How to Host a Cookie Exchange

img_5835Are you ready for the nonstop parties, gatherings, and abundance of cooking and gift giving? While some of us love entertaining, for others it may be a bit stressful. If you need to cut back on your baking, gather your friends and host a cookie exchange. You only have to bake one kind of cookie, but you’ll get several dozen to bring to your holiday table.

My sister and I started hosting cookie exchanges for our friends several years ago, and we look forward to it every year. The cookies get better and our friends get more creative with the recipes. There is no need to be a professional or invite only friends that are good bakers. Invite the friends you want to share the holidays with. Exchange cookies, enjoys sips and bites, and spread the holiday cheer!

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Here are the steps you need to know so that you can host your own Cookie Exchange.

Invitations
Just like any party, you must start with a guest list, set the date and send out the invitation. Choose 10-20 (or more) of your friends who have a sweet tooth like you. For the sake of time, sending an emailed invitations such as an Evite or Paperless Post is perfectly acceptable for this type of gathering. Choose a date for your cookie exchange that is close enough to the holidays so that you can enjoy your assortment of cookies with your family

Cookies
Now it’s time to choose the cookie that you want to bake and share with your friends. You can be a simple or fancy as you would like, but remember you have to bake several dozen to share. The week of your cookie exchange, let your guests know how many people are attending so they can start baking. We recommend each guest bring one type of cookie and bake enough cookies that everyone gets to take 2-3 of each kind. So if you are inviting 12 people have your guests bake and bring 2-3 dozen cookies.

Packaging
Once all the cookies are displayed on the table for everyone to admire, it is time to start swapping. Have a table ready just for packaging up these scrumptious cookies. Boxes for each guest, tissue paper to line the boxes, ribbon and a gift tag will be the perfect way to send your friends off with a beautiful assortment of cookies.

Snacks
Last but not least, make sure you have some savory snacks and cocktails or mocktails for your friends to enjoy. They will not be able to survive just on cookies alone, so 3-4 bite size appetizers and a signature drink for the night is the perfect amountimg_5816

Peppermint Meringue
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Ingredients
  1. 3 Egg Whites
  2. 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  3. 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp Peppermint Extract
  5. Red Food Coloring, gel
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a mixer with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy and turns into stiff peak
  3. Reduce the speed on the mixer and slowly add in 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  4. Once the sugar is fully combined and the eggs become a little glossy add in the peppermint extract
  5. When you have stiff peaks, stop the mixer and gently fold in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar
  6. Take a 1/2 of the meringue into another bowl and fold in red food coloring until combined (do not over mix)
  7. Using a piping bag and a star tip, fill the red meringue on one side of the bag and the white meringue on the other side of the bag and start piping
  8. Pipe meringue onto prepared baking sheets into 2” cookies
  9. Bake at 200 degrees F for approximately 1 hour or until the meringue cookies have dried out.
  10. Remove the meringue from the oven, allow the cookies to cool and store in an air tight container until ready to serve
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
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Chocolate Marshmallow Whoopie Pie
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Ingredients
  1. Chocolate Whoopie Pie
  2. 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  3. 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
  4. 1 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  5. 1 tsp Salt
  6. 1 Cup Buttermilk
  7. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  8. 8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  9. 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  10. 1 Egg
  11. Marshmallow Cream Filling
  12. 8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  13. 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  14. 2 Cups Marshmallow Fluff
  15. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Chocolate Whoopie Pie Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk together
  3. Cream together butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract until fluffy
  4. Add egg to butter mixture beat until combined
  5. Slowly alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk and beat until smooth
  6. Scoop 1 tbsp size mounds of batter onto prepared baking sheet
  7. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the cookie springs back when you touch it
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool completely before assembling
Marshmallow Cream Filling Directions
  1. Beat the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and marshmallow fluff together until smooth. 
Cover and set aside until ready to use
Whoopie Pie Assembly
  1. Pipe the marshmallow cream to cover the flat side of one cookie
  2. Sandwich two chocolate cookies together
  3. Serve or store in an airtight container
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/

Oatmeal Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

SONY DSCIt is definitely the holiday season and our home has been filled with lots of sweets!  I have made and tasted more cookies this year, and kind of loving it.

For my 2nd year to be involved in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I was excited to share these yummy oatmeal chocolate cranberry cookies.  Although I have been a part of several cookie exchanges this year, this one is very special; we got to share our cookies with three fellow food bloggers and most importantly it benefits a great cause, Cookies for Kids Cancer.  

With so many cookies to choose from, I chose a one of my favorite classic oatmeal cookies, but added a holiday twist.  With the addition of cranberries, chocolate chunk, pistachios and a white chocolate drizzle, I may never go back to the original recipe.  

Just as excited as I was to share my cookies and recipe with three bloggers, I loved receiving cookies from the talented ladies behind Yumology and  Pint Sized Baker.  These ladies made this cookie exchange very special with incredible cookies and cute packaging to go along with them.  Check out their cookie recipes as well as many others at Yumology and Pint Sized Baker.SONY DSCSONY DSC

Oatmeal Chocolate Cranberry Cookie
Yields 36
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter, unsalted (2 sticks)
  2. 2 cus brown sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 2 cups all purpose flour
  6. 1 tsp baking soda
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 2 cups quick oats
  9. 1 cup dried cranberries
  10. 1 cup chocolate chunks
  11. 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped (optional topping)
  12. 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted (optional topping)
Instructions
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. cream butter and brown sugar
  3. add in eggs (one at a time) and vanilla extract
  4. combine flour, baking soda, salt and oats and add to butter mixture
  5. mix until all ingredients are combined
  6. using a spatula, fold in dried cranberries and chocolate chunks
  7. scoop 1 ounce cookie dough balls and place onto parchment lined pan and bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown
  8. once cookies are cooled, drizzle each cookie with melted white chocolate and chopped pistachios (optional)
  9. store in an airtight container
  10. Enjoy!!!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/

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How To: Host a Cookie Exchange

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My Favorites: Recipe Cards, Two Tier Stand, Mix Mingle Invite, Art of the Cookie Book, Box & Ribbon, Crinkle Cookie Recipe, Labels, Holiday Pomegranate Spritzer

Happy December!!  I can’t believe Thanksgiving has come and gone…I am sure you are stuffed from your family gatherings and all your turkey and pie leftovers, but we are going to keep the holiday cheer going.  Now that we are in the home stretch for Christmas, parties, baking and gifting are on your mind.  I absolutely love this time of year, there is a hustle and bustle on the streets and in our home and in our family, a big tradition and something my Nanny passed down is a massive amount of cookie baking throughout December.  Most cookie recipes have a history.  They could come from a specific culture or family tradition passed down through generations and the perfect way to share these cookies….Host a Cookie Exchange. Here’s what you need…

1. guest list…this will determine how many cookies each person will need to bring
    example: 24 invites…each person brings 24 cookies
2.invitation (mail or email)
3.recipe card for each person to share their cookie recipe
4. boxes & ribbon 
5.labels
6.cakestands and platter
7.your family favorite cookie to share…above is one of my favorite chocolate crinkle cookies (recipe by: whats gaby cooking)
8. cocktail or mocktail for guests to enjoy

I hope you will celebrate the season with your friends and family at your own cookie exchange.  Happy Baking! 

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