Holiday Cookie Exchange
By Chris Sadler
With the Christmas holidays coming up, many cooks will be
looking at lots of baking and preparations for the parties and get- togethers
not to mention the big day itself. How can you reduce the stress and still put
out a variety of tasty treats for family and friends? Try a cookie exchange.
The general idea of a cookie exchange is a group of friends each
bake a batch of cookies to be shared amongst the group. Each member concentrates
on and only has to purchase ingredients for one recipe but still gets a variety
of goodies to offer at their own home. You need ground rules and everyone has
different ideas so it is a good idea to discuss the details in advance so
everyone knows their role.
For some parties there is a strict rule about the cookies being
homemade. At others the gathering is more important so if a member feels a time
crunch at the last minute they can choose to buy something from the bakery.
Store bought bagged cookies would be taboo but bakery, homemade-like would be
First, agree on a timeline. Make sure each member can make the
commitment and ask that they each set aside baking time at least a few days
before the scheduled exchange (that way they have time to bake and time to fix
it if something goes wrong). Another reason you might want to bake the cookies
early is they "cure" a bit. Fresh cookies don't really transport well and tend
to crumble badly during the exchange.
Ask your members to send you their recipes so you can make
copies for the others and ensure that no two are making the same cookies (don't
forget, variety is the key!). They don't all have to bake cookies either, bars
and macaroons work really well too. It is a nice idea if they include a few
lines about why they chose this recipe or any memories they have of making or
eating these cookies. Sharing the details of how the recipe was once grandma's
or how you set fire to the kitchen one time while baking them is half the fun of
the party! Create a booklet of the recipes and memories for each member to keep.
If you have a digital camera you could even take pics at the party of the
cookies and the members to include in the booklets.
Members should bake one dozen cookies for each member (assuming
you have a smallish group of less than 10 people - you might want to say 1/2
dozen per member if there are lots of participants) and package them separately
so the exchange is easier to make. With the new disposable containers on the
market, separate packaging is easy. Even a simple paper plate (preferably with a
Christmas design) would work.
The party itself works well with finger foods like veggies and
dip and buffet style food. If it is an evening do, a wine and cheese spread
would be fun too. Make sure everyone knows that this is for participants only,
no spouses or kids at the party.
Looking for a good recipe to use for your cookie exchange?
Try one of these:
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
* 1 3/4
* 1/2 teaspoon Salt
* 2 cups Rolled Oats
* 1/2 cup Coconut
* 1 cup Butter or Margarine
* 1 cup Brown Sugar
* 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
* 1/4 cup Boiling Water
* 1 teaspoon Vanilla
* 1 1/3 cups Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream sugar and butter together; mix in flour, salt, rolled oats
Dissolve soda in boiling water; add to mixture. Add vanilla and
chocolate chips; stir to blend.
Roll dough into small balls and place on lightly greased cookie
sheet. Flatten each dough ball with fork which has been dipped in cold water.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes.
Chris Sadler is Owner and WebAdmin of The
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