Monday, December 28, 2015

Running for Christmas Cookies

One of the first events I penciled into my calendar for December was the 2nd Annual Christmas Cookie Run.  I started hosting this event last year for a group of my favorite Charlotte swim-bike-run friends and it was far too much fun to be a one-time event.  The premise is simple - run several miles, eat dinner, hang out, and exchange cookies.  If there's one thing to know about triathletes, it's that we LOVE to eat!

I prepared two types of cookies for the party - chocolate covered cherry cookies and lemon ricotta cookies.  Combined with a third batch of triple ginger cookies, I baked nearly 200 cookies in the course of 24 hours.  

To balance the abundance of sugar that our cookie exchange would provide, I prepared a dinner that included butternut squash, sweet potato chips sand salsa, vegetables and hummus, crackers and goat cheese topped with a fig spread, and giant Christmas grapes.

Once the group of 15 arrived, we headed out for a four mile run on a rather warm December night.  Our destination was Hillside Avenue's famous Christmas globes.  This street of a little less than a mile features hundreds of lit balls hung from the trees in all of the yards.  Our run even included a stop for caroling at a friend's house, where we sang a few lines of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" before realizing we didn't actually know all of the lyrics.

We paused for a group picture, complete with our reflective gear.  We made multiple attempts with a self timer, but ultimately recruited some neighbors to take a better group picture.

Eventually we made it back to the house to nourish our grumbling stomaches - starting with dinner, but moving quickly to cookies.

Everyone prepared 4 dozen of their favorite Christmas cookie, resulting in a wonderful selection eating.  Some of the standouts were flourless chocolate orange cookies, oreo cookie balls, cake batter cookies, snowflakes, whoopie pies, and fudge.

The benefit from a cookie exchange is that you bring a single type of cookie, but go home with a box full of more than a dozen different varieties.  Our crew of triathletes had a wonderful night running, eating, and celebrating Christmas!  Next year, hopefully someone else will be able to host and I'll make the drive from Atlanta to spend the night with a fantastic group of friends.

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