Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

Christmas Cookie Exchange Party - So many pretty treats, recipes and ideas!!  -

A Christmas Cookie Exchange Party is such a fun way to kick off the Christmas season!

Recently, my talented friend Bethany, of Auntie Bea’s Bakery hosted a fun (and delicious!) Christmas Cookie Exchange and I was one of the lucky party guests!  Bethany hosted the party, and she let me help out with some of the fun set-up.  The night before the party I packed up my trunk full of some of my favorite Christmas dishes and props and then Bethany and I spent the evening setting up this fun party!

The guests were each asked to bring a plate of their favorite (homemade) Christmas cookies, and then at the party the guest would get to pack up a few of each of the cookies brought and leave with a box of lots of different cookies!   It’s such a fun way to try new recipes and enjoy lots of different treats!

Over the next two weeks Bethany will be sharing the recipes for all of the yummy cookies that were at the party on her site, Auntie Bea’s Bakery.  Be sure to bookmark her site and keep up with all the sweetness!

Now let’s enjoy the party…

Christmas Cookie Exchange Party Table -

We used red fabric to create “curtains” as the backdrop for the table.  Bethany made a cute cookie cutter wreath (with cookie cutters from Karen’s Cookies).  White dinner plates were set out and then filled with the cookies party guests brought (more cookies were spread out in the kitchen).  Bethany made several extra little treats, including cake pops and a sweet little gingerbread garland was placed along the front of the table as decoration.

Christmas Gumball Trees (for a Christmas Dessert Table) -

I made these festive gumball trees by hot gluing gumballs (I purchased last year from Wal-Mart on clearance) onto Styrofoam cones (from Michael’s).  We added a simple cookie star (made by Bethany) to finish them off.

The pretty treats toward the front (pictured above) were one of the “cookies” brought by one of the party guests.  These were pumpkin spice truffles (cake balls).

Gorgeous Snowflake Cookies!! -

Perfectly gorgeous snowflake cookies, made by Bethany (Auntie Bea’s Bakery).

Cute Christmas Cake Pops (and a Christmas Dessert Table) -

Bethany also made these super cute cake pops!!  She made the cake pop base (see if you’re not familiar with this process), and then pressed the cake/frosting mixture into a slab and used mini cookie cutters to create the shapes.

Hot Cocoa Cookies (for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party) -

These cookies (above) were my part of the cookie exchange.  They are Hot Cocoa Cookies, and have quickly become my new favorite cookie!!

Beautiful Christmas Cake Pops! -

These Christmas Cake Pops (above) Bethany made were about the prettiest cake pops I’ve ever seen!

Cute Gingerbread Cookies (for a Christmas dessert table) -

Some more cookie perfection (above) from Bethany!  What’s a Christmas party without some gingerbread cookies?  =)

Kids Cookie Decorating Table -

The young party guests had fun decorating their own little gingerbread cookies.  Bethany prepared some cute little gingerbread house shaped cookies, and then had a table prepared with lots of sprinkles and candies to decorate with!  Here’s the Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter (from Karen’s Cookies) and my Gingerbread Cookie Recipe.

Hot Cocoa Bar (lots of cute ideas!) -

(Above)  In the kitchen, we set up a Hot Cocoa Bar!  Hot Chocolate, marshmallows, caramels, peppermint sticks and some pretty treats!  We used the kid-sized gingerbread man mugs I purchased (from Crate and Barrel) last year for my Gingerbread House Decorating Party.

A framed printable (from Swish Printables, available on her site free!) finished off the Hot Cocoa Bar perfectly!

Pretty Christmas treats (for a Hot Cocoa Bar) -

(Above)  Treats on the Hot Cocoa table include Maple Fudge (brought by one of the guests), Gingerbread Marshmallow S’mores (from Kimberley’s Kitchen), and Chocolate Truffles (brought by one of the guests).

Hot Cocoa Toppings (for a Hot Cocoa Bar) -


Kids at Christmas Party -

This Christmas Cookie Exchange Party was such a fun day for the little girls and the moms!  We all enjoyed more than our fair share of sweets and had a great day with friends!

