Blogger Holiday Treat Exchange 2009

— by Caroline on Crack

Just last year I started my first ever holiday dessert exchange for me and my friends where we each bring over a dessert and recipe to share with everyone. At this intimate gathering, after we drink cocktails and nosh on savories we stand around the table ladened with all these incredible homemade desserts and go around the table introducing our treat. Afterward, we all dig in. Whatever was left over would be divvied up and packed up in Tupperware to take home. The goal is to not only go home with new recipes to add to our recipe boxes but to bring home a bunch of goodies.

This year was only the second time I’ve done this and it was a huge success again. Yay! I’d like to attribute that to the fact that the invitees are all huge foodies. We had something for every type of baker, from the advanced folks who’d like to try out H.C.’s elaborate mousse/pudding to the beginners/lazy peeps who’ll find my persimmon crumble crazy easy.

Naturally everything was so tasty and among the highlights of the party for me, besides the treats, were teasing H.C. about his naughty-sounding pousse, doing a happy dance after biting into Shelley’s chocolate chip cookies, marveling over the absinthe finish of Natalie’s absinthe brownies, that hot buttered rum and everyone saying they liked my persimmon crumble even though I had completely forgot one major step — seasoning the persimmon chunks. D’oh!

But hope you enjoy the recipes. I can certainly vouch for their yumminess and how great they would be for any holiday party. A couple of the recipes are missing but I’ll add them in as soon as I get them from the bakers.

See videos I took of each person describing their treat after the jump, and I have also included their Twitter and blog links.

Maya of ShopEatSleep goes over her bourbon balls whose recipe she got from I didn’t get to try this at the party since they were packaged so cutely that I didn’t want to disturb the wrapper. But I’m looking forward to enjoying these more-potent-than-usual balls. BTW, Maya said that she used anywhere from a half a cup to 3/4 cup of bourbon as opposed to the quarter cited in the recipe.

Here’s Natalie, aka The Liquid Muse explaining her absinthe brownies which were pretty awesome. You could actually taste the absinthe on the finish which made it extra special. Attaching little liquor bottles to the wrapped-up brownies was a nice touch.

Absinthe Brownies
by Natalie Bovis-Nelsen, The Liquid Muse
Makes 12-24

  • 6 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 5 oz butter
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons absinthe
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 2 cups walnuts (optional)

Heat oven to 400. Butter and flour muffin tins, or line with paper cupcake liners. Set aside

Melt the chocolate and butter on the stovetop. Once melted, stir in instant coffee and 1 tablespoon of absinthe. Set aside.

Mix eggs and salt with a hand-held blender. Once fluffy, add sugar and remaining tablespoon of absinthe. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture. Stir in nuts. Pour into muffin tins.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Remove when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

H.C. of LA/OC Foodventures describes the meaning of pousse. I’m thinking its naughtiness is intentional. I can’t get that song, “Pousse, pousse in my bouche” out of my head. In any case, his chocolate bourbon pousse was definitely the most foodie elaborate of the bunch with his cute little cardboard containers and Scoop-like spoons from Surfas and his drunken cranberries. So purty and fun.

Here’s Nancy, aka Tiny Nancer, going over her chocolate-dipped macaroon (whose recipe can be found on her blog, The Wanderkind) as well as the surprise pumpkin bread which is actually from a super-secret family recipe that she’s not allowed to divulge.

Shelley the fauxLAhipster describes her “simple” Thomas Keller ad hoc chocolate chip cookies. The only thing she says she did differently was mix the sugar and butter by hand and skip sifting the flour and chocolate. BTW I didn’t make her wear a nametag. She brought that herself.

Beth of vlog BusyBethf makes her praline grahams sound so easy to make.

Lara, Beth’s sister, doesn’t have a blog or Twitter but was good enough to participate with her trio of no-bake haystacks — chocolate coconut, coconut peanut butter chocolate chip and chocolate butterscotch flavored.