Hosting a cookie exchange party can be a fun and creative way to gather friends, share cookie recipes and stock up on a variety of cookies. I hosted my first cookie exchange party last December. And even though the event was laid back it took a bit of planning AND math. I know! Math! Maybe the math doesn’t intimidate you the way it does me, but there is math in baking cookies for the exchange as well as math in planning for the exchange.
Congratulations! You are doing this. First things first, pick a theme. I don’t mean theme as in Frozen or Star Wars, although that could be fun. I mean theme as in cookies only or will bars and candy be included? There are lots of combinations to choose from. To be honest for my first exchange I kept it simple with cookies only.
Once you know what you will be exchanging you need to decide how many you will be exchanging. We are going to use the number 10 for our exchange scenario, because well, math. If you have 10 people participate and you have them bring 4 dozen cookies. That is 48 cookies. You would have 4 cookies to exchange with 8 cookies for tasting. See? I do believe there should be 4 dozen of the same cookie to exchange. If someone wants to bring different groups of 4 dozen cookies that can be good too. Last year I did 4 dozen of 3 different cookies. That’s a lotta cookies. ha!
Invitations can be as simple as a text or phone call or as formal as an actual paper invitation. I created an event on Facebook and invited people that way. I liked the option of conversation and sharing even before we met to exchange cookies. I love bringing people together. If you are like me you have an eclectic group of friends. Friends who may or may not know one another or have reason to know one another other than knowing YOU! You are the center. Bring those people together.
I realize I can be a bit of an overachiever at times and I may have had a few gifts for random drawings throughout the night. Haha It made me happy to share. My mom knits a lot. I will never wear all of the scarves she knits for me. So occasionally I share. I gave away an angel wings craft I made and something else, but I can’t remember what it was now. I like to keep things in groups of 3’s. There were also prizes. Most creative, Best Overall and something else. Gggrrr I can’t remember. Sorry. But the overall prize was a golden cookie cutter trophy. So great.
Also, we used the evening to collect hats, scarves and mittens for the Children’s Shelter. People often think of toys during this time of year, but everyday items are often where the biggest need arises.
I cleaned out the game room and set up a few tables so people could walk around tasting, visiting and judging. DO NOT let the size of your house determine whether or not you do this. Do it!! Do it anyway. Put the cookies on your dining table or tv trays even, but do it! It is so much fun!
****Oh, don’t forget to have everyone bring extra containers for the exchange or have something available to help people transport all of their cookies home.
Refreshments were simple. Milk and coffee. I also served mulled cider with the option for vodka. Its a party after all. Putting out a veggie tray with hummus was a welcome relief from cookie tasting. Make sure you check with everyone regarding food allergies or sensitivities. Then put on some Holiday music and enjoy.
I made 3 different cookies, however, my Melted Snowman Cookies won most creative so I’ve included the recipe below. Happy Exchanging!
Meringue “Melted” Snowman Cookies
Crispy, melt in your mouth “melting” snowmen meringue cookies are a fun and add a touch of whimsy to any gathering.
Preheat the oven to 200*. In a mixing bowl using a hand mixer or counter top mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and almond extract. Beat until the whites resemble snow and the peaks become stiff.
Slowly Add the cup of sugar. Continue whipping the whites until they are shiny.
Once the whites are shiny transfer the meringue to a piping bag or I use a storage kitchen bag.
Pipe the meringue onto a parchment lined cookie sheet making a zigzag motion to resemble snow melting.
Bake the cookies for 2 hours at 200*. Once the cookies have set turn the heat off and allow the cookies to cool for another 2 hours.
Using icing and food coloring or colored icing pipe eyes, nose, arms and buttons onto cookie however you wish.