Cookie swaps or exchanges are fun parties where you bring cookies to the host’s house to share with friends and also to eat at the party. Usually this means bringing a dozen cookies for each guest and the host, and one dozen for consuming on the spot. Large cookie parties or exchanges might request only a half dozen cookies per guest to keep the cookie baking time and expense reasonable.
Cookie exchanges are very popular during the Christmas holiday season. How nice it is to have a wide selection of cookies to put out on a tray for your family and guests. A selection of beautiful cookies whether frosted or decorated with sprinkles or dried cherries, chocolate shots or melted chocolate is a treasure during the holiday season when many people do more entertaining than usual.
A successful cookie exchange is one where all participants try to bring the best cookies they make, package them attractively and include the recipe so guests can recreate the cookies again if they love the taste.
Below are a few simple dos and don’ts for giving a cookie exchange and for attending one:
Don’t be alarmed if it’s cookie party day and your cookies are not good enough to bring. If you have burned your cookies or forgotten an ingredient, just dump the cookies and get to a bakery fast! It is better to go to the bakery and buy cookies to bring rather than bring cookies which will most likely be thrown out or are inedible. You can also choose to bring bags of holiday Hershey’s kisses or m&ms, one large bag for each person but only do this in a pinch.
Do take the time to find cute containers before party day. Cellophane cones or bags, or inexpensive small baskets can be filled and beribboned and make a great way to present your cookies. Also you can purchase inexpensive holiday plates, decorative tins, small plastic trays or even sturdy high-end paper plates for packaging your treats. Many frugal party goers look for special dishes or tins all year round, collecting them to use for their annual exchange.
Don’t forget your own family! Your family will smell these wonderful cookies baking in the oven and they will want some too. Make sure you make enough batches of cookies so that you have enough for the party and have a few dozen left over for your family too.
Do plan ahead on how you will protect your cookies during the trip to the host’s house. Since you’ve spent so much time making your cookies as perfect as possible, you want to be sure that they don’t crack, crumble or stick together in transport. Cardboard boxes filled with crumbled newspaper are one way to pack your cookies for the road. Or you can save the plastic clam-shell containers that lettuces and spinach come in and reuse them to keep your cookies from being crushed.
Don’t plan to host a party unless you are prepared to do all the work of making your own cookies to share and also are willing to provide food and drink to your guests. Serve some simple appetizers like bowls of chips or pretzels; raw veggies and a dip; heat and serve items like stuffed clams, bagel bites or cheese sticks. Have your coffee pot ready to turn on and your tea kettle filled with fresh water. Offer wines, beer, soft drinks or juices and sit down with your friends to munch and crunch and share your beautiful cookies.