Recipes on December 2, 2011 by

Cookie Swap: How-to

I just love a good cookie swap! Not only does it allow you to get together with your favorite people, but you reap the rewards, but not the pain of hours of baking and walk away with all sorts of different cookies that you may or may not have attempted on your own. It’s been a few years since my last cookie swap, but I still remember the joy of multiple mixers humming and flour flying as five of us scurried around the kitchen making cookies.

You can do a cookie swap a few different ways, but here are my basic tips for a successful shindig.

  1. Make a game plan:Decide if you want to do pure cookie swapping or if you want to do some cookie swapping and some cookie baking. I prefer the latter, but that’s just me.
    • Pure Cookie Swap: Decide how many cookies you want each person to bring for swapping. Traditionally, you would ask each person to bring a dozen cookies per guest. If you’re having a big group, you may want to cut that back to a half dozen.
    • Cookie Swap/Baking Party: Decide how many cookies you want to make at the party and how many you want people to bring ahead of time. Realistically, you probably have time to bake 2 or 3 types of cookies as a group. Ask people to bring a half dozen for each guest and everyone should walk away with plenty of cookies.
  2. Pick a date: It’s the beginning of December, so it’s definitely not too late to plan a cookie swap, but folks are busy, so getting a date on the calendar is something you should do as soon as possible. If you’re finding it hard to get everyone to commit to a date, maybe doing a pure cookie swap is the way to go- that way everyone can bake what they want and only get together for a short time to swap cookies.
  3. Invite people: While getting a bunch of different cookies is the goal, you also don’t want to burden your guests with baking 12 dozen cookies ahead of time. Pick a reasonable number to invite- I’d recommend 4-7 people. In your invitation, include a few simple cookie recipes or resources in case your guests need inspiration.
  4. Talk to your guests about food allergies/restrictions:Check to find out of any food allergies or dietary restrictions. This is important- if you have a person with a nut allergy, you most definitely don’t want half your guests showing up with cookies that have walnuts. If you have someone on a gluten free diet, you may want to make a game plan with that person specifically. There is no reason they can’t join in the fun, but planning ahead will make sure everyone has a good time and no one gets sick.
    • If you are trying to plan a full gluten-free or allergen-free cookie swap, be sure to communicate the importance of preventing cross contamination and give them ideas for what to bring if they are not sure what to make.
    • If there is anyone on your list with a food allergy- ask the other guests to label the cookies with any allergens that might be present.
  5. Party Preparation:
    • If you will be baking, make sure to have extra aprons, measuring cups, butter, flour, eggs and other essentials on hand.
    • Make sure to have extra containers, baggies, aluminum foil, etc. on hand for packaging up any cookies that you bake or need to be split up still.
    • If you’re doing a pure cookie swap- have some holiday paper plates or containers available. You could take advantage of everyone being together to make up gift plates together. Put 2 to 3 of each cookie on a plate, wrap with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and a bow. Now, not only have you saved yourself hours of baking, but you walk away with ready-to-go gifts. Tuck in the freezer until you’re ready to distribute. These make great gifts for teachers, hair dressers, mailmen, and party hosts.
    • Have extra recipe cards on hand in case folks want to swap recipes (not a bad idea to make sure everyone brings a copy of their recipe to include with their cookie contribution).
    • Serve light refreshments and beverages that will keep your guests from needing to break into those cookies.
  6. Finally, Have fun! The holiday season is stressful enough without making extra stress for yourself. The point of the cookie swap is to share quality time with your friends and loved ones, save time in the kitchen and walk away with an assortment of cookies.

Simple cookie recipes:

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