I absolutely love the holiday season and everything that comes with the holidays, the music, the lights, and of course the FOOD!
Over the years the holiday traditions have changed/ evolved and with that the holiday traditions you grew up with are either no longer or have expanded along with family members. I know for me on Christmas Eve it was hosted at my grandparents home, than over the years my parents would host, and then most recently about 3 years ago, I started hosting at my house with my fiance and his family members too.
Over the years family dynamic has changed and the different traditions have emerged. I recently have decided since the holiday season is a challenging one to try to get everyone together that I would start a new tradition, a Cookie Swap or Cookie Exchange.
I started doing some “pintrest homework” how to host the perfect Cookie Exchange.
Here are some of my tip’s on hosting.
- Make a digital invite, almost everyone has Facebook now adays or an email. Save money and send the invites out digitally!
- Request your guests to make ingredients/ directions cards so if there is an allergy a guest will know
- Don’t know how many cookies to have your guest bring, basically that is up to you but what I did was ask my guests to bring 6 dozen cookies, I had 6 women come so each of them brought a dozen of each cookie home
All of your guests want some kind of guidance! Some are pros and some are baking for the first time. Usually, you get someone that breaks the rules, but it’s okay. As long as you let all of your guests know what you expect, it will all go smooth.
- Decorate your home, at this time I am sure your home is decorated for the holidays so you may not have to do too much
- When guests arrive with the cookies have them set up all the cookies in a designed area on the table, I had chalkboard labels to display each cookie name. This makes it easier for guests to know which cookie is which and make it easier for grabbing and voting!
- Provide a festive drink, you can do hot cocoa, but I just stuck with wine.
- Provide food/appetizers, while they are eye balling all of those cookies before the trade! You may choose whether you want your guests to taste the cookies or not at all. Depending upon your budget, you may serve some light appetizers, other sweets, or even a meal. I choose an array of pickings.
- If you are having a contest, give your guests voting ballets for the categories to vote
- provide prizes or winner ribbons.
Some Prize Categories can be,
- Most Amazing Display
- Prettiest Cookie
- Most Unique Cookie
- Most Outrageous Holiday Outfit
- Door Prize (Ask each guest to bring ONE cookie cutter. Collect all of the cookie cutters and give them away as a prize!)
Some Idea Prizes can be,
- Cookie Cookbook
- Cookie jar
- Cookie baking sheet
- Cookie cooling racks
- Mixing bowl
- Mixing spoon and/or spatula
- Measuring cups and/or spoons
- Cookie cutter(s)
- Cookie sprinkles
- Pretty apron
- Rolling pin
- Parchment paper
- Oven mitts
Now the time has come to exchange/ swap the cookies!
- Take a moment to ask each of guests to share a story of the cookie recipe they brought, or their adventures of baking them. Also, your guests may love to share some of their family holiday traditions. This gives the others new ideas for their families!
- Time to trade and exchange the cookies! I hand each of my guests an aluminum disposable to go container with lid– found at any kind of dollar store. I line each of them with holiday decorated tissue paper and now my guests are able to go around and fill up their containers!
I hope you all find this information helpful on planning a holiday cookie exchange party! If you are thinking of hosting one, take some bits and pieces from my experience of hosting and make them your own. Enjoy your time with you family and friends, this gathering should be a fun time to kick back and show your baking skills!
. . . .
The cookies I had made were Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies, below is my recipe
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups milk chocolate chips
- 1 (11 oz.) bag caramel bites
- 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream/milk
- 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate baking bars
- sea salt, for sprinkling on top
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, using an electric or stand mixer, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract until combined.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing between each egg.
- Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX!
- Using a spatula, stir in chocolate chips until combined.
- Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough into balls about 1 Tablespoons each and place onto prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
- Immediately after taking cookies out of the oven, using handle of a wooden spoon, make indentation into center of each cookie. Let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine caramel bits and heavy whipping cream. Microwave for 1 minute, stirring until caramel is completely melted. Spoon 1 teaspoon of caramel into each indentation.
- In a medium-sized bowl, microwave chocolate baking bars for 30 seconds, stirring after each 30-second intervals until chocolate is completed melted. Drizzle chocolate over cookies and sprinkle with sea salt.