Blog Cookie Swap
Hard as it may be to believe, it is not too early to start planning holiday parties. For those of us who love to bake, love to try new recipes, and love to get together with friends, a cookie swap is the perfect party: You bring a batch of your best holiday cookies, spend a few hours socializing, and come home with a dozen or so different kinds of cookies to serve during the holiday season, as well as a recipe for each one.
Hosting a cookie swap is easy, and there's no one right way to do it. Here are a few pointers:
- There are many different approaches to the cookie swap, some more organized and rule oriented and some more freeform. Some swaps link the number of cookies brought to the number of guests, while others ask for a set amount, anywhere from one dozen to six dozen. The number of cookies you bring is the number you leave with, so I think you'd want at least three or four dozen to make the party worthwhile. That's one batch of most kinds of cookies.
- Some hosts like to specify that the cookies be holiday-appropriate (i.e. fancy or rich, and not your everyday cookie jar fare), and that they be regular baked cookies (and not cookie-candy hybrids or confections like chocolate-dipped potato chips). You may want to ask guests to tell you ahead of time what they plan to bring, so you don't wind up with a lot of duplicates.
- Everyone should bring their cookies nicely displayed on a platter (or you can provide the platters), and also bring a container large enough to hold the assorted cookies they bring home. Provide labels to display with the cookies, either blank, to be filled out by the guests, or pre-printed by you.
- As for sharing recipes, there are a couple of ways to handle this: Either have everyone print out the recipe and bring it, or have them email you the recipe and you print up the recipes for everyone. You can put as little or as much effort into this as you want, from simple printouts, to keepsake booklets.
- The idea of a cookie swap is to bring home a lot of cookies, so the cookies are not the party food. Provide some simple snacks and beverages.
If you're participating in a cookie swap as a guest, remember that the cookies should be sturdy enough to travel and endure some handling (meringues are not a good choice) and they should be festive and special looking (this is not the place for oatmeal-raisin, however yummy). Rolled cookies cut into holiday shapes win on all accounts, and a few cut-out cookies make a dramatic focal point for any tray of assorted holiday cookies.
Browse through our recipe section and you're sure to get plenty of ideas. Here are some recipes I particularly like for bringing to an exchange:
- Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pecan Praline Cookies
- Browned Butter Toffee Cookies
- Maple Walnut Cookies
- Orange Poppyseed Cookies
- Gingerbread Cookies 2
- Lemon Cookies