5th Annual Cookie and Tree Trimming Party

December 6th, 2011 · 14 Comments

Amy, Raiden, Loden, Joanna, Kate, Abby, Jill, Kristin, Rachelle, Marlena, Stephanie, Jessica, Jen, Sara, Mom, Suzy

On Saturday I hosted my annual cookie and tree trimming party. As was the case for several of the past years, the Roundarch holiday party was the night before. Luckily, this time I really watched myself at that party to make sure I didn’t drink too much and to make sure I got some sleep. There was one disaster year, for sure, when I didn’t do these things and then hosted 20+ people the next day. Not easy!

Dallas with friends he has seen: Jen & Kristin

Dallas was not so smart and this year he didn’t make it out of the house before everyone arrived. Which, actually, was good because he got to visit with some of the ladies that he hadn’t seen for a while. Before he left, we had him take the photo of everyone. The only ones missing are Jessica, Ashley and Lisa.

Christmas decorations

Ashley & Loden

Lisa, Rachelle, Kate, Sara

This year there were several cookie party newbs, so that was fun. The people who’d been to my party several years in a row helped them along, though. Put out your cookies, label them, EAT! Also, this year only one baby: Raiden. He’s so cute!


To counterbalance all of the sweets, I also served dill dip with vegetables, beer dip with pretzels, olives and pickles. I’ll share the beer dip recipe later. If you’re interested in the dill dip, it’s here. As always, we also had hot apple cider (spiked or not) which Stephanie made and kept stocked. Don’t you love it when they’re old enough to assign tasks? I’m still using Julene’s Chicagoist recipe for the cider!


Do we look taller? Older?

These were all the tasty treats we sampled:

Creme de Menthe Brownies (Jen)
Carousel Cookies with Strawberry or Apricot Preserve (Jill)
Chocolate Waffles (Stephanie & Jessica)
Chocolate “Crackers” (Abby)
Gingerbread with Brie & Cranberry (Joanna)
Fudge Mallows (Rachelle)
Apple Pie Bars (Jessica)
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (Kate)
Raspberry Jam Bars (Kristin)
Cake Batter Truffles (Loden)
Dulce de Leche, Bacon, Coconut & Chocolate Magic Bars (Rachelle)
Poppy Raspberry Kolaches (Ashley)
Ritzy Rounds (Sara)
Drunken Balls with cocoa & Bailey’s or coconut & rum (Marlena)
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies with chocolate kisses or chocolate caramel kisses (Amy)
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies (Mom)
Almond Bars (Suzy)
Sugared Cranberries (Suzy)

Everything was so delicious! And a new thing this year: Several cookies had savory elements – bacon? brie? ritz crackers? Yes, please. These are right up my ally.

Cookie Party!

Sometimes the cookie parties can get crazy if there are a lot of people, but most times I get a chance to relax and realize the time. For some reason this time the party just flew by! Before I knew it, someone told me they had to leave in 15 minutes, so I better get the show on the road… meaning, it had been a few hours and we needed to do the vote. So, I handed out the voting cards.. new and improved this year. Instead of ripped up pieces of construction paper, I actually designed cards, printed, and cut them out ahead of time (see here).

Loden, Cookie Victor

And how did it all come out? Unlike some years, this year every cookie was written down at least once, which was pretty amazing and showed how people’s tastes can vary so much. Everyone likes something different and everyone brings something different, which is so great. But there were four clear winners. In fourth place were Joanna’s Gingerbread with Brie & Cranberry Cookies. Placing third was Jess’s Apple Pie Bars. The runner up was my Dulce de Leche, Bacon, Coconut & Chocolate Magic Bars. This was the highest I ever placed! Actually, I think it was the first time I ever placed. Nice! And the winner is……… Loden’s Cake Batter Truffles! Congratulations, Loden. Breaking from tradition (the last 3 years I gave away Martha Stewart’s Cookie book), Loden won Rose’s Christmas Cookies. This book got great reviews online and when I bought a copy for myself I really liked it. Hope you like it, Loden!


