In the spirit of the holidays, McKenzie, a super mom, friend of mine hosted a cookie exchange party! A cookie exchange party is pretty simple and is exactly as it sounds. A bunch of ladies (or men, too, if you want-a lot of our men were disappointed they didn't get to come!) bring tons of cookies, eat them and exchange them! Simple as that. :)
We each brought a plate of cookies to enjoy for the night of talking, laughing and watching Elf. We also brought a plate with as many cookies on it as we wanted to take home. If you want to take home 30, you bring 30 to exchange. Get it? You probably got it at the first sentence with no explanation needed. It took a while for me to understand. I even did the math in my head, "Okay. If she brings 12 and I bring 20, then she takes 12 and I take 20, will we have enough cookies?" Ya..... I clearly needed more Starbucks that day or sleep. One of the two for sure. In the end all of that math didn't matter anyway, because we had heaps and heaps of cookies! No one went away hungry or cookie-less.
There were so many delicious varieties of cookies! Oatmeal and chocolate chip, peanut butter and Hershey kiss above.
These were great, light sandwich cookies. I have no idea what they're called but Kate, who brought them, grew up making and eating them every Christmas.
I made these Mexican Wedding Cookies. My goodness. I don't think I should have discovered them. They were incredibly easy to make and just so delicious. Crumbly, buttery, not to sweet and perfect with coffee.
Chocolate chip and oatmeal. These were probably one of my favorite cookies of the night. Simple yet delicious.
Parties like this are such treats for us Expats living overseas. There aren't many Christmas activities for most of us to take part in, so it's so nice when there are parties that help us get more in the Christmas spirit. Also, baking is not so easy or accessible overseas. Most of the ingredients used in these cookies were not ones we can easily get here. For example, chocolate chips, cocoa, powdered sugar and vanilla are available here but for very expensive and at really only 2 stores in Qingdao, that you have to travel to get to. Many of the ingredients were from things people bought and saved for something special the last time they were in the States or had to request for their loved ones to send it to them, like Andes mints, candy canes and peppermint extract. So, this night was a special occasion to all of us! Cookies with all these yummy "normal" ingredients are not the norm for us.
I was worried about eating so many cookies before I went because, of course, I wanted to be able to try them all, so Zachary, very sweetly, gave me a Ziploc bag and told me to just take one bite to try each cookies and save the rest for him. :) Smart guy. Solved a problem for his wife and gets cookies. ;