Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Basics to Hosting a Holiday Cookie Exchange Party

Do you love setting the table with a huge assortment of cookies but can't stand the thought of spending several days baking? Then a cookie exchange party is the perfect party for you!

It's simple to organize and throw your own party--we'll walk you through it. Check out our tips to make the party extra-special, and browse our Christmas cookie recipes from around the world.

The Basics

Ask each guest to bring a big batch of cookies: estimate 1 dozen multiplied by the total number of guests. Provide guidelines to each baker so that you get a good cookie assortment: rolled cookies, bar cookies, drop cookies, decorated cookies. Your friends may have family recipes they wish to share.

Each guest should also bring copies of their cookie recipe and containers to take cookies home. Heavy duty plastic freezer bags will work for sturdy cookies, but decorated cookies and more delicate shapes should be packaged in tins or sealable plastic containers. Provide waxed paper or parchment for separating layers of cookies.

Party Nibbles

You may want to sample the cookies you're swapping, or you can stay away from sweet treats and set out an array of savory snacks (popcorn, pretzel, party mix, chips with hot dips). Cocoa, hot cider or eggnog are always good choices for a cookie exchange party.

Variety is the Spice of Life

To make your Cookie Exchange Party extra-special.

1. Extend Your Circle of Sharing

Have guests to bring an unopened package of store-bought cookies or canned food. You can then collect the packaged food and bring them to a homeless shelter or food pantry.

2. Share Cookie Stories

During the actual cookie-swap segment of the party, tell stories. It could be a story about the cookie's origin, where the cook learned the recipe, or just holiday baking memories.

3. Create Cookie Recipe Booklets

Ask your guests to mail (or e-mail) their cookie recipes to you, or collect the recipes on the day of the party. Assemble a booklet of recipes for everyone to take home with them.

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