Christmas is the perfect time for a cookie exchange! Just bake six dozen cookies of the same kind and exchange to take home six dozen different kinds of cookies! If you don’t know anyone hosting a cooking exchange, it’s easy to host your own. First, set a date at least a couple of weeks in advance to give everyone enough notice. After all, it does take a little planning to bake six dozen cookies. I usually pick a Sunday afternoon. Most people I know are available on Sundays and if you pick around 2:00 than you don’t have to worry about feeding people lunch or dinner. However, light snacks would be nice to munch on while waiting for everyone to arrive. Keep it simple. You don’t want to stress yourself out during the holiday season.
So you have picked your date and time; now it’s time to send the invites. Be clear in your instructions! As I mentioned, its six dozen cookies of the same kind’ that everyone needs to bake. I usually have everyone bag them by the half dozen. That equals twelve bags of six cookies each. This will make it easier for the exchanging process. For the sake of variety, it works out nice if at least twelve people come to the party. This year I had a record 18 people at my party! Another optional idea I tried this year is I mentioned on the invitation that I would be collecting food for the local food pantry. I figured with 18 people coming, that would be a nice basket of food.
Now that you have a house full of people coming, you need to decide what type of cookies you will be making. In order to keep it simple, make what you know. That means, if you make gingerbread cookies every year and can practically make them in your sleep, this would be the easiest solution. If you don’t bake very often, my suggestion would be to find a simple recipe. I love magazines with pictures because you know what the final result should look like! Also look for a recipe with common ingredients. You don’t want to waste time searching for ingredients you have never heard of. If you find a new, more complicated recipe, you might want to try it when you have more time to experiment, like the summer.
When preparing your cookies, keep in mind you want them to be fresh. This means either making them within a couple of days before the party or making them ahead of time and freezing them. If freezing is desired and frosting is involved, do not put frosting in the freezer. Take the cookies out of the freezer a couple of days before the party and frost.
The day of the party has arrived. I usually put out some simple snacks and drinks because not everyone arrives on time. Also, know your guests. I have one guest with a nut allergy. As guests arrive with their cookies, I simply ask if they contain nuts or not and separate them on the table. I let the guest with the nut allergy pick first. Then everyone else follows. I keep spare grocery bags around for everyone to put their cookie bags in. Enjoy your cookies!