Archive for the ‘Cookie Exchange’ Category
My family is famous for cookie swaps. I think Jennifer is on her 8th? year of hosting her annual cookie exchange. Down South they are serious and take cookie swapping to a whole new level. It has evolved into it’s own living breathing cookie creature. The first year a couple of us got together to bake cookies. I think by year two we already decided that was too much work and we would just bring cookies to share. Then some people started packaging stuff a little more cute than usual and then she started having prizes for who’s was the most creative. Of course, the gauntlet had been thrown down! Now people plan months in advance for the best tasting cookie, most clever packaging and tackiest Christmas sweater (everyone decided they had to compete with mom’s sweaters) :o). Those are only a few of the highlights too! There is a gift exchange and more! It is a great time for friends to get together, share great recipes and eat good food. Unfortunately, I moved away a year and a half ago and this was my second year missing the cookie party. They gave me the option last year to send my cookies in to compete, but there was just too much going on!
This year I decided it was high time I continue the tradition on my own and I threw my first Christmas Cookie Swap. It was planned a little on the fly so I didn’t have time to incorporate all the things I wanted to, but there is always next year! I had a great turn out and there were AWESOME cookies. I love any excuse to hang out with my neighborhood ladies and today was no exception. A few of the highlights of my party:
- 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for most creative packaging/beautiful cookies (this was included in the invite) and because we all have a great sense of humor, a prize for “maybe next year!”
- Each guest brought 4 – 6 cookies per person attending pre-packaged for easy “grab and go” as well as enough printed recipes for each guest to take home with them (I made it clear if people did not RSVP by a certain date they would not be able to attend and emailed the number of guests out a few days before)
- Guests were also encouraged to bring their “leftovers” on a tray for the ladies to snack on during the party
I had a small amount of meats, cheese, olives, and crackers to snack on as well as mimosas, coffee, wine, etc.
Things I will be prepared for next year:
Cute name tags, probably designed to look like recipe cards
A “theme” such as tacky sweater or maybe even holiday cocktail…we all have those dresses we have to wear to holiday parties, why not get an extra use out of them!
Next year I will probably switch and do it late on a Sunday afternoon like they do back home; I just think it would be easier
I am so blessed with so many amazing friends. I love my neighborhood and I am so thankful I have these woman to support me and my family in the good times and the not so good times. Thank you everyone for helping me make my Christmas even more special this year!
I am including some of my favorite pictures from the party and it was so hard to choose! I plan, it time allows, to post my favorite three recipes over the next week or so. There were so many fantastic cookies!
It is holiday cooking baking time!! These “patties” are easy to make, don’t actually require any baking, and little people can help out! They lend themselves particularly well to cookie exchanges … easy, fun & fancy looking, and package well!! Just be sure that you label them as “containing peanut butter” for anyone that might have nut sensitivities/allergies.
2 boxes Ritz crackers
l large jar Peanut butter, creamy or chunky
2 large packages Chocolate melts/bark
Makes: A whole bunch!! (more than 100 sandwiches – but I lost count after making what I needed for the cookie exchange)
Spread peanut butter on the inside of a cracker; put a top on it to make a little sandwich
Heat chocolate melts/bark in the microwave until smooth (check after 1 minute). If the chocolate is not thin enough for coating purposes, melt a bit of shortening and mix in well (do NOT use milk or water).
Using tongs, dip each sandwich in the melted chocolate mixture. Let excess drip off and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.
Decorate before chocolate has a chance to set (I usually add the decoration/sprinkles after dipping 4-6 sandwiches). Can set up quickly by placing cookie sheet in the refrigerator.
Store in an airtight container.