One of my all-time favorite nights of the year...my annual Cookie Party! I've been hosting a holiday cookie party for almost 15 years now. The idea originally came from my ex-husband's mother who always hosted a Cookie Party for her neighbors but over the years I've evolved it a bit and made it my own. The funny thing is, as my website name suggests, I'm more of a Savory than Sweet girl. So while I love the cookies and the energy that my guests put into one-upping their cookies from the year before what I really look forward to is the cheese and meat. This year my guests pressured me into a formal vote for the tastiest and most creative cookies...we've never done that before so it added a new competitive element that I'm sure will drive the cookies to even greater heights next year!
Here are some photo highlights from this year's party, starting with the photo collage above. SavoryGirl's 2014 cookies! I always make 3-4 cookies for my party but typically 2 of them are old family traditional cookies. This year, however, I decided out with the old and in with the new and mad all new cookies! So I made Chocolate Pistachio Thumbprints with Chocolate Ganache which I thought were a delicious combination of salty sweet and while they look fancy they're actually quite easy to make. I also made Tahini Cookies rolled in black sesame seeds and demera sugar. I was pretty excited about the idea of these but they underwhelmed me in texture although others seemed to like them. Lastly I made Chai Spice Cookies which were divine...and they just happened to be gluten free too. These actually won the informal "tastiest cookie" award at the party so they're definitely a keeper. Super easy and really delicious!
Next up, Jacob and Chad's cookies...they had to go and match the host and bring 3 cookies! Love it. Jacob's Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies gave my Chai Spice Cookies a run for their money in the "tastiest cookie" contest. Don't worry...I'm working on getting the recipe! They also brought along BirdNests which you see in the middle there. These were quite yummy but really decadent so after a bite or two I was done! Their third cookie was a classic, buttery icebox cookie.
Next we have Louise and Edward's Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies...oh, lordy, lordy! The trick here, which they certainly followed, is using big chunks of high quality bacon. Like honestly, who really cares about the rest of the cookie as long as there's bacon? Delish.
My friend Katherine made a spice cookie rolled in powdered sugar...at first we thought they might be too similar to mine but these two cookies couldn't be more different. While mine had coconut undertones, chai spice and were super soft, Katherine's were phenomenal in a very different way. They had the more firm texture of Mexican Wedding Cookies (which I love) and spice notes of anise and all-spice. I really enjoyed these...so much so that I found myself eating three with my tea on Monday morning!
Bouchon Bakery is known for their TKO cookies...and these are those very cookies that my friend Laurent made. The cookie itself was quite delicious and while the filling ended up being thinner than he wanted (which after some research sounds to be a common issue with these cookies so beware if you're making them yourself) overall they were still very festive cookies to add to the mix!
Oh, Doreen's biscotti. I LOVE biscotti and I am so excited that I have leftovers of these to eat for days to come. While I'm typically not the biggest fan of candied fruit, these worked really well for me. For some reason I've always assumed biscotti is really hard to make but these have inspired me to maybe start making my own if Doreen will give me the recipe!
Last, but not least in the cookie highlight reel (although there were plenty more cookies! are my friend Jonathan's traditional British Scones with Cream and Jam. I know, I know...technically not a cookie but we'll give him a pass. He's British! And these were divine...almost refreshing. So yummy. And we all know how hard it is to find a good scone. His won the most creative award...which I guess make sense since a scone is a pretty "creative" spin on a cookie. Ok, ok...we're a bit lenient!
But wait...there's more! C'mon now...you know I think the best part of the cookie party is the excuse for me to buy fancy cheeses and meats to balance out all of the sugar! And this year I went crazy and made two cheese plates! We had La Tur, Beechers Flagship, Drunken Goat, Cambozola Black, Humboldt Fog, Tartuffo, Fat Bottom Girl, Bonne Bouche and a bit of Duck Liver Pate. For the charcuterie we had San Daniele Prosciutto, Bresaola and a trio of hard meats from Omaha Steaks. I wasn't so sure how I woud feel about frozen charcuterie but I have to say they far exceeded my expectations. The Elite Sampler had a Peppered Salame, Herb Salame and Chorizo and even the snobbiest of food snobs at my party were asking me where I got them!
So there you have it...SavoryGirl's 2014 Cookie Party was a raving success. Lots of great food, amazing friends, delish Apple Cider Cocktails, Hot Mulled Wine and other beverages, cheesy Christmas music and a great big Santa on a classic ugly Christmas Sweater! Big thanks to the man wearing that sweater, my friend Jonathan for taking all of these great pictures throughout the night. Happy Holidays everyone!