You know those parties that people have, where everyone makes a bunch of holiday cookies and then you all get together and swap? And then you have loads of holiday cookies to share with your pals, or take to work, or hoard in your freezer all for yourself? And then, you know how sometimes you get invited to one of those parties, but you know you'll be the only vegan there, and you won't be able to eat anyone else's cookies, and so it doesn't sound fun at all? Well! We have a solution! Throw your own All-Vegan Holiday Cookie Swap!
That's what we did this weekend and it was SO MUCH FUN. What a wonderfully super group of vegan pals I have! I feel so honored to know so many great, kind, smart, fun, compassionate, interesting folks... (not to mention they all have mad cookie skillz!)
Because we are not TOTAL gluttons for punishment, we made it part of the party rules that you also had to bring something light and healthy to eat. HotVeganChickpeas brought this delicious and beautiful winter salad - fennel, oranges (look at how perfectly they are sliced!), and white beans over arugula. It was so nice!
I made a giant pot of Creamy Broccoli Soup with Roasted Yellow Pepper Creme (from Real Food Daily Cookbook). This is sort of a hilariously bad picture, but whatever. The soup was great. It had 1 pound of spinach plus 5 pounds of broccoli in it too, so it is a mightily virtuous soup.
Erin brought this totally delicious and unexpected Vegan "Seafood" Salad - made with hearts of palms and various sea veggies and served with butter lettuce. I really loved this salad - and it was so different from anything I've had before. Yum.
Not Pictured: Well shoot! It seems there's always one thing that goes uncaptured! My friend Laurie, who has just recently started a vegan blog of her own, brought along two really great spreads from the new book Herbivore: a romesco dip thickened with oats, and a white bean-pesto dip. Along with the dips were little baguette slices and gluten free crackers. Those dips were SO DELICIOUS, and - incidentally - they were red and green, which was very festive!
Let's get to the cookies.
You'd better put your seat belt on, 'cuz we don't mess around!
I made Chocolate Mint Melties, from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. Hearty, chocolately, minty, good.
HotVeganChickpeas has a lot of persimmons this year, so one of the cookies she brought was this big bowl of Persimmon Cookies. I think she said that she had just looked up recipes online, and she definitely found a winner. The texture was very cakey, which I don't always love in a cookie, but it really works in these cookies. They were light and almost fluffy, and absolutely delicious!
She also brought THESE GLORIOUS CREATIONS!! Why, yes, those are Macarons with Vanilla Orange Cream (and there were others with Spicy Chocolate Cream). I don't even think there were any of these left over at the end of the night. They were so absolutely beautiful and delicious! I tried a chocolate one and I loved it. What a special treat!!!
K&O brought this giant batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies - and I'm so glad they did. Really, isn't it against the law to have a cookie party and not have Chocolate Chip Cookies represented? Plus, these are especially great CCCs! They are thick and chunky and buttery and full of chocolate chunks (more fun than chocolate chips!). Personally, I love CCCs.
They also brought along a batch of another classic holiday cookies - Snowballs! I love these naughty delights, and I haven't had one in years. Yum!
ColdandSleepy showed up with her whole awesome family AND two excellent batches of treats. These Rumnog Pecan Spice Cookies (I think she said the recipe was from Veganomicon) were one of my favorite cookies of the whole night... which sort of surprised me. I always think of myself as a chocolate person - but these babies really stole my heart with their holiday spices, nutmeg, and pecans. I'm definitely going to remember this recipe for future cookie parties!
(also, why does the lighting in this picture look like it's from a 1974 issue of Better Homes?)
If someone threatened me with a blunt object, and forced me to choose, I think these babies from Sophia were probably my favorites of the night. I like how she called them "Magical Coconut Cookie Bars!" with an exclamation point - which was well deserved. When I was a little girl, I was a Brownie (a baby Girl Scout) and I fell in love with those girl scout cookies called Samoas. I loved them so much, but they are not vegan, and so I haven't had one in over 12 years. These cookie bars pretty much tasted like Samoas in bar form. They took me back to my happy Brownie days, and I love them.
Miss K brought a heaping bowl of these crunchy, perfect little Fig Walnut Cardamom Delights. They are just delicious! I really love cardamom in cookies... it always makes desserts feel so sophisticated and grown-up. The combo with figs and walnuts was especially successful.
Why yes, that is a SEA of Pecan Caramel Bars!!
Laurie brought a ginormous platter of totally gorgeous pecan treats... which was a good thing because I just happened to know that Sophia really wanted SOMEONE to show up with these! There was also a smaller platter with Salted Pecan Caramel Bars - for extra decadence! These are basically little mini pecan pies in bar form, and so naturally they are crazy, crazy delicious.
Last, but not least, I made doggie cookies for our guests who have dogs. Because even dogs deserve to have Holiday Cookies! I made up a recipe with Chickpea flour, sweet potato puree, blueberries, flax meal, and peanut butter. Our doggies all loved them (and I've gotten good reports back from the doggie recipients too!) - but the recipe was sort of a hassle... so I have to work on it a bit more before I'm ready to share it. I promise to get back to you on this one!
And then I had some party favors to thank all my friends for coming and for putting so much love and generosity into their baking contributions! Everyone/every household got a mini gingerbread man cookie cutter, a homemade dove ornament, and a homemade Danish woven paper heart ornament. The doves and the hearts are both Christmas crafts I learned from my mom when I was a little girl, and it felt fun to make them for my friends.
Now I've got a huge portion of my freezer stuffed full with glorious cookies for us to share and enjoy! Hopefully no vegan cat burglars will break in and steal all my bounty!
What a great way to kick off the holiday season!