Right before we kicked off our family progressive brunch, we held our annual Christmas Cookie Exchange. Everyone (as in my Mom, two aunts, Emi, and cousin's husband) brought three dozen cookies of various assortments.
The cookie exchange is one of my favorite annual holiday events. This one event most likely attributes to a few of my additional holiday pounds of Christmas chub. With the great assortment of cookies I can't help myself because I want to try them all. Every year everyone makes awesome cookies, but my aunt always goes above and beyond. She is a very talented baker and cook. For example one year she made this amazing gingerbread house and for those of you who remember she also made our wedding cake.
Look at the details! How can anyone compete with that?
What a spread! We had everything from pecan tarts to peanut butter cups, Russian teacakes, cupcakes, fudge and more!
My aunt made these amazing cookies. They were definitely the highlight of the spread. Not only did they look delicious and festive, but they tasted great as well. We each went through and selected cookies for ourselves, since it was an exchange after all. Holiday cookies can be a very valuable commodity, they can compliment your morning coffee, be a nice finishing touch to a heavy meal, used to bribe co-workers, as a gift for that friend you like, but don't want to spend money on, or a gift for that neighbor Buster and Mia bark at every morning, to helping one plump up for winter hibernation. See many uses.
Emi made her unique, sweet, and comforting sweet potato cupcakes with a cinnamon cream cheese topping. Definitely the perfect cupcake for a Holiday cookie exchange. Emi has been baking a lot recently so hopefully will do a blog post about these cupcakes soon.
My favorite of the exchange were my Mom's lemon bars. Probably the only "cookie" of the bunch that actually gets better with time. The crust crystalizes and hardens a little so that the bars have a crunchy sweet, frosted sugary shell that quickly gives way to the gooey sweet tartness of the lemon insides and the buttery flaky dough. Best cookie/bar ever. I'll be making these for the rest of my life.
Fun event with the family and something I hope to join in on in the future. Now I have to learn how to bake... Anyone have any favorite cookie recipes?