Cookiepalooza – man, that was fun!

Snowmen. Made out of Nutter Butters. Adorable!

I had 7 friends over yesterday to bake holiday cookies. Cookiepalooza – that’s what we called it. Instead of the standard cookie exchange, we decided it would be fun to spend an entire day together baking, visiting and playing cards. Turns out having 8 ladies in one kitchen making 9 different treats doesn’t leave much time for games. But don’t let that fool you. There was NO shortage of fun. There was no shortage of sweet treats, either. We made over 750 pieces of sugar-laden goodness yesterday. And my house smelled fantastic. Cookiepalooza rocked.

With Christmas carols playing in the background, we tackled cookie recipes one or two at a time until they were baked off and cooling. Then we would rotate in the next two recipes and work through them, and so on and so on. In all, we baked for 7 hours. We made 7 types of cookies and two treats in the ‘other’ category – Rolo & Pretzel Turtles and Nutter Butter Snowmen. I’ve made the Rolo Turtles before, but they seemed a lot cuter made from star-shaped holiday pretzels. Those 5-pointed little stars look like arms, legs and heads. Plus, they’re a snap to make. {Get it… snapping…turtles}

Rolo Turtles made with star-shaped holiday pretzels

The Nutter Butter Snowmen were new for me. I knew when I saw them on the Brown Eyed Baker’s Blog that I would make these. I couldn’t resist. They’re just too cute! Thanks to Jonah Bear, my 5-year-old grandson, I knew the wonders of fruit roll-ups, so I grabbed a box to add a decorative touch – scarves! Tip #1: use the multi-flavored striped roll-ups and cut them into strips with a pizza cutter. Tip #2: dip the Nutter Butter cookies one half (or end) at a time. The scarves get tied on at the center, so the dip line doesn’t show. Tip #3: to attach the scarves, wrap around the middle and twist like you would a twist-tie when buying produce. Then press gently on the twisted portion to stick them down. Tip #4: those tiny tubes of frosting in the baking aisle make perfect faces.

Striped fruit roll-ups make great snowman scarves
Some truths cannot be denied, and one of those truths is that my friend Kaki doesn’t bake much. Yesterday, she pulled a rabbit out of the hat that had us all shaking our heads. She made the most incredible homemade gingersnaps I’ve ever eaten. I’m not kidding. If there hadn’t been people around to see me do it, I could have eaten an entire tray with a 1/2 gallon of cold milk. Then she dipped them in white chocolate, and I passed out. Must have been the excitement and novelty of it all. Or maybe it was because they were so gosh-darned good and made my kitchen smell like heaven. Well played, Kaki. Well played.

Kaki's Homemade Gingersnaps

But wait! There was so much more. Here’s the rundown:

Linda – made a family recipe for pecan cookies
Pat – made her old-school orange slice candy cookies
Sheriee – made cowboy cookies, then dipped them in chocolate
Cindy – made chewy chocolate krinkle cookies
Judy – made buttery oatmeal coconut cookies
Cindy & Kaki – paired up to make those Rolo pretzel turtles

And I made coconut shortbreads from Cookie Week (from the Cookies for Kids Cancer Best Bake Sale Cookbook) and the Nutter Butter snowmen (with help).

I’d like to say the best part was all the cookies we made, but I can’t. There was no best part. It was ALL fabulous. We had a blast making all the cookies. We had a hoot decorating and dipping things in chocolate. We loved helping each other and watching timers and washing dishes and generally having each other’s backs all day long. No cookie went untouched or unloved by anyone. It was truly a group effort, the scale of which has never before been seen in my home. I’m not joking when I say we used every square inch of tabletop space in 4 different areas – the kitchen, the breakfast nook, the formal dining room, and even the foyer. Think I’m joking? Here’s my formal dining table as a cooling station:

Judy's coconut oatmeal cookies & turtles cooling in the dining room

And that’s just the dining table. This buffet table along the dining room wall was also used to cool cookies as they came out of the oven (hence the old bath towels layered under the waxed paper). And the cookies just kept piling up.

Chocolate Krinkles & Orange Slice Cookies by the dozens

But that’s not all. We cleared the stuff off the top of the table in my entry foyer and used it to stage cookies once they were cooled, bagged and tagged. This photo only shows less than half of what was made. It was insane, folks!

Cookies waiting to go home for the holidays

I wish my house could smell like this forever. I wish I could invent ‘scratch-N-sniff’ computing so you could smell it, too. And I wish you could all know my friends – they’re a fabulous bunch. And I also wish you could have joined us, but then I’d need a MUCH bigger kitchen. And a whole wall of ovens. And cookie tables in all my bedrooms, which I’m not entirely opposed to.

Cookiepalooza was so successful, there was immediate talk of making this an annual affair. I think that’s a great idea. The question is which of my friends would like to host; but we’ve got 12 months to think about that. Happy holidays, everyone. I wish you love and peace and joy, now and in the coming year.

Buh-bye now! Don't forget to grab a bag of cookies on your way out!

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25 Comments

Filed under Food & Recipes, Things I Love

25 responses to “Cookiepalooza – man, that was fun!

  1. Cindy

    That was a day that will go down in history! I had the BEST TIME EVER!!!!
    I think this will probably spread across the country like wildfire. No more hum-drum cookies exchanges… Cookiepalooza is here to stay and I’m proud to be a founding member and blessed to be your friend!

