KITCHEN BITCH: Christmas Cookie Monster Mash-Up MAVIS LINNEMANN Last year, my best friend Laura and I threw our first annual ladies-only holiday bash. We decorated my little apartment like it was the North Pole, made more appetizers than we could ever eat, baked a million cookies for our guests to decorate, and whipped up about 15 different colors of icing to top both the cookies and homemade gingerbread houses. Needless to say, we were exhausted by the end of the day, but the party was a huge success and we vowed to learn from our mistakes when we planned our holiday extravaganza the next year. Fast forward one year later, and our now-annual Christmas party is only a week away. We decided to forego a cooking decorating party for the ever-popular cookie exchange so we could greatly limit the number of cookies (and batches of icing) we have to make in advance. Plus, now we can focus more on our savory appetizers, mulled wine, prizes and our (sort of) larger-than-life Christmas decorations. Laura and I start planning weeks in advance for this yuletide shindig: “Trophies” need to be found and assembled for each category winner; decorations need to be collected and hung; menus need to be planned; food needs to be bought and cooked as far in advance as possible; and last, but certainly not least, we need to do a trial run on our cookie recipe. We made enough sugar cookies and royal icing last year that I don’t want to look at the stuff for at least another year, so we reviewed our collective repertoire for a real crowd pleaser.  It didn’t take us long to decide we needed to do a take on everyone’s favorite snack cookie—OREOS. MORE

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