I have to admit, I had an ulterior motive to hosting my first Cookie Exchange. I like baking cookies, but don’t have the patience to bake more than one or two varieties. Hosting a cookie exchange would guarantee me lots of different kinds of cookies, and enough to last through the holidays!
The idea is pretty simple. You invite friends and ask them to bring cookies. Lots of cookies. Enough cookies to give half a dozen or a dozen to everyone attending. As the hostess, you get to set the rules (number of guests, amount of cookies to bring, how to package them, etc.) and you should communicate this information in your Christmas party invitations.
There are different ways to do it, but I invited eight guests, and asked each guest to bring eight-dozen cookies, all the same kind. It sounds like a lot, but most of my guests agreed that it was a lot easier to double or triple a single recipe than to make dozens of different kinds. Adding to the fun, I also asked each guest to create a recipe card for the cookies they made, and to bring enough copies for each guest to take home.
My guests arrived with large boxes and trays of cookies, and we set them all around my table. I provided each guest with an empty holiday cookie tin and wax paper for layering. (Lined boxes or plastic containers would also work.) We shared wine, hors d’oeuvres, and funny cookie-baking stories, but the highlight of the evening was parading around the table, filling up our cookie tins.
I expected the Christmas spirit, but was surprised by the feeling of sisterhood that developed. It felt like an old-fashioned quilting bee, where the women of the village join forces to create something we could never have done on our own. Everyone went home happy, with eight different kinds of cookies, a tin to keep them fresh, and recipes to try next year—in short, a very successful, very satisfying party.