    • Don’t know if we’ll spark a nationwide movement, but surely was the most fun I’ve had in my kitchen in a very, very long time. Maybe ever. We should definitely do it again. I’ve already started sharing my cookie bounty with others, and I just have to say – the look on someone’s face when you hand them a platter of homemade holiday treats is pure, unadulterated joy. Bonus!

  2. Just reading this post has given me a sugar high! Thank you for sharing all of the fun photos and instructions. I can’t wait to make those cute little nutter-butter snowguys.

  3. The Baby

    I’m just so happy you got to use the “formal dining room”, the least used room of any home I know! I think you should dub it the Nana Bread Shed and host more baking parties. Maybe mid March… I’ll have to do those snowmen, that is my kind of baking.

    • You and your little sous chef would have a great time making those snowmen. You should definitely make them. And while I LOVE the name Nana Bread Shed (NanaBread’s Head w/o the apostrophe and rearranged spaces), I’m not sure I’m up for frequent baking parties just yet. Mid-March sounds about right. Something from a Mexican cookbook perhaps…

  4. Kat

    1. Those snowmen are adorable. I think these might need to be added to the repertoire next year.

    2. I’ve been eating my mother’s Rolo Turtles like it’s the eve of Prohibition and they are the alcohol.

    3. I hope that you, TCP, Jonah Bear, Lilly Bug and the whole family have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

    xo

    • I loved your second comment, Kat. Had me laughing out loud. I’m the same way with jalapeno stuffed olives and pepperoncinis. I’m a salt binger, not a sugar binger. Happy holidays to you, too. Hope your 8 nights are crazy!

  5. OMGoodness! Promise me that we will make those snowmen during the nut-Valhalla that will be Operation 2012! So adorable. Cookiepalooza sounds like a blast. Any day that you can spend an entire day laughing with friends is a good day.

    Many blessings and much happiness to you in the coming year, dear friend!

    • Done. :)
      Any time our group of friends gets together is fun, but Cookiepalooza was fun on a sugar buzz. Merry Christmas to you, the Bacon Slayer and your beautiful boys, Kirsten! -jeanne

      • Merry Christmas to you & your family, Jeanne! Enjoy every minute with those babies–yours included.

      • Same to you, Kirsten. You and our circle of bloggy friends are one of the best gifts of 2011. I will always cherish you ladies. Hope you, The Bacon Slayer and your boys ‘tear it up’ for Christmas. Happy Holidays!

  6. Pat L

    Sounds wonderful. I love to bake cookies and treats for holidays, however I have been out of commission this year with a total knee replacement. Guess my family will have to have store bought cookies and treates this year. Merry Christmas.

    • Sorry to hear that you’re out of cookie commission this year, Pat. I think standing for hours in the kitchen would be really tough after knee replacement. I’m sure your family will understand. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas as well, and hope you’re up and feeling like new very soon.

  7. I’m SO doing that next year! I love it–brilliant plan and the name is perfecto.
    Hugs and MELE KALIKIMAKA! :)

    • You totally should, Monica. The key to really enjoying it is sending the kids off for a day-long activity so you can really focus on your baking and your friends. It’s so nice to have grown-up girl time, especially when you’re surrounded by little groms all day. Mele Kalikimaka to you and your family in beautiful Hawaii!

  8. So many cookies…so little time.

    My friends and I did that this year, too. Only there were just 4 of us. You doubled that! Nice!

    • What? Cookiepalooza was a theme this holiday season? How perfect is that! If we were closer geographically, I’d invite you over for a day of homemade Pop Tart baking. I’ve seen so many recipes this year, and I’m dying to try them. It’s a fascinating concept. Homemade vs chemically enhanced, artificially colored goodness in a box. Which would win? Hmmmm….
      Happy holidays, Thoughtsy – to you, Kiefer Southerland, Boo & Radley.

  9. B Foley

    I wish I had been there, sounded like great fun. I baked a spice cake today and peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kiss on top. Bill’s mother always did these only I cheated with BC mix! So I refer to them as faux Nonnie’s cookies!
    B. Foley

    • We always called the Nonnie’s cookies Peanut Butter Blossoms when I was a kid. Regardless of what you call them, they are always delicious (Betty Crocker mix or not). We hope you and Bill have a fabulous Christmas. -J, M & Z

  10. Hi Jeanne! What a fun day it must have been in your house for this cookie palooza! You ladies certainly produced some amazing stuff! But I gotta love those nutter butter snowmen! How cute! I wanted to stop by and wish you a very Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy the holidays with your wonderful family and I look forward to sharing more with you in the year to come! : )

  11. What a great idea to make all the cookies together! That’s my kind of party!! And I have never seen the Nutter-Butter snowman idea before– the look delicious! Thanks for sharing them!

    • It was a lot of fun to make an entire baking day of it, instead of a 2-hour cookie exchange. You should try it next year. It’s a great way to spend a day with friends and catch up with each other. It’s also a very cooperative way to get a ton of holiday baking done without it feeling like a chore. The Nutter Butter snowmen were a hit, especially with my two grandkids, but the adults enjoyed them as well. They will definitely be an annual treat from now on!

  12. Pingback: My Cookie Craving: Kaki’s Gingersnaps | Inside NanaBread's Head

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