Holiday Ideas: How To Throw A Christmas Cookie Party

Tips and instructions provided to throw a Christmas Cookie Party along with a simple table centerpiece decoration recipe and instructions

When you throw a Christmas Cookie party, the concept is simple. Each guest brings a batch (or two) of homemade holiday cookies, or any of their favorite homemade cookies, along with several copies of the recipe to swap at the party.

The first step is to set your date. Keep in mind that you're dealing with heavy holiday calendars, so give your guests plenty of notice.

Once your date is set, get out the invitations. Decorate them with a cookie theme in mind to get everyone in the spirit of the game. Each guest should be asked to bring at least a dozen cookies per invited guest. Ask your invitees to RSVP early so you can supply them with the correct cookie count. As an example, if you have invited six guests, each one should arrive with six dozen cookies. It sounds like a lot of baking, but since a standard cookie recipe can yield 3-4 dozen cookies, the baker shouldn't feel overwhelmed at the task.

Don't try to limit your guests to only holiday cookies; all cookie recipes should be accepted. One of the ideas of the party is to give each guest a sample of the different recipes that can be created and still be called a "cookie". Bar cookies, for example, would be just fine, as would a pizza cookie or tray cookie. As long as the finished product produces enough cookies or sample pieces per guest, it's fine.

Each guest should display their cookie contributions on trays and bring enough copies of the recipe for each person in attendance. Once the party begins, allow your guests to taste and help themselves to a good sampling of cookies. You may even want to include a contest to determine the "best cookie" or "most elaborate cookie" or even "most outlandish cookie".

Decorate your party table with cookies in mind. Small holiday bowls of simple cookie ingredients spread around the table will add a festive flavor to the air. A nice cookie-themed centerpiece will really set the table up in glamour. Here's a simple idea that will create a dramatic effect:

Holiday Sugar Cookie Tree

To create a Holiday Sugar Cookie Tree for your centerpiece, a quick trip to the craft store may be needed. Purchase a star cookie cutter set with five sizes, the largest being approximately 7" or create five different star templates: 7", 6", 5", 4" and 3" in size.

Begin by making the cookie dough with the following ingredients:

2/3 cup unsalted butter or margarine

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and milk, beating until well blended. Beat in the egg.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture at a low speed until well blended. Place the dough in a plastic container and cover tightly. Place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and split in half. Roll out half the dough at a time on a floured surface to approximately 1/8" thickness. Cut three stars with the 3" cutter (or template), then two each of the other four sizes.

Bake the cookies in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until set. Remove immediately onto wire racks to cool.

Frosting:

½ cup unsalted butter

1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

green food coloring

Beat the butter, sugar and milk together in a small bowl until well blended. Add the vanilla and enough drops of green food coloring to give you a nice tree color. Frost the cooled cookies on the top, sides and bottom of the cookies. Let the frosting set up firm on the cookies before assembling.

To assemble the tree, begin with the 7" stars. Lay one on the tray and dob a bit of frosting in the center of the cookie. Lay on the second 7" star cookie rotated slightly so the star tips are staggered. Continue assembling with the 6", 5", 4" and two of the 3" cookies. The third 3" cookie should be placed so it stands upright on top of the tree.

Decorate the tree with an assortment of Holiday M&M's, edible gold or silver filagrees or any decoration of your choosing.

Tips:

Play some soft holiday music in the background and consider serving a hot apple cider with the addition of cloves and cinnamon sticks for a simple holiday punch.

Use cake stands or small and medium wrapped packages on your cookie table to create varying heights of display area to allow the different cookies to be shown off in a staggered style.

Plan your party in the afternoon to give your guests plenty of last minute baking time.

Ask your guests to put their recipes on index cards, then purchase a hole punch and pretty ribbon and your guests can create their own mini-cookbook from the index card recipes to take home.

© High Speed Ventures 2011