Party details -

Party Host, concept, set-up and many of the delicious treats – Auntie Bea’s Bakery

Photography, set-up help, props and Hot Cocoa Cookies – Glorious Treats (me)

Printables – Swish Printables

KitchenAid Stand Mixer and Eagle Brand Giveaway {Closed}

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway -

Whether you chose to sleep in this morning, or braved Black Friday in the stores I have an awesome giveaway today you can enter from the comfort of home!

I’m partnering with Eagle Brand to giveaway a KitchenAid 4.5 Quart Silver Stand Mixer!  This is the same style mixer I keep on my counter and use almost every day!  It’s really a bakers best friend!

In addition to the mixer, this giveaway includes a prize pack of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, perfect for so many holiday recipes!  I’ve recently shared delicious Coconut Macaroons and Hot Chocolate on a Stick using Eagle Brand!

I also used Eagle Brand in 3 of the recipes in my new cookbook, Glorious Layered Desserts, including this yummy cover recipe…

Glorious Layered Desserts Cookbook - Available for pre-order on Amazon

Glorious Layered Desserts is available for pre-sale from Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Barnes and Noble.

In addition to the KitchenAid Mixer I’m giveaway here, you can visit Eagle Brand now through December 14 visit and re-pin your favorite recipes for a chance to win one of over 100 great prizes including (another!) KitchenAid Mixer and other baking essentials!  Included the hashtag #SweetenTheSeason with your pins.


Would you like start whipping up delicious treats with Eagle Brand in your new KitchenAid Mixer?

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below (it may take a moment to load).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway details-  Giveaway open to U.S. residents.  Giveaway ends December 5th, 12:00pm Pacific.  Giveaway sponsored by cohn&wolfe on behalf of Eagle Brand.  Approximate value of total prize pack is $250.00.  I have been compensated by Eagle Brand for my work in their #SweetenTheSeason campaign.  All text and opinions are my own.

************************ Giveaway Closed ***********************

Winner- Bernice Hammond!!

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

Hot Chocolate on a Stick - Such a great little gift idea!!  - from Glorious Treats

A sweet little gift, or a beautiful treat to serve holiday parties, this Hot Chocolate on a Stick recipe is a perfect holiday treat!

Swirl these delicious blocks of chocolate into a cup of hot milk and you create a luscious cup of hot chocolate.

This recipe would be perfect to serve as part of a hot chocolate bar at a holiday party!   For a pretty display, set out a few bowls of hot cocoa toppings such as crushed peppermint candies, or mini marshmallows and you have a special display that is easy to create.

I know I’m always on the lookout for cute little gifts to give to teachers and neighbors, and a few of these Hot Chocolate on a Stick blocks, wrapped up and given with a cute mug could be a perfect little gift!

This recipe is quite simple to make and starts with just a can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, and some good quality chocolate.


Hot Chocolate on a Stick

Swirl these delicious blocks of chocolate into a cup of hot milk to create hot chocolate.

Yield: Makes apx. 36 blocks


1 (14oz) can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup (or 6 oz) unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli bars)

wooden sticks


1.) Line a 8"x8" pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2.) In a medium saucepan heat the sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream together over MEDIUM-LOW heat.
Whisk slowly as it heats and heat until it is hot and is beginning to steam, but not boiling.
3.) Remove pan from heat and add the chocolate chips and chopped chocolate. Allow chocolate to slowly melt, this takes about 10 minutes.
4.) Return the pan to LOW heat and whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and shiny.
5.) Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan, and smooth the surface with an offset spatula.
Loosely cover the pan and allow the chocolate to cool slowly, on the counter OVERNIGHT.
6.) The next day, run a knife around the edge of the pan, and pull on the parchment or foil to remove the chocolate square.
Cut the chocolate into 1 1/4" cubes. Heat the knife between cuts by running the knife under hot water, then wipe dry between each cut.
7.) Add a wooden stick, then wrap the cubes as desired.

Recipe source - King Arthur Flour

For the wooden sticks, I used these cute wooden sticks from Tomkat Studio.  You could also use a wooden fork, or a wooden coffee stir stick (from your local coffee shop).

The snowman mugs pictured are from Target (this year).

Hot Cocoa on a Stick - Such a perfect little gift idea!!  From Glorious Treats

Now through December 14 visit Eagle Brand and re-pin your favorite recipes for a chance to win one of over 100 great prizes including a KitchenAid Mixer and other baking essentials!

