My first-ever (annual?) cookie swap!

I mentioned in my holiday wrap-up that I hosted my first-ever cookie exchange party on December 8. Have you ever attended – or hosted – one of these? I hadn’t attended one for many years – and had never hosted one before. I will just say, it was about as stress-free (for me) as I could possibly make it, and that was my goal – I didn’t want to create a monster! Everyone had a great time, including myself.

Generally, a cookie swap party is where guests bring a TON of their favorite homemade cookie to share, and everyone goes around the table collecting up massive amounts of all the cookies to take home and/or give as gifts. This requires guests to bring anywhere from six to nine dozen cookies apiece – at least, that’s what I’ve read. I wasn’t really comfortable asking guests to make nine dozen cookies – it just seemed like a huge time commitment, in addition to attending the party, at a very busy time of year. So, my party was more of a cookie sampling recipe exchange than an actual cookie swap. Although as it turned out, there were plenty of cookies for each guest to take home a plate full!

Here’s me (second from left) and my guests – Shirley, Val, Molly, Penney & Vicki:

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I chose a Sunday early in December for my party – I wanted everyone to have time to make the cookies they’d sampled, in their own holiday baking. Each guest was asked to bring 3 dozen cookies, homemade and “holiday special,” along with 12 copies of their recipe to share. I also asked each guest to be sure to RSVP by a certain date so I could plan for the right numbers.

As they arrived we set their cookies on pretty plates and platters on the cookie table. As a kick-off to the party, we played a memory game where each guest introduced herself and talked about the cookies she brought – then guests had to match up each person with their cookies on a scorecard. Following this game, we sampled all the cookies and chatted about the merits and challenges of each one – we had Oreo Balls (aka “Chocolate Salty Balls,” Coffee Cookies, Alfajores, Easy Peanut Butter cookies, Gum Drop cookies, and Pretzel Turtles.

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We also played my own original game, “Christmas Movie Mix-Up.” For this game I wrote one-sentence summaries of the plots of 8 Christmas Movies, and they had to guess the movie name based on the plot summary.

The final game was “Who’s Going to Make It Up the Street in the Snow,” because, being Iowa in December, it had started snowing early in the morning! Fortunately this didn’t keep anyone from attending, but by the time the party ended we had a couple inches of it to contend with. Fortunately everyone won this game and made it home safely.

 

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In all the day ended up full of fun, friends, and winter beauty. I’m SO glad I did it, and will definitely be hosting another cookie party in 2014!

More soon,

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5 thoughts on “My first-ever (annual?) cookie swap!

  1. Such fun Janet! My best friend hosted an amazing cookie exchange party every year for over 10 years….maybe 15. It was always such fun to attend. We only brought 2-3 dozen cookies as well and sampled them and still took home a plate full. She always had awards for different things….easiet recipe, best display, best recipe card, etc. I won several things over the years and always tried to be super creative in my presentation. One year, I made an orange flavored cookie and placed a small branch with leaves and an orange from my mom’s tree on the tray. The recipe cards I made looked like orange dreamsicles which was the name of the cookie. One year I made my recipe card look like a snowball which is what my cookies were called. My daughter made button shaped cookies one year and displayed them in a sewing box with a large needle and twizzler rope thread running through the button holes. One year I displayed my cookies in a book shaped tin and made my recipe cards look like bookmarks. Sorry this is so lengthy….I got carried away remembering all the fun we had! I am thinking about hosting one this coming up year…or maybe a crafty christmas party. Not sure yet, but I am considering it. Have a blessed Sunday my friend…..Vicky

    • HI Vicky! Wow, sounds like you had a lot of fun with the parties you attended! I had read so many things about all the clever displays people do for these things! I kept my prizes pretty simple – I did a “grand raffle prize” (a vintage Hallmark cookie jar from Ebay!) and smaller prizes for the primary games (Christmas-themed S&P shakers). That was mainly for my benefit – LOL – it’s such a busy time of year and I didn’t want to over-commit myself in terms time spent figuring out judging, prizes, etc. for multiple categories. That said, we did have some neat displays – Penney made the peppermint tray to display her Pretzel Turtles, and Val had the cutest cookie stand! I had my homemade “treat trays” ready to go (the raised plates you see on the table with the candlestick bases), as well as some oval platters, along with a Dollar Tree “silver” platter next to each one for overflow.

      Alfajores are Argentinian sandwich cookies! They feature a sweet biscuit dough cut into circles, with dolce de leche in the center. Dolce de leche is essentially sweetened condensed milk that’s been thickened by baking. Here’s a link to a blog post by a gal who made them, which includes links to the cookie recipe and the dolce de leche recipe. They were very good!

      http://www.recipegirl.com/2009/03/30/how-to-make-homemade-alfajores/

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