Entries Tagged as 'martha stewarts cookies'

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.

4th Annual Cookie and Tree Trimming Party
3rd Annual Cookie and Tree Trimming Party
2nd Annual Cookie and Tree Trimming Party
1st Annual Cookie and Tree Trimming Party

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4th Annual Cookie and Tree Trimming Party

December 19th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Katie, Loden, Anne, Kristin, Jessica, Stephanie

Mom, Amanda, Jessica, Rachelle, Halle, Jill

On Saturday I hosted my annual cookie and tree trimming party. I had been in New York all week for work, and while I got back in time and took Friday off, it was still a lot to cram into one day to be ready for Saturday. Unlike the last few years, I was not hung over for the party, but I kind of felt like I was. I was really tired! Always something… ha.

Mom & Jess

Friends and family came over and each brought a few dozen cookies. We laid the cookies out on trays and sampled them over the course of a few hours. This year is kind of strange the way Christmas falls and it seems to have snuck up on everyone. That, and the fact that I held the party a little later on in December, made up for a smaller party than usual. I remember last year it was crazytown. This year was more relaxed. I actually tried every cookie and talked to every person. Both parties were fun. Just different.


To counterbalance all of the sweets, I also served dill dip with vegetables, pimento cheese, and a blue cheese with walnut spread. I’ll have some recipes for these at a later date. As always, we also had hot apple cider (spiked or not) which my mom and Jess were in charge of. I’m still using Julene’s Chicagoist recipe for the cider!



We passed the time talking and eating. Unlike last year, there were not many kids at the party this year. Just Jessica and Halle. Of course, everyone was cooing over Halle. She’s such a beautiful little girl and has such a great temperament. Jess spent most of her time behind the couch trimming the tree! Ha! She is shy and really into the tree, so she didn’t mind. Unlike last year when Jess and Tessa only decorated the tree up to the height they could reach, this year Jess got help and the tree is fully decorated up to the top.

Christmas Tree 2010

These were all the tasty cookies we sampled:

  • Rolo Cookies (Loden)
  • Christmas Stained Glass Cookies (Mary)
  • Holiday Bark (Jessica)
  • Chinese New Year Cookies (Anne)
  • Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps (Rachelle)
  • Reindeer Poop (Rachelle)
  • Classic Spritz Cookies (Katie)
  • 5 Layer Cookies (Kristin)
  • Jack & Ginger Cookies (Jill)
  • Red Velvet Cookies (Amanda)
  • Dirty Balls (Amanda)
  • Mint Chip Cookies (Stephanie)
  • Oreo Pudding Bars (Jen)

Jen Voting

Everything was so delicious! Once everyone had a chance to sample everything I handed out voting cards and everyone made an anonymous vote. Tied for 3rd place were Jen’s Oreo Pudding Bars and Rollo Cookies. In second was Amanda’s Red Velvet Cookies and in first place? Amanda again with her Dirty Balls! (That sounds kind of disgusting!).

Amanda opening her gift for winning

Amanda with her prizes

I’m declaring the party a success again this year! I’ll post the recipes for the cookies later on today or tomorrow!

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Martha Stewart’s Ne Plus Ultra Cookies

October 12th, 2010 · No Comments

I found the recipe for Ne Plus Ultra Cookies in Martha Stewart’s Cookies, of course. Basically, they’re a classic cookie with both raisins and chocolate chips. So why the funny name? Ne plus ultra means “The highest point, as of excellence or achievement; the acme; the pinnacle; the ultimate.” So, basically Martha Stewart thinks these are like the best cookies ever.

I made them for Doug and Naoko’s Labor Day party. There were a lot of different desserts, and honestly, these didn’t fly off the plate. I thought they were good, though. I’m not a huge fan of raisins in cookies, but in these they just gave a sweet taste and chewy texture more than anything. I also liked that the ingredients are things you’re likely to have in your cupboard, so they’re easy to make in a pinch.

Ne Plus Ultra Cookies
From: Martha Stewart’s Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup raisins
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs; mix until well combined.

Sift flour, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; add to butter mixture on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, raisins, and pecans.

Roll dough into 2 1/2-inch balls, then flatten to 1-inch thick. Transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake cookies until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

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