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Mike Riehls
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December 13, 2012
There are just some things not meant to be replaced, especially when the topic is Christmas cookies.

For example, Tammy Tedesco said, the green corn flake wreath cookie or the shortbread thumbprint with raspberry filling, even the gingerbread men and the rum balls need to be present at her annual cookie exchange.

When some 40 to 50 friends gather Tuesday, Dec. 18, for the 11th annual cookie exchange, they can pretty much be assured an Italian snowball cookie or a lemon bar will be awaiting.

The cookie exchange is by invitation only and began in Tedesco’s Grosse Pointe kitchen 10 years ago with 10 friends who loved to bake.

“I had moved to Grosse Pointe to a house big enough to host friends,” she said.

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The intent was each woman would bake one batch of cookies, and leave cookie-filled containers of 10 varieties.

“That’s how it started,” she said. “We were trading so we wouldn’t have to bake so many.”

Every year, friends asked if they could bring a friend until the bakers and cookie trays outgrew her house. This year, the event is in Tompkins Center. Each participant brings 10 dozen cookies and goes home with 10 dozen different cookies.

“It sounds like a lot,” she said, “but when you break it down, it’s two to three batches. People are looking to give things away. I give eight gifts out of 10 dozen.”

This year the 2 1/2 hour event is Cookies, Cocktail and a Cause.

Women are asked to donate items to Reading Works, an adult literacy program.

“We take on a different program that can impact Grosse Pointers,” she said. “Collectively, we have the power to make a difference in our neighboring communities that are less fortunate than us. Going forward, the cookie exchange will adopt a cause to accomplish this goal.”

Tedesco said her Detroit-based catering company, Edibles Rex, provides the dinner during which women network. Following dinner, women pull on plastic gloves, pick up tins and walk around tables laden with cookies, both home made and store bought.

According to Tedesco, there are a few women who do not bake. Instead, they bring store-bought cookies and that is acceptable.

Tedesco said she is making a cookie with peanut butter sandwiched between two Ritz crackers and dipped in chocolate.

Her idea of a fruitcake cookie, she said, was vetoed and she had to put the idea on the back burner.

“There aren’t a lot of fruitcake lovers,” she said.

However, she has heard there will be a hermit cookie, a recipe resurrected from an old Betty Crocker cookbook. It has cold coffee blended in, she said.

“You don’t taste the coffee, but it has a distinct flavor,” Tedesco said.

Along with the hermit cookies, there also will be a thumbprint baked with caramel center, potato chip cookies, cookies with ricotta cheese and a raspberry filled shortbread cookie. And Tedesco’s 10 dozen green cornflake wreath cookies and 10 dozen chocolate-dipped Ritz peanut butter cookies.

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