Disclosure – I was provided product and/or payment from Eagle brand in exchange for creating this post. All images, text and opinions are my own. I only share products on this site that I use and love.

Turkey Pesto Appetizer Bites

Turkey Pesto Appetizer Bites -

These Turkey Pesto Appetizer Bites are the perfect little snack to keep guests happy while your preparing the Thanksgiving meal, or to serve at any holiday party.

I’m usually all about sweet treats… but we’ve got to have some delicious food to serve along with all the sweetness!

These little appetizers are easy to make, look great, and will keep your guests out of the kitchen while you put the finishing touches on your holiday meals.  You can prepare (bake) the little Puff Pastry bites up to a day in advance, then assemble the mini sandwiches shortly before serving.

Turkey Pesto Appetizer Bites -



Turkey Pesto Appetizer Bites

Puff pastry makes the perfect base for these quick and easy appetizers.

Yield: 36 mini sandwiches


Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry sheets, thawed

Turkey (thin sliced)

Provolone cheese, sliced (or cheese of your choice)

Basil Pesto (usually available in the deli section)

Cherry tomatoes

Fresh basil leaves (optional)


1.) Thaw the puff pastry sheets according to the package directions (this takes about 45 minutes).
2.) Unroll the sheet onto a lightly floured work surface, then use a pizza cutter to cut the pastry into 36 small squares (pictured below).
3.) Bake the little squares on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a preheated oven at 400*F for 12-14 minutes.
4.) Once the pastry squares are baked and cooled, cut each square open (horizontally) to create a top and bottom piece of "bread" like a mini sandwich.
5.) Spread a think layer of basil pesto onto one side of the sandwich, then add a slice of turkey and a slice of cheese (I used provolone). Top with matching pastry square.
6.) Finish the mini sandwiches with a small leaf of fresh basil and a cherry tomato half, add a toothpick to hold it all together.

Recipe source - Glorious Treats

Be sure to follow the directions on the puff pastry to properly thaw the sheets before use (this takes about 45 minutes).

To save time before serving, you can bake the little pastry squares several hours (or up to 1 day) before making the mini sandwiches.

In place of the fresh basil leaf, you could use a small slice of cucumber along with the tomato, on top of the sandwich.


Puff Pastry (for Turkey Pesto Appetizer) -

Thaw the puff pastry according to the package directions (about 45 minutes).  Unfold pastry onto a lightly floured work surface.

Making mini puff pastry bite (for Turkey Pesto Appetizer)  -

Use a pizza cutter to cut the puff pastry sheet into 36 small squares.

Baking puff pastry (for Turkey Pesto Appetizer) -

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and line up the little puff pastry squares (I didn’t bake all 36 on the same baking sheet).

Puff Pastry Bites (for Turkey Pesto Appetizer) -

Bake in a preheated oven at 400*F for 12-14 minutes.

Assembling Turkey Pesto Appetizer Bites -

Once cooled, cut each little square open and assemble the mini sandwiches.  Spread a bit of basil pesto on one side of the “bread”, then add a slice of turkey and a slice of cheese (I used provolone).  Top with the top piece of puff pastry, then add a small fresh basil leaf (if desired) and a cherry tomato half.

Turkey Pesto Appetizer Bites -

I created this recipe as part of my ongoing work for Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry as a member of their “Puff is Spark” panel.

Last month I shared these Bubbling Cauldron Halloween Treats and asked you to share your ideas for using Puff Pastry.  Over the next several months I’ll be bringing you delicious and creative recipes using Puff Pastry and choosing my “top pick” from your suggestions from the previous month.   In the spring, I will chose my favorite from the highlighted “top picks” and that reader will win a grand prize trip to travel to the Pepperidge Farm Headquarters! 

My top pick from last month’s suggestions is from Doreen Shea, who said she fills puff pastry cups with a “cube of Brie and tops it with homemade raspberry jam and chopped walnuts…”

So here’s your opportunity to chime in and share your original ideas for using Puff Pastry.  Please share your ideas in the comment section of this blog post.

Glorious Layered Desserts Cookbook!

Glorious Layered Desserts (available on Amazon) -

Today is a day I’ve been looking forward to for nearly a year… it’s the day I get to share some of the details of my cookbook, Glorious Layered Desserts!

