Christmas cookies are a favorite tradition in many families. Whether your family’s favorite cookies are old-fashioned sugar cookies, cut-out cookies, peanut butter blossoms, chocolate chip cookies or a recipe handed down through the generations, cookies are always a hit with the entire family.
A cookie exchange or cookie swap party is a fun holiday gathering to enjoy with family and friends. At a cookie exchange, each guest brings one variety of cookie to share with everyone else.
The Cooking Channel offers many recipes for a cookie swap. Choose your family’s favorite cookie recipe, invite some friends and have fun baking together.
There’s more than one way to host a cookie swap. Here are a few tips and recipes to help you host a great cookie swap.
Decide if you want kids included or if your cookie swap will be for adults only. You can bake more cookies in less time with adults only, but it’s a lot of fun when kids are invited too.
If your party includes kids, plan at least one variety of cookies for kids to decorate. If you’re planning an adults-only cookie exchange, make sure to include that information on your invitations.
You can choose a cookie baking party, a cookie decorating party or a cookie exchange with each guest bringing cookies that have already been baked and are ready for eating and exchanging.
If you’ll bake cookies at your cookie swap, ask each guest to bring mixed cookie dough to save time. Decide if you will provide baking sheets, cooling racks, spatulas and other needed items or if each guest will provide what they need. Stacking cooling racks save counter space.
Ask each guest to bring copies of their recipe to share. If you don’t have enough chairs for everyone, it’s okay to ask guests to bring a folding chair to the cookie swap too.
Guests should each bring enough cookies or dough to allow a dozen cookies for each guest and an extra dozen for tasting at the party.
If you are making roll-out cookies, work on rolling the cookie dough for one batch as another batch bakes. If you are also decorating cookies, set up a separate table or one end of the big table for this process.
Decorate cookies over large trays to keep the mess contained. Arrange each variety of cookies on a separate plate after they cool. When all cookies are done, assemble mixed plates of cookies for each guest to take home.
Whether you’ve been baking cookies for many years or are new to cookie baking, here are some tips to make your baking easier.
Invest in a pair of insulated air bake pans to help your cookies bake more evenly. Make up cookie dough the night before or in the morning, store in baggies in the refrigerator and you’ll be ready to bake.
Always check the cookies at the minimum time and use a timer to avoid burning your cookies. It’s easiest to remove cookies from the pan with a very thin, flexible silicone spatula. Let cookies cool on wire cooling racks before moving to serving trays.
Use your favorite roll and bake sugar or shortbread cookie recipe to make holiday shaped cookies to ice and decorate. Here are a few family favorite cookie recipes that are perfect for holiday parties at work or school, cookie exchange parties or just to enjoy with your family during the holidays.
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups butter, softened not melted
1 cup sugar
1 3-ounce package Jello Gelatin, any flavor
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sift flour with baking powder and set aside. Cream butter. Gradually add sugar and gelatin to butter, creaming well after each addition.
Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing after each addition until smooth.
Force dough through a cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with gelatin or decorate if desired.
Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes until golden brown at edges. If you don’t have a cookie press, you can shape the cookie dough into small balls and slightly flatten. Makes 5 dozen.
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
food color, if desired
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dates, nuts, chocolate chips, and candied or maraschino cherries
Icing, see below
Heat oven to 350. Mix butter, sugar, vanilla, and few drops of food color thoroughly. Add flour and salt and stir until dough holds together. If too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons light cream.
Mold dough by tablespoonfuls around date, nut, cherry, or a few chips. Place cookie balls about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until set but not brown.
Cool, dip tops of cookies in icing and decorate with colored sugar, chocolate pieces, coconut, or nuts. Recipe makes 20-25 cookies.
Mix 1 cup confectioners sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons light cream or 1 1/2 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. If desired, stir in a few drops of food color.
Candy Cane Cookies
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sifted confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Dash of salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon red food color
Peppermint glaze, below
Beat butter or margarine until softened. Add confectioners sugar and beat until fluffy.
Add egg, vanilla, peppermint extract, and salt and beat well. Add flour and beat until well mixed. Divide dough in half, stirring food color into one half. Cover each half and chill 30 minutes.
For each cookie, shape a teaspoonful of plain dough into a 4-inch rope. Repeat with a teaspoonful of red dough.
Place ropes side by side and twist together. Pinch ends to seal together. Form twisted ropes into a cane. Place canes 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes until done. Remove and cool. If desired, brush with peppermint glaze. Makes 48.
Stir together 1 cup sifted confectioners sugar, 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and 4-5 teaspoons of water to make of brushing or spreading consistency.
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
3 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Sifted confectioners sugar
Combine granulated sugar, oil, chocolate and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in milk.
Stir flour and baking powder together. Stir into egg mixture and chill for an hour or longer.
Using 1 tablespoon dough for each cookie, shape into balls and roll in powdered sugar.
Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. While warm, roll in a different bowl of confectioners sugar. Makes 4 dozen cookies.
A cookie exchange or cookie swap party is the perfect way to socialize with family and friends during the holidays. When the party’s done, you and your guests will all have plenty of cookies to enjoy.