Wednesday, December 7

Christmas Cookie Exchange

Baking and socializing are two of my favorite holiday pursuits. If baking is one of your passions as well but you find yourself too busy to spend days in your kitchen baking, think about hosting a Christmas Cookie Exchange. It's really very simple and the return you get on your investment is tremendous, not to mention the fond memories you will make.
A Christmas Cookie Exchange is a fun alternative to baking twelve different types of cookies yourself. After the cookie exchanges I have attended I can hardly wait to pop all of those wonderful cookies into my freezer. Then as  occasions arise I slowly start to bring them out. It's great to be able to pull cookies out for a party, or if friends stop by unexpectedly. I am always ready with a plate of goodies! Here are just a few things to remember when hosting a cookie exchange.
    Cookies for sharing!
  • Invite 11 of your closest friends. Let them know they need to bake 13 dozen cookies. It sounds like a lot but if you double your batch it will take no time at all. Instruct them to bring 12 dozen to the party. 11 dozen bagged individually in freezer Ziploc bags and 1 dozen on a plate or platter. These will be the cookies eaten at the party. Make sure they know to keep a dozen for themselves at home!
  • Everyone should bring a large container or a big Christmas bag to carry all of their cookies home. Also make sure everyone brings their recipe to share, they will need to bring 12 copies. Let every one pass out their recipes and make sure to have a good stapler on hand. I always like to make a cover out of festive scrapbook paper with the year and everyone's name.  Your friends will be thrilled with this impromptu recipe booklet.
  • Play your favorite Christmas music.
  • Serve a few snacks that are not sweet.
    Love the snowman! 
  • Have a table ready. As your friends come in have them leave their 11 dozen cookies on this table along with their recipes. If you have time decorate with festive Christmas decorations.
  • Serve a few savory snacks, not everyone is going to eat all 12 cookies. Make coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
  • A fun idea is to have everyone vote, a secret ballot, for their favorite cookie at the exchange. Who ever has the most votes wins! A cute Christmas ornament makes a good prize. Your friends will really have fun with this.
  • Cookies to take home.

  • Make sure you leave your friends plenty of time to go around the table collecting their bags of cookies. Suggest that they freeze them when they get home. It will help them to keep cookies "at the ready" all during the month of December.
  • Enjoy! Have fun with your friends visiting, laughing, sharing cookies and their recipes and making memories that will last far beyond December!

Here is one of my favorite cookie recipes:

Cherry Chocolate Toffee Cookies
     Makes 3 dozen Cookies
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  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 8 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, coarsely chopped*
  • 1 cup toffee pieces*


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick foil; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour and baking soda.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice during mixing. Add the egg; mix on high speed to combine. Add the vanilla; mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, and mix on low speed until well combined. Add the oats, cherries, chocolate, and toffee pieces; mix to combine after each addition.
  4. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of dough onto a lined baking sheet. I use a very small ice cream scoop, keeping my cookies very uniform. Repeat, spacing 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake cookies until golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container up to 4 days or freeze.
  6. Again, like with the scones, you could replace the fruit and chocolate with dried apricots and white chocolate. Anything really, just make sure your measurements are the same.
  7. This recipe can be doubled, tripled, get the idea! Enjoy!
   "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."  

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