It’s the holiday season, so many of you are baking furiously, taking dozens of cookies into the office or to parties, and stockpiling your freezer with cookies! Read on for tips on hosting your own cookie swap party, cookie cookbooks I like, and cookie recipe ideas from this blog and many others!
I love a good Cookie Swap and two years ago I hosted my first Cookie Swap in Italy that I’m repeating this year for the third time (wanna come?). Here’s how you can get started yourself!
- Suggestions for hosting a great Cookie Swap
- Cookie recipes from Ms. Adventures in Italy
- Cookie cookbooks to inspire your cookies
- Cookie recipes from bloggers around the web
Suggestions for hosting a great Cookie Swap – Exchange
First of all, to have a Cookie Swap, you need some ground rules, and you need Cookies. First, the suggestions to have a great cookie swap:
- Timing. I find a mid-afternoon meet-up time for a few hours works well for the swap, so people don’t have to decide if they eat dinner or eat cookies…we know which one they’ll choose but it’s better to make sure your guests can follow-up the swap with some real food – and everyone loves a party that leaves them time to go to a second party that night!
- Every guest, really everyone, brings cookies. If a couple comes, or a guest brings a friend, that person brings their own batch of cookies, too! This way you keep the ratio of guests to cookies very high. 2 people = 2 batches of cookies. Stick to this rule! That way, the more the merrier is always true.
- Each guest should bring at least 2 dozen cookies (of the same type). This is the minimum I recommend for a party of a dozen people, so they can sample one at the party and take one or more home. If you’re having a larger party or want to have your guests take many cookies home, you can suggest 4 or 6 dozen, but this can be a daunting amount of cookies for new or only occasional bakers. Decide based on your crowd.
- Give a prize, and award originality! I like to give a little prize (under $5) as an incentive, and instead of focusing on only the best-looking or tasting, I give a prize for the best-named cookie, so even those ugly cookies can be rewarded if their owner has a bit of creativity. Check out my post on the 1st cookie swap for some examples of interesting cookie names.
- Encourage your guests to bring more than one type of cookie if they feel like it. Some guests may go gung-ho and make more than one type of cookie – the more the merrier! Just make sure they bring 2 dozen of any type of cookie so others can try it and take it home.
- Provide take-home containers or plates to display the cookies. The best part of the exchange is taking cookies home and therefore each guest should bring an extra container or you’ll need to provide some. The cookies need to be displayed in something before they are put into containers to take home, so offer your own plates for the display and then let the guests refill the now-empty containers they brought their cookies in.
- Provide some fun or bubbly drinks, or the classic milk. Sampling cookies is hard work and it can be thirsty work, too. Provide some champagne or prosecco, cold milk, and of course water for your guests to wash the cookies down. Try to stay away from overly-sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice – save the sugar for the cookies!
- Provide some sort of salty-savory snack (optional). With so much sugar, you might want to provide a counterpoint to the sugar by putting out fresh vegetables or some crackers so guests can take a breather from the sugar. Or maybe not.
- Holiday music. Need I say more? A little background music does wonders for a party. I usually load up holiday music on my computer and put it to work in a corner. My favorite holiday albums to liven things up – some are even on sale now: Christmas with the Rat Pack, Carpenters’ Christmas Portrait, Elvis Christmas, the 99 most Essential Christmas Masterpieces and many others!
Cookie recipes from Ms. Adventures in Italy
Now, on to the cookies! From my own site, here are some cookie recipes you can try:
and from my site, tips for Decorating Cookies from Cookie Swap Book Author, Julia Usher.
Cookie cookbooks to inspire your cookies
If you’d rather buy a book, here are some books focused on cookie swaps and cookies in general, many of which I’ve used as inspiration or blogged about here!
|Very Merry Cookie Party: How to Plan and Ho…
by Virginia Van Vynckt
|Martha Stewart’s Cookies: The Very Best Tre…
by Martha Stewart Living Magazine
|Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throu…
by Julia M. Usher
|The Cookie Party Cookbook: The Ultimate Gui…
by Robin L. Olson
|Good Housekeeping The Great Christmas Cookie Swap
||Cookie Craft Christmas: Dozens of Decoratin…
by Valerie Peterson
|The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Re…
by Gourmet Magazine
|Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mou…
by Alice Medrich
|Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and…
by Anita Chu
Cookie recipes from bloggers around the web
Here are some cookie recipe links from some great websites and blogs I love:
- Cookies at Simply Recipes
- David Lebovitz Cookies, bars & brownies
- Baking Bites Cookie recipes (try some Girl Scout cookies for the swap!)
- Dessert First cookie recipes
- Smitten Kitchen cookie recipes
- 101 Cookbooks Cookie Recipes
- Gluten free cookie recipes from Karina’s Kitchen
- Cookie recipes from Baking Bites
- Perfect Pantry’s favorite cookie recipes
- A Guide to Cookie Swaps & 28 Cookie recipes at Serious Eats
- Cookies at Tastespotting
- Cookies at FoodGawker
- Better Homes & Gardens Favorite holiday cookie recipes
- Washington Post’s 2009 Holiday Cookie guide & 2010
Do you do cookie swaps? Have any suggestions for hosting a successful one? Do you have any favorite cookie recipes to share?
Note: The cookbook and music links are affiliate links to Amazon. The blog author will get 4-6% of the purchase price. Or you can use Google to find another option!
Joanne at Frutto della Passione says
Better Homes and Gardens has an amazing list of Christmas cookie recipes as well. Many of them are also available in the Christmas baking editions of the magazine, but the selection on the website is great!
Ms. Adventures in Italy says
@Joanne thanks for the tip – you’re right! I’ve added them to the list as well. :)
The Food Hunter says
thanks for sharing all of these great cookie ideas.
A cookie swap! I’ve never participated in one – guess I’ll have to host it myself!
yummy!!! Love cookie!
Susan Van Allen says
You are so right! Time to start the baking.
The Gourmet Cookie Book is fab, as is http://www.epicurious.com for cookie recipes.
I love this Hazelnut Shortbread Dipped In Chocolate Cookie: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Hazelnut-Shortbread-Sticks-231311
Always a big hit!
Love it! We’re in Rome…maybe we can meet up for cookies some time.
I’m a cookie addicted. I love them and i love backing them. A swap is would be great! When you come to Rome? :)
Tomorrow evening a great family party for Xmas: 25 people and plenty of mine cookies. I took holiday to do them. Power of cookies ! LOL