Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sugar & Spice

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:
*Gingered pecans
*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
*Organic Peanut Butter Cookies, by Meg & Alisa
*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...


Emily said...

Sounds like the event was a huge success; what a wonderful variety of cookie mania for everyone to share!

Anonymous said...


Maria said...

I'm so sorry I missed it! We ended up getting a nice snow fall. It was totally white up here, but the roads are clear today. Ah well....

Glad it was a grand time!

sk said...

Oh--- YUM! What a great idea for a party! Oh, and I made your Chai recipe twice this weekend and fell a little bit in love...I was disappointed when I woke up too late this morning to make it again before work! Thanks!

Abra Cat said...

Hi Ashley-
I was pleasantly surprised this morning to discover a local writing for Design Sponge-- apparently I have not been paying attention! I followed the link to your blog, and have spent a large part of the morning catching up. I'm enjoying your writing very much, and I'm looking forward to reading more!

Anonymous said...

I am booking my ticket for next year!


ashley english said...

welcome, abra cat! ASHEVILLE REPRAZENTt!!!!

everyone else, consider yourself pre-invited to the annual english cookie exchange, 2010!

kdilley said...

So fun! Love it!