~ Champagne & Cookies 2014 ~

by byn on December 28, 2014

in Cookies

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It’s time for the recap of my annual Champagne & Cookies Christmas party! Last year there was a snowstorm on the night of the party, so I nervously started checking the weather about a week before, and it was nothing but clear skies. Hooray!

Since I went on a little trip to NYC the weekend before the party, I was very organized this year, and had most of my baking done in advance.  After 5 years of throwing this holiday jam, I think this was the first year I was happy with each of my choices, and didn’t have any disasters (like deflated meringues {2010}, burnt popcorn {2012},trying to make homemade dulce de leche the morning of the party {2013}). I was particularly happy with my vegan/gluten-free options this year, thanks to The Oh She Glows Cookbook.

Let’s see what made the cut this year:

1. Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies + 2. Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies + 3. Maple Pecan Pie Triangles

The New Classics

Lesson learned for next year: hide a Gingerbread Sandwich Cookie in the fridge so there’s one to eat the next day! I didn’t do this and these were all gone by the end of the night. Everyone definitely goes nuts for these.  The gingerbread cookie has molasses in it and is a chewy dream when combined with the cinnamon cream cheese filling. I want to make more just so I can have one.

I think the Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies might have to be retired for next year. Even though I love the colour they bring to this platter, there are always a ton leftover, and even when I brought those to work, no one seemed all that interested in them. Nicole also made these for her Christmas Party this year, and her theory is that they look too much like the store-bought ones, which we all know are gross. I’m thinking these will be bumped in favour of a classic shortbread cookie next year, or maybe these.

Maple Pecan Pie Triangles are one of my favourites, are so quick to pull together, and have a few things that put them over the top: brown sugar shortbread crust and pure maple syrup in the filling. These aren’t going anywhere.

4. Pretzel M&M Cookies + 5. Nutella & Caramilk Stuffed Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salty & Sweet

I sent my friend Kristine an email in November innocently asking if we are over the Pretzel M&M Cookie. I honestly wasn’t sure, and just wanted to take the temperature of my cookie-eating public. In return I received a reply that basically boiled down to HOW DARE YOU? I ONLY GET THESE COOKIES ONCE A YEAR! MY CHRISTMAS IS NOT COMPLETE WITH THEM! (I’m paraphrasing, but she’ll reply in the comments, I’m sure). So that secured these sweet and salty delights a spot on this platter.

I made the Nutella & Caramilk Stuffed Cookies last year, and what they lack in looks, they make up for in absolute gooey deliciousness. Note to self for next year: let the cookie dough cool completely before adding the chocolate chips, okay?

6. Candy Cane Brownie Bites

Candy Cane Brownie Bites

Ah, the chocolate/mint slot. This one always gives me a bit of trouble. In the past I’ve made ugly mint cookies and brownies, and then last year I tried to be cute, but wasn’t happy with how they tasted. I was debating up to the week before the party whether to go with Homemade Oreos with a mint filling or these Candy Cane Brownie Bites, and I don’t think I could have gone wrong with either. I used two recipes I’ve been making for years; a brownie recipe from a 1989 issue of Canadian Living, and My Favourite Buttercream, spiked with peppermint extract. I sprinkled on a few crushed candy canes, and there we have it. I was so happy with how these turned out, both in appearance and in taste. Nailed it.

7. Hello Dollies

Hello Dollies

I’m not quite sure how I’ve been having this party for 5 years, and have never made Hello Dollies which are my favourite treat of ALL TIME. Probably because I was nervous I would eat them all before anyone arrived. I was inspired by my visit to Butter Baked Goods, and this was another one Nicole and I made for her party as well. Graham cracker crust, sweetened condensed milk, and the classic chocolate chip/coconut/pecan combo. I just love these. Bonus points for being so quick to make and freezing like a dream.

8. Salted Bourbon Caramel Rice Krispy Squares

Salted Bourbon Caramel Rice Krispy Squares

Sad story: I tried to bring back a jar of Salted Bourbon Caramel from ABC Kitchen and it was confiscated by your friends at the Newark Airport security line because it was over the liquid limit for my carry on. In tribute, I made my own, and poured it into these treats. I’ve been a bit obsessed with Rice Krispy squares this year, and guess what? Everyone LOVED these. Even more so when Nicole found the jar of leftover caramel in my kitchen, and dipped one in it. Such an inspired idea! I cut the remaining squares into little dippable sticks, and set them out with the jar. Definitely making these again next year (just not an hour before the party starts, and then rushing to get a picture, which is why there’s only a couple on the plate above).

9. Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

While I liked my vegan/gluten-free treats last year, I wanted to make a couple of new things this year. I had made these Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies earlier this year, and they are just so good. They use ground oats and almonds instead of flour, coconut oil instead of butter, and ground flax seeds mixed with water instead of an egg. Even though they’re actually called Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies in The Oh She Glows Cookbook, both times I have made them I’ve found them to be just perfectly chewy, and I wouldn’t have them any other way. These are a keeper. (Note to self for next year: bake one tray at a time)

10. Date Caramel Truffles

Date Caramel Truffles

These are another OSG recipe, although in the book they’re called Homemade Yolos, because they’re supposed to be like vegan Rolos. They were a quick, easy, ooey, gooey treat and there were no leftovers so I’ll take that as a good sign!

And that’s it! Hope you had a great Christmas filled with family, friends and cookies!

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kristine January 21, 2015 at 5:08 pm

I’ve been behind in my Planet Byn blog post reading… It was another fantastic C&C! (Thank you for keeping the pretzel m&m cookies …. Also , I love the sugar cookies … Am I the only one who takes them home?)

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