Oh, also, Amanda couldn’t make it to the party this year (bummer!!), but she was the big winner last year. She won the Martha book and Jess and Steph made their chocolate waffles from that book for this year. Maybe a new tradition? Person who wins has to bring something from the book they win the following year?

Taking cookies to go! Sara, Marlena, Amy

I’m declaring the party a success again this year! I’ll post the recipes for the cookies soon!

Me & Mom

Oh, and P.S. one final note: My mom didn’t think she’d be able to make it to the cookie party for the first time ever. The weather forecast was terrible for Saturday and her car was getting repaired (she hit a deer). But on Friday, she got her car back and the weather was perfect, so she drove to my brother’s house that day and then drove down to Chicago on Saturday. The weather down here was not so bad. Some rain, that’s about it. I’m so glad that she was able to make it, since she’s such a big help at the parties! Handing out parking permits and getting everyone situated, not to mention leading the cleaning crew (of me and my nieces). She deserves a big shout out for making the the party a success every year!


Text much, Steph?

And I was so glad that even though Amanda had to work (bummer!!), my mom was still able to bring my nieces, Jessica and Stephanie, because it wouldn’t be the same without them! And who would decorate my Christmas tree if Jess wasn’t there?

Mom & Steph, and the decorated Christmas tree

Totally worth the sugar crash at the end of the day. Meanwhile, Jess was filling my camera with photos like this:


That kid has a lot of energy.

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14 Comments so far ↓

  • Mom

    wow ! The day ~flew~ by like you said, but what an awesome party !
    Thanks Rachelle, the bestest hostess ever!!!
    I had such a nice time!

  • Nan

    fun! can’t wait for the recipes! sorry we missed you. :(

  • Jake P

    I heard from Nat too late that this was going on and that she had some sort of conflict. I was bummed. Every year, we still make a pretzel/peanut butter/dipped chocolate creation that you made at your cookie part a few years ago.

    If Ritzy Rounds have Ritz Crackers in them, count me interested!

    • RachelleB

      That’s awesome, Jake! The Ritzy rounds do use Ritz Crackers… I posted the recipes today. Enjoy!

      • natalie

        For some reason, that weekend was really busy. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t come! We renamed those pretzel/PB/chocolate things “triple threats.” Feel free to trademark it.

  • Richard

    “Person who wins has to bring something from the book they win the following year? ”

    That’s what we said too. The chocowaffles were not Amanda’s though, that is what Steph and Jess wanted to make.

    • RachelleB

      Right. Mom was talking about you guys saying that. Loden agreed to do it next year. Did you sample the cookies they brought home? What did you like?

  • dad

    I liked the Dulce De Leche Bacon Coconut Magic Bars,Chooclate Waffles,White Chocolate Cranberry,and Carousal Cookies,It sounds like you all had a good time.

  • Julie

    I’m part of a cookie party/exchange next Friday at work. We each have to make 12 DOZEN! I’m making a mint chocolate chip cookie I think I saw posted here. Any tips how best to bake 12 dozen? Each batch makes about 36ish cookies, so I’ll need to make 4 batches at the minimum.

    • RachelleB

      12 dozen!??! holy smokes. We usually do a couple dozen. And I always still have tons of cookies left at the end of the day!

      • Julie

        Yep, the organizer wants it so each person gets a dozen of each type. Not that I, myself, need 100+ cookies to eat.

        • RachelleB

          Right. Let me know how that turns out. Sometimes I have to twist people’s arms just to get them to take a few of each home! Is the party a tasting party too? At my party we eat cookies the whole time, so I think by the end people are “cookied out” but they have to take them home anyway.

          • Julie

            Well, we’re doing it at work, so no fun cocktails, but I’m sure we’ll do a lot of eating. I’ll let you know how it goes next week.

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