cookie with a bit of elegance might be a better choice for you. These Italian Sandwich Cookies take a bit more time, but they are so worth it. The flavor and texture are perfect, crispy chocolate with the hint of orange. What could be better?
Does that give you a few tasty treat ideas to try? Enjoy baking this Christmas season. Share with family and friends a plate full of goodies, even if you aren’t attending or hosting a cookie exchange. Bless someone, make their day a bit brighter. This time of year can be so stressful, sometimes I just have to take a step back and make a tasty treat to share. Therapy, of sorts, for a foodie like me.