Holiday Tips –
Day 1: How To Do
We have decided to dedicate this week to the Cookie Swap! The idea of a Cookie Swap Party is rather old but (like peasant blouses) in again. Gather friends, bring cookies, eat and enjoy. But it can be a bit more complicated than that. Have you entertained the idea of hosting a Cookie Swap – Here are some ideas from different sources – click the links to read the entire articles on cookie swaps.
The Concept and Why do it from Simple Mom:
Invite a group of bakers to come to your home and have each one bring 10-12 dozen homemade cookies. Bake up a big batch of your family’s favorite holiday treats and exchange baked goods together in a cheery, festive environment. Everyone leaves with a variety of goodies to stash away for Christmas entertaining – and perhaps a new recipe or two.
Is a swap really as great as it is made out to be?
A cookie swap is a social event with a practical side. For me, it marks the beginning of the holiday season and brings friends together for more than just cocktails and chit-chat.
A cookie swap also…
• Saves valuable time during the busiest season of the year. It is much faster to make multiple batches of the same cookie, than to track down ingredients for 7 or 8 different recipes and prepare each one.
• Provides you with a wonderful selection of homemade baked goods to serve your guests over the holidays.
• Introduces new types of cookies to your palate and unique recipes to your repertoire.
• Provides a fun, casual social event that is easy to host – the guests bring the goodies!
• Offers opportunities for a charitable outreach. Guests can be asked to bring non-perishable food items to donate to a local food bank.
Some Ideas on how from Martha Stewart:
Invite guests three to four weeks in advance. We think eight people is the ideal number — manageable, with enough for a good variety of cookies. Have each person bring along copies of her recipe as well as some supplies for pretty packaging, such as ribbons, tags, or boxes.
Ask each guest to make a dozen cookies for every person in attendance, plus an extra dozen for sampling; you do the same. This way, everybody will go home with several dozen in different flavors to give as gifts. If that seems daunting, scale back; if eight of you have six dozen to swap, you will take a few less of each kind but will still have an ample number. Decide for, or with, everyone who will make what, coordinating ahead of time to avoid duplicates. Sturdy cookies are best (very thin or delicate varieties won’t pack well). The ones on these pages are good choices; they’re all easy to bake in large quantities — and they offer a wide range of flavors.
On the day of the party, brew plenty of coffee and tea, and clear a few tables for sampling, swapping, and packaging cookies. Provide several platters and cake stands, and have each guest put out a plate of cookies for tasting, with stacks of recipes alongside if you like. Let everyone sample the treats — and maybe even take a vote on the best one. When it’s time to trade, set out the remaining cookies and let each person walk around the table to pick up their share of each. Or have people take only what they need to package one gift at a time, and return to the table for more as they wish.
If Martha is a bit much try these 5 easy steps from The Stir:
Step 1: I’m sure the moment you say “Cookie Swap!” you’ll have verbal RSVPs, but we’re adults now. Gotta make it formal (and I’m not talking about Facebook event invites). I love the idea of creating a homemade invitation on a recipe card to set the tone. In the invite, ask each guest to make a dozen cookies for each person in attendance, plus an extra dozen for sampling. This way, everyone will get to taste test and still have plenty to take home and share with others.
Step 2: Once all of the RSVPs have filtered in, plan ahead who is making what so that you don’t end up with duplicates.
Step 3: On the day of the party, set out several platters and cake stands, each with proper labels of the cookie varieties, and have each guest put out their plates for tasting, with stacks of the recipes beside them. When it’s time to trade, set out the remaining cookies and let each person walk around the table to pick up their share of each.
Step 4: Offer a packaging station filled with cookie boxes, parchment paper, saran wrap, scotch tape, and decorative ribbon so guests can pack their treats with flair. Or, if you’ve hoarded old-fashioned cookie tins over the years, now’s the time to dish them out.
Step 5: For the menu, keep foods simple — after all, we’ll be busy stuffing ourselves with cookies. Cheese and fruit platters are a nice change of pace from the sweets. For drinks, you have to have milk, but you should also provide coffee, tea, or cider. If you’re boozing, keep it sophisticated with Champagne cocktails.