Even when I was in grad school, I had to have a holiday party centered around food.  Generally at the end of the semester, but before everyone went home.  My office-mate and I brainstormed ways to get people to come over, and hit on the idea of having a cookie-decorating party.  I mean, we both grew up in families that did cookies, but really didn’t do them for ourselves any more, and missed it.  And thus, the cookie decorating party was born.

The general idea is that we would make a bunch of undecorated holiday cookies, provide frosting and sprinkles, and let people go to town.  It’s that simple!  And it works – some people spend hours at the table, crafting marvelous masterpieces. Others slap on some frosting and sprinkles and call it a day, and retire to the other side of the room with a mug of mulled cider and chat with people over there.

Cookies wiating to be decorated

Cookies wiating to be decorated

Now that we have the Party House (the upstairs is one huge room, with a bar between the kitchen and rest of the upstairs, it’s perfect for parties), we can host more people, so I’ve been opening up the invites to more groups.  We’re members of a few meetup groups in the area, so I invited people from those.  This year we had about 30 people, all told – a good amount!

I made two additions this year to the party – first, I offered prizes for Most Creative and Most Geeky (and also ended up offering for Most Traditional and Tracey’s Choice).  Second, due to popular request, I also added an optional Cookie Exchange, the only rules of which were that NO COOKIE BE LEFT BEHIND.  (That, and that preferably your cookies were homemade).  At least a dozen people brought homemade cookies, everybody took cookies home, and at the end of the night all that was left over was a box of doughnuts someone had brought, half a box of chocolate-covered cherries, and the rest of the pies I’d put out.  Not a bad deal!

The cookie exchange table, early in the evening

The cookie exchange table, early in the evening

You can see some of the offerings, here.

Closer....

Closer….

And a closer look – those brownies off to the right?  They had CANDY BARS baked into them.  Oh my gosh.  They were tasty.

I just realized that I totally failed to take pictures of my macaroons!  Dangit, and those were a ton of work, too.  And tasty.  (From the Field Guide to Cookies, by Anita Chu).

So, on to the winners!

Most Geeky Cookie:

Most Geeky

Most Geeky

If you look closely, you’ll see that someone took two boot cookies and made them into a Game Controller.  There was a voting tie between that and the Dalek Cookie (see Most Traditional), but it was felt that the novel use of two cookies smushed together took it. The prize for this cookie was the amazing Bonsai Potato Kit!

Bonsai Potato!

Bonsai Potato!

Most Creative Cookie:

Most Creative Cookie, with finger paints!

Most Creative Cookie, with finger paints!

We never did get a great picture of this one – but it’s a totally hippie tie-die stocking, with sprinkles and everything.  The prize for this one was a jar of glow-in-the-dark finger paints.

Most traditional:

The most traditional... but wait, what's that?

The most traditional… but wait, what’s that?

The judges felt overwhelmingly that this beautiful angel (made with stacking cookies, no less) deserved the prize for most traditional Christmas cookie (a bag of apple cider caramels from SugarPunk) – but wait!  As you can see, the poor angel is being menaced by a Dalek!  Oh noes!

the lovely creator of the angel and Dalek, with her caramels

the lovely creator of the angel and Dalek, with her caramels

The prizes had been awarded, but there was still one cookie that was just so amazingly cool that I had to make up a prize to give it.

Star-bellied Sneetch!

Star-bellied Sneetch!

I mean – it’s Dr. Seuss!  How cool is that.  I fell in love with it.

)

A delicious Cookie… and a star-bellied sneetch. 🙂

So she got the bag of Fleur de Sel Caramels.

Later, however, we noticed something… unusual… about the cookie.

Um... zombie sneetch?

zombie sneetch?

The dark discolorations…  the glassy stare…

O NO, ZOMBIE COOKIE!!!!!11!11!!!!

We ate it.  It was to save ourselves.  It was tasty.
I can’t let you go without mentioning one last batch of awesome cookies, from the brush of the talented Heather:

Ghosties!

And a closeup:

Ghosts! and a box thingie

Ghosts! and a box thingie

I am informed that if you play video games, this one makes more sense.  There was a pac man cookie, as well, who was menacing the ghosts – but we ate him too.

One last batch...

One last batch…

After we were all done with cookies, and some people had gone home, the evening devolved into a few hours of Evil Uno (like regular Uno, with two simple rules modifications:  Draw until you can play; and Draw Fours are a legal follow to a Draw Two.  I think the most anyone had to draw at one time was fourteen.)

Tons of fun – can’t wait until next year!

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