One of the activities that I love to fill my spare time with is leading several cooking groups for our 4-H kids. We try to meet 5-6 times each year to practice cooking (as well as reading, comprehending, math skills, and generalized socialization and getting along). We have taken numerous field trips to some very cool places too. Last year I got this brainy idea to host a cookie exchange. So I located some rules, modified them and sent invitations. We had about 10 kids and several families. We sampled cookies and sipped cider and enjoyed visiting before we traded out our creations and took them home to our families. I enjoyed it so much and had such good feedback that I decided to host it again this year!! I took Friday off (partially trying to burn some vacation time, and partially to get D's buddies together for a birthday bash) and decided that would be the perfect time to get our cookies made!! 3 kids X 4 dozen cookies apiece=1 MESSY kitchen + 2 many cookies +1 mildly stressed out mama! Actually it wasn't ALL that bad. T's buddy Tylyn stayed for the afternoon to get a ride to the game that night, so they worked very well making 3 batches of the these iced citrus crackle cookies. After we got them baked however, we changed the name to WHIMSICAL iced citrus crackle cookies--because they ended up looking like a bar cookie with indentions. (when I tried out the recipe several weeks ago, they were beautiful chunky, round cookies.) But, being the pinch-hitting, non-perfectionistic person that I am, I played it off as they were SUPPOSED to look like triangles and rectangles and other little weird shapes with no names!! He chose the lemon ones (which are SO good, and nearly-pucker-your-mouth lemony). It is a refreshing change from the rich flavors we usually enjoy!
G decided to do one of our Christmas favorites passed to us from my mom. They are a thumbprint cookies that uses icing in the thumbprint and a peanut M & M. Yum!! they are a little bite-sized cookie and probably his dad's favorite. I helped him make the little dough balls (after he got the dough mixed up) and he dipped them in the egg and coconut or pecan coating. I was in a hurry and got our "balls" a little big, but they were yummy just the same--more of a Manly sized cookie!! His good friend Jake also made a thumbprint cookie--but it was chocolate with a fudgy filling and crushed candy cane on the top--a different twist and very tasty too! I personally love those little cookies because they are SOO pretty on my beloved cookie plates-very festive!
By now, it was getting to be supper time and the big boys had to get to town to play in the pep band for the ball game. Jeremy has been SUPER swamped in his shop this past week (like 4 vehicles were unexpectedly towed in to be fixed in one day--and he was already booked out a week!) He went back to the shop right after supper, which left me and the two little ones to get D's goodies made. We had more fun!! He was actually fixing peanut clusters (simple enough for a first year cook). I thought that name sounded boring so in my head I was trying to come up with a flashy little name for them when I got the idea to drizzle them with white chocolate to fancy them up a bit. We collectively came up with the name D's Decadent Double Chocolate Drops--much better than Peeeanuut Clusssters. . . don't you think?? We were impressed by it. He punched numbers into the microwave, and he stirred, and he punched more numbers, and he stirred some more, and we gave Cami this to keep her quietShe pretty much left us alone after that. . . except to let us know when she needed MO!! You may take notice of the chocolate smear on a large portion of the visible table--we had quite a mess goin' down--and she got 2 showers that night. Of course, with my husband's amazingly IMPECCABLE timing (as usual) he showed up just as C was trying to eat the spatula off the stick and we had spooned our last Drops out onto the waxed paper. So he whisked C off to the shower while the cleaning up took place. Our white chocolate drizzle was more of a white chocolate marble, but we thought they were great!! And he was SO proud of his creations!
So with all the cookies ready all we had to do was wait for Sunday to show up and the party to arrive. Unfortunately, the weather arrived before the party guests! With the threat of icing rain, and numerous critical accidents in the surrounding counties, I sadly called everyone to cancel our cookie exchange an hour and a half before the scheduled time. While discussing what we should do with all these cookies, my friend Becky and I decided to have everyone drop off their cookies at her house in town so we could "exchange" them while everyone was at work and then they could pick them up later in the afternoon. Perfect!! It just worked out great--and we have been enjoying everyone's hard work and efforts!
And I was so glad that this mess beyond all messes. . .
wasn't all in vain!