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Christy Catherine Marshall

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December 9, 2010

I went to my first Cookie Swap yesterday. I don’t know why I’ve never been to one before. It was really fun and a great way to get together with other moms.

In case you’re not familiar with this tradition, every guest brings two dozen cookies, along with enough copies of your recipe to give everyone else. You place your plate of cookies on a table alongside your recipe. Then everyone goes around and collects two or three cookies, storing them in a container to take home.

The highlight of the morning for me, after visiting with everyone and sharing breakfast together, came when we all swapped “Cookie Stories.” I should have thought a little harder about what to bring because I didn’t have any exciting cookie story to share. I made those little Eagle Brand Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes, and my only story was that I’d gotten back late from a basketball game the night before so I had to make them in a hurry that morning and cool them in the freezer.

But other people shared some wonderful stories. One lady brought Chocolate Kahlua Balls that were from a recipe passed down from her best friend’s mother. Her best friend made them every year until she died a few years ago from cancer. Now they’ve become a tradition as a way of celebrating and remembering their friendship.

Other people shared tips and secrets behind favorite family recipes — or the occasional funny story about how they had a stressful morning that led to a stop by the bakery on the way to the party. One young mother with a baby on her hip confessed that she just wanted to come to be around everybody but didn’t have time to make anything. That was perfectly all right! I’m so glad she was there.

I discovered my favorite cookie wasn’t even a cookie at all. It’s called a Cake Pop. My friend, Leigh, brought these, and they were adorable. They’re made using a cake mix and cream cheese icing. You’ve probably heard of them because, apparently, there’s a whole fan world devoted to Cake Pops.

Leigh said her children helped her put sprinkles on the Cake Pops in the morning before they rushed out the door for school — so I’m most impressed. She wrapped them in cellophane and tied them with red and green curly ribbon, all before 9:30 am.

There seems to be a million variations of these Cake Pops, so I’m going to have to try them. They’re creamy inside, instead of dry, like some cakes taste. Plus it seems like something fun for kids to make — kind of like rolling up balls of play-dough. I think it would be a fun craft idea for a kid’s party — then the guests can take home their creations as party favors.

I found a wonderful video with baker Elizabeth LaBau from About.Com that offers a step-by-step tutorial on how to make Chocolate Cake Pops. (Thank you, Elizabeth! You make it look so easy!)

For me, the Cookie Swap didn’t end when the party was over. It ended that afternoon when I opened up my container of 30+ cookies (and Cake Pops!) to share with my children for an after-school snack.

While they ate, I had a ready audience to share all of my new Cookie Swap stories.

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