Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I want to hear about all of the fun things you did!
Our weekend was spent preparing for and hosting our annual Christmas cookie and craft beer exchange, which has become our favorite event of the year. The tradition started with just a few girlfriends when I was living in South Bend and keeps getting bigger and bigger every year. It’s a great way to unwind and spend time with friends during the hectic holiday season.
Here’s how it works: everyone brings either a six-pack of craft beer or a dozen cookies to share. We spend the night sampling everyone’s creations and the person who baked the crowd favorite takes home a small prize.
We stocked our fridge with a variety of my dad’s homebrew, New Belgium and Upland beers before everyone arrived. We also got a growler of Krampus from Bloomington Brewing Company, which is our favorite seasonal beer. We had to make a beer run halfway through the party last year, so we wanted to make sure we had more than enough beer in case most guests decided to bring cookies. But, most people actually brought both! We still have dozens of beers in our fridge leftover from the party. Luckily, there’s no such thing as too much beer.
I made Doubletree cookies, Oreo truffles, pretzel cookies and almond cut-out cookies for the party. I also put out a cheese plate and some salty snacks to help balance out all of the sugar. That table quickly became covered in cookies when guests arrived. I think we’re going to need a bigger one for next year’s party!
There seriously wasn’t enough room for all of the delicious cookies people brought. What’s so fun about the party is somehow no two people ever bring the same cookies. We had everything from classic spritz cookies to ombre cookies. I only sampled a couple because I was so busy mingling — and I didn’t want an awful stomach ache this morning.
There were lots of favorites, but our friend Stacy won the cookie competition this year. She brought two kinds that were delicious, but the salted caramel cookies were the biggest hit. I also loved the coffee cheesecake tartlets and Snickers-stuffed snickerdoodles other friends brought. We tried to send everyone off with bags of cookies, but we still somehow ended up with the majority of the leftovers. I threw them in the freezer so we won’t be tempted to eat ourselves into cookie comas!
The party was an absolute blast and I’m kind of sad it’s already over. It’s become one of our favorite holiday traditions and it was especially fun being able to throw it in a home of our own this year. I’m already dreaming up cookie recipes for next year’s party!
What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Chime in by posting a comment below!