When I started this blog nearly 4 years ago I had several goals and dreams for what the site would become.  I had lots of short term plans, and some long term dreams.  One of those dreams was to “someday” write a cookbook.  Over time, as the site has grown, and my own children have grown I have become so busy that I set that dream aside, thinking I didn’t have time to create the quality of cookbook I really wanted to.  I knew that writing a cookbook would require a lot of time and work.

Last fall, the opportunity to write a cookbook was presented to me by a couple different publishers.  At the time I said “no thanks, but I’ll keep your number.”  I just didn’t know how I was going to stop everything else in my life to write a book.  By early this year I had put a lot of thought into it, and realized that the opportunity may not wait for me forever.  I didn’t know exactly how, but (with the support of my husband) I was going to give it a try!  From the day I said “yes” to the publisher (I chose) I began one of the most exciting, stressful, fun, exhausting, satisfying adventures of my life!

I dove into recipe testing and created more dirty dishes over a few weeks than most families produce in a year!   Over one 48 hour period I made 9 different batches of pudding!  And that was just to settle on two recipes!  Once I had settled on the recipes, I began the photography process.

I called on a local friend and talented photographer, Gene Chutka to photograph the recipes.  Although I do take all of the photos for this blog, I was on a tight deadline for the book and knew that the added stress of taking beautiful photos would likely be more than I could handle!  Gene was such a perfect photographer to work with!  As I would set up each shot, place each garnish, and debate on how much drizzle was most appetizing, Gene was super patient and never seemed annoyed by my perfectionism!  Although we spent many long days setting up photo after photo, it was a very rewarding and fun experience.

Over the next few months I’ll be sharing some more details (and photos) of the behind the scenes work that went into creating the book.

Now… as for the book itself!

Glorious Layered Desserts is a modern take on traditional trifles.  I’ve mixed and matched ingredients to create delicious, innovative, and beautiful layered desserts, perfect for any occasion.

The first half of the book, titled “Layered Desserts”, is filled with creative and delicious, finished layered desserts.  The second half of the book, titled “Essential Recipes”, is filled with all the base recipes you’ll need to create each layered masterpiece.  These ”Essential Recipes” are recipes you can rely on again and again to create not only the layered desserts shown, but countless more delicious combinations!

Each finished layered dessert is composed of delicious, from scratch recipes (all included in the book), but you will also find lots of options to cut down on prep time with “store bought swaps”.

Over a dozen of the finished desserts can be made (from scratch) and served in under an hour!  Several recipes also includes adjustments for making the desserts gluten free,  sugar free and/or egg free.

From rich chocolate desserts to light and fruity treats, I think you’ll find something for everyone!

And of course, each and every recipe has a photo… yay!

Here’s a little peek…

Lemon Blueberry Trifle -

Lemon Blueberry Trifle (above)-  Light, fruity, and oh so delicious!  This is one of my favorite photos too =)

Pumpkin Caramel Banana Trifle -

Pumpkin Caramel Banana Trifle (above) – This was one of the last recipes I created for the book, but quickly became a favorite!

Homemade Fudge Sauce -

Homemade Fudge Sauce (above) – This rich chocolate sauce is one of the essential recipes.  This topping is easy to make and so delicious you’ll never want store-bought chocolate sauce again!

Chocolate and Nutella Cream Desserts - from Glorious Layered Desserts (available on Amazon)

Chocolate and Nutella Cream Dessert (above) - This two layer dessert is perfect to make ahead and is simple enough for a weeknight treat, but pretty enough for a special occasion.


Do you see anything that might peak your interest?  I hope so!  =)

Glorious Layered Desserts is available to pre-order on Amazon now, and will be shipped on or before March 11th.

I will be selling copies of the book through the blog (here on Glorious Treats) starting in March, and it will be available from several other sources as well (I’ll update you on those as the information is available).

I will be doing a book tour with book signings in a few select cities.  So far I know I’ll be in Salt Lake City (Utah), Folsom (California), Southern California, and a few others are in the works.  Please let me know if I should come visit your city!

Over the next few months I’ll be sharing more sneak peeks of the book, information on book signings, several fun giveaways and more!

A huge thank you to each of you who read this blog, leave occasional comments, and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!  I truly appreciate each bit of kindness and encouragement!   Thank you!!