Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Holiday Cookie Swap 2015

I attended a Cookie Swap a few weeks ago. Because it's my first time to attend one, I did not really know what to expect other than being ready to bake and bring 12 dozen cookies, Mish of Momma 'N Manila invited me twice in the past, but my schedule was not so cooperative both times, and I had to decline. When she invited me again this year and my schedule was free, I just knew that the stars aligned to make this happen. Hahaha!

My friend, Mish grew up in a family that loves to cook, eat and entertain. She grew up in New York and relocated to Manila almost a decade ago. When she came over to Manila, she naturally brought with her this popular US tradition. She has been hosting cookie swaps for almost 5 years now, and the older participants claimed that it just keeps getting better and better!

A Cookie Swap, while not so common in Manila, is simply a gathering of friends who love to bake. Each baker brings one kind of cookie to share. At the swap, everyone trades and ends up with a whole lot of different delicious holiday cookies. Along with new cookie recipes, too! But it's not jsut cookies and recipes that gets shared, everyone just took a short moment to share a quick background of the cookie we brought, and our experience while we were baking them.

I chose to bake my Raspberry and Almond Shortbread Cookies.  The red color of the jam makes it the perfect holiday cookie. I always make sure to bake this when we put up our tree so we can also eat it right after we are done putting up our Christmas tree.

I started baking my cookies two days before the swap. I made sure to let the cookies cool completely before I stored them in Glad containers. .

If you have not been to a cookie swap yet, but would want to find out what happens in a cookie swap, then read on. Who knows you might even be inspired enough to host your own cookie swap next year! Mish is one of the most gracious hostess I've ever met. She pays great attention to all the details. Her lovely home was beautifully decorated for the holidays.

Even her tablescape that day was gorgeous!

I took my oldest daughter, J, to go with me, and as soon as we arrived and exchanged pleasantries, we went to set up our cookies on a designated area on the table. 

This makes it easier for every one to go around the table when it is time to collect cookies from each section.

There are labels in front of the cookies so everyone knows what all the cookies are. 

Here are my cookies... Thanks Sab for your wonderful capture of my cookies!

MIsh also provided a festive station for drinks, too!

Before we proceeded with the cookie swap, we enjoyed the sumptuous spread of brunch that Mish p[prepared for our group.

Then it was time for the judges to taste and rate the cookies.
Here's Cy of The Bald Baker, Cat Juan-Ledesma and Joie Gana

The judges announce the winners!

The Pili Nut Linzer Cookies with Mango Calamansi Jam by Maggie Agustin won as Best Overall Cookie.  

Steph and Lady won the Best Presentation for their entry, Early Gray Tea Cookies with Tablea.

Look at the effort that has gone into each and every cookie... all 10 dozens of them!

Finally, Sabrina Cristobal-Go won Most Creative Cookie for her Midnight Cookies, a winning combination of chocolate and strawberries.

Now, it's finally time for everyone to trade cookies! Mish provided a packaging station, but most of us just used the big containers we came with.  Our big containers were more handy as their generous size made packing all the cookies easier.

Everyone lined up around the cookie table with our large pans. We got 1 dozen cookies from each recipe.

Of course, everyone also looked forward to getting a copy of the recipe cards 

I requested for a photo with Tita Hermelina, the mom of Mish, because she was so generous with her praise for my cookie, its her favorite daw! hahaha!:) But seriously, even if my cookie didn't win anything, the experience of participating in a cookie swap and meeting like-minded women made me feel like a winner already!  

ONe of the things that made the cookie swap such a wonderful experience for me was because I also got to share it with my daughter. J not only helped me assemble the cookies, but she also collaborated  on the design of the printed materials with Gia, the pretty and talented daughter of Mish. 
Great job to Achi J and Ate G!  Your are both better versions of your moms - definitely!

Initially, Mish and I were talking about the theme of her mood board for the rustic design that she had in mind. But as the date of the cookie swap drew closer, it was actually these 2 girls who did all the work on the recipe cards and invite.

Here's to the group of ladies for the MnM Cookie Swap 2015! I had so much fun with you all.

 Thanks for having me, Mish! Congratulations for another successful run of your Cookie Swap!

all photos without watermark are property of Sabrina Cristobal Go.