Monday, December 03, 2012

The Great Cookie Party Of 2012


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.

Ms. Turnip (code name!) brought this glorious salad with roasted fennel, roasted onions, hazelnuts, cranberries and lettuce with some sort of magic dressing. This salad contains many of my favorite things in the world, and I really loved it. I always forget about putting cooked veggies in my salads. It's so classy and it makes the whole thing feel so much more hearty and meal-like. 5-star salad!

K & O brought two amazing loaves of bread from Acme Bakery (yum yum yum yum!) and two lovely spreads: Fig Butter and Olive Tapenade. Such a great contribution and one that I partook of heartily. As you know, faithful readers, there is a special place in my heart reserved just for bread, and this was indeed Very Good Bread.

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!

Now, then.
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.

I also made one of my favorite recipes of all time, which I reserve for the holiday season, a veganized version of the Gingerbread Tiles recipe from Tartine Bakery. Honestly, friends these are simply amazing. (Here's a link to the original recipe. To veganize, I used Earth Balance instead of butter, and EnerG Egg Replacer in place of the egg. So easy!)

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!!!

Erin busted out these Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies, and I loved them so much! They have pretzels for antlers, chocolate chips for eyes, and dried cranberries for noses.. So super cute! A true holiday cookie! Plus, importantly, they are also very good peanut butter cookies! :)

Check out this insanity. It's not like Ms. Turnip has nothing to do... just a 1 year old cutie running around the house! Somehow she still found time to get super cute snowflake and polar bear molds and make white+dark chocolate peppermint bark. Delicious and gorgeous. Also, I don't know if you can tell, but those snowflake chocolates are HUGE. Decadent glory!

As if that weren't enough, she also made a big batch of this unexpected and crazy delicious Chocolate Saltine Bark. Who'da thunk it??? It is so damned good!! This may be one of the first things to disappear from my well-stocked freezer.

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?)

She also brought along a huge batch of Lemon Bars. I love love love lemon bars. I have loved lemony desserts for as long as I can remember. I'm stoked to have a few of these hiding out in my fridge waiting for immediate consumption!

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. 

She also brought a giant batch of the famous Peanut Butter Pillows - a legendary cookie that I have heard so much about, and yet hadn't tried before last night. I can see what all the hype is about! First of all, they are cute like little chocolate UFO's, and secondly, they are totally delicious. Really, what could go wrong with PB+Chocolate???

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!

29 comments:

  1. That's it. I am moving to Santa Cruz for Amey hangouts.

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  2. wow that looks like so much fun. must ask my friends to do this with me.

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    1. That's what friends are for! :)

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  3. Oh my word that spread is just incredible. I was drooling at the salads and soup..but then came the cookies! I've been to a vegan cake swap before which was super fun but a touch of savoury is a good idea as I remember leaving feeling very sick indeed from sugar overload.

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    1. Yes, the healthy dinner is a very important component of this party. We had one about three years ago, and everyone left feeling disgusting, so we learned our lesson. It's a lot easier to enjoy a handful of cookies if you've already had a super healthy veggie-packed meal!

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  4. this is spectacular!! i love that there was also healthy food there, too.

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  5. I want your friends. Love the healthy stuff, too. Thanks for sharing all this wonderfulness!

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  6. yeah! we win at life! what a great day! also, thanks for your kind words. i would never threaten you with a blunt object...not even a giant parsnip.

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    1. We DO win at life, and we get to celebrate again tomorrow!

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  7. OMG! that is the most amazing spread of food and cookies i have ever seen! so jealous!

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  8. Your get togethers are always so dazzling! I want to come one day.
    xo
    kittee

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    1. Kittee! You are always welcome! We would have an all xgfx party in honor of you!

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  9. This is amazing ♡
    I agree to comment below that having savory food before was a good idea, i always feel bad/bloated after dessert only parties, comforting to know that i'm not the only grandma like that :')
    Also everything looks beautiful, perfect as from gourmet recipe magazines, especially the molded chocolate, but really i want to try everything!

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  10. Oh. My. God. What an incredible spread of cookies! I’ve never attended a cookies swap before but this sounds like something I could totally get behind. I may have to start a new tradition.

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  13. Oh my word, Amey! This looks like SO MUCH FUN. I am in awe of all the yumminess, but being a lemon gal, I am craving those lemon bars.

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  14. You are the coolest. The first question to pop into my mind is where are you getting all these vegan friends? How did you find them all? Teach me. :)

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    1. SSW ~ I met ALL my awesome vegan pals on the PPK. Specifically, on "The Square" part of the PPK forums - where you can organize local events. Meeting these pals has really changed my life. They are really awesome and it feels so good to have such wonderful buddies who share my joy and enthusiasm for veganism. Check out The Square on the PPK forums and you will find your own cookie party pals!!!

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  15. This whole cookie party looks INSANE! I love the concept of having everyone bring something healthy along with the cookies. Sweets are my thing, but if there is too much at once it can be hard to handle.

    Great Job documenting the whole thing!

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  16. OMG, can I please come over to the next one? It's only a whole different hemisphere, but I can arrange it. ;)

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  17. Yep, me too. Those cookies look well worth a plane ride!

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  18. What a perfect party!!

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  19. Wow! The Choc Mint melties! The peppermint cats & snowflakes! Those lemon bars! One day I wanna come to your cookie swap party!

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  20. how do i find the recipes? i went to Cold and Sleepy's blog to find the lemon bar recipe but I can't find it.

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  21. reindeer cookies. oh wow. you have some awesome photos on here, looking forward to browsing through your posts. x

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  22. W O W! These all look amazing.

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Happy VeganMoFo! I love comments, they really make my day!