The snow did come, after all. It didn't amount to all that much, though. Less of a snowfall and more of a snow gasp. I had very mixed feelings about it, admittedly. When the flakes are really falling out here, it looks absolutely stunning. It blankets the pines, bathes the rhododendrons, quiets the forest. It makes me want to stay inside, bake, drink tea, read, be silent. On the other hand, I knew that 20 or so ladies were due at my house in the afternoon for cookie-nibbling and merry-making. In the end, the snow tapered off, allowing the festivities to continue while giving just a hint of winter. Enough to savor but not so much as to override the sweetness.
And so, cookies were exchanged, glögg was imbibed, fondue was fondled, Pictionary was played, and holiday cheer was welcomed and spread. Each guest took home about 3-4 cookies of every variety, making for a pretty nice sugar haul.
To get things started, we gorged on:
*Dried apricots with Point Reyes blue cheese & spiced pumpkin seeds
*Chevre with maple syrup & tawny port, topped with rosemary-pecans and dried cranberries
*Swiss cheese fondue with hard cider & local mustard, into which we plunged roasted carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, broccoli and toasted foccacia cubes
(Can you tell I just wrote a book on "Home Dairy"-making? Lord-look at all that CHEESE!)
My guests were a creative bunch and their cookies were varied, inventive and spectacular:
*Hungarian Pecan Cookies, aka "Butterballs", by Micah
*Bird Seed Cookies, by Rachel
*Shortbread Cookies layered with Salted Honey Caramel & dipped in Chocolate, by Jael
*Chai Shortbread, by me (recipe found here)
*'Lil Spumoni Slabs, by Jenny
*Poppy Seed Rugelah, by Jessica
*Lemon Rosemary Cookies, by Thalia
*Vanilla Butter Cookies with Homemade Lemon Ginger Jam, by Nicole
*Cream Cheese Cookies, by Elizabeth
*Chocolate Ginger Cookies, by Marissa
*Lavender Tea Cakes, by Jodi
*Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread, by Kate
*Wheat-free Carrot Spice Cookies, by Theresa
*Ginger Molasses Crinkles, by Kelly & Clara
To see more images from the soiree, go here.
Thank you to everyone who came out. It was the perfect launch to the holiday season. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to go work myself into a sugar coma...