This past weekend I held my 4th annual cookie exchange and I wanted to share some tips I’ve learned over the years, and a few recipes. I absolutely love this yearly tradition, it’s such a great time to get the ladies together and catch up with everyone. Plus, the cookie selection was better than ever this year. Having done this for 4 years I’ve learned a few things along the way that might help you planning your next cookie exchange.
1. I always write out my menu and decide which cookies I am baking about 2 weeks ahead of the party(I actually do this for any event I am hosting), This way I can make sure I have all the ingredients and tools needed. I’ve had several occasions where I’ve waited until a few days before to only discover I don’t have a certain tool/item needed. One year a recipe called for an apple corer, which I don’t have so I found myself the day of the party running around trying to find this item which was sold out everywhere.
2. I try to use Pinterest/Cookbooks to come up with a few new appetizers to share each year. You can follow my cookie exchange recipe board here for all of this years recipes.
3. I make cookie dough ahead of time and put in the freezer until I am ready to bake or I’ll actually make a few cookies ahead of time and freeze those as well. This is a huge time saver as the last thing I want to be doing the day of the party is baking a bunch of cookies.
4. The day before I set out all the platters I’ll need, decorate the tables, and make sure my wine and drinks are being chilled.
5. I always put together a logistics menu on what I am baking. Usually I am making 5-7 appetizers and if everything has to go in the oven, I need to know ahead of time how this is all going to bake at the same time. No matter how I try this though it always seems to be a scramble the last hour before the party starts. I am still working on this and the only conclusion I can come up with is that I need a double oven(hint, hint to the hubs).
6. About 30 minutes before everyone arrives, I set out the cheese and wine, light the candles, and turn on the Pandora Christmas Station.
7. Make sure my camera charger is full(still no sign of my charger), hence the horrible iPhone pictures I had to take.
8. I always make sure