For many, holiday baking is as important as gift giving. If you love to bake, a wonderful way to share your scrumptious creations is by hosting a holiday cookie exchange. Not only is it a great way to share a glass of pre-holiday cheer, your cookie jar will get filled to the brim with a wide assortment of tasty treats! To keep the event sweet and stress-free, follow our checklist below.
The Guest List
Keep your list intimate – a maximum of eight participants is recommended. Not only do you want to be able to spend time with each guest, it’s important to remember that for every guest you need to make a dozen cookies. Quick math for eight guests means you’ll be baking a total of 96 cookies! For most cookie exchanges, five or six guests is a much more manageable number.
Before sending out invitations, be sure to settle on a date that suits everyone’s schedule. The holidays can be a very busy time. Once availability has been confirmed, go “old school” and delight your friends with a pretty paper invitation, delivered by hand, right to their mailbox. The little extra effort will be noted and is worthy of the festive season.
Will you be making cookie dough or baked cookies? Or both? Cookie dough cuts down prep time for the baker and allows participants to bake fresh cookies as they need them throughout the holidays and into the cold winter months. On the other hand, beautifully decorated cookies have lots of WOW factor, and the recipient doesn’t have to fuss with baking them.
To ensure every baker is making a different type of cookie, ask everyone to submit their recipe before the exchange. Print the recipes off on festive paper or on recipe cards to share with participants. Eco-conscious? Create an online document to collate all the recipes electronically, include a photo of the finished cookie, and credit the baker and the original source.
Invite everyone to bring a few extra cookies to share with the group over a cup of hot chocolate, tea or a fancy festive cocktail! After all, the real reason for the exchange is to get together with good friends before the hectic holiday schedule takes over. Have a packing station for guests to gather their goodies with gift boxes, bags, and raffia. Paper doilies make beautiful inserts.
PRO TIP: Don’t let a scorched and burned cookie sheet stop your baking plans. Just sprinkle a little baking soda on the sheet, follow it up with some hydrogen peroxide and a bit more baking soda on top. Let the cleaning agents sit for up to two hours, then wipe it all away with a rag or coarse sponge and rinse clean. Like holiday magic, your old cooking sheet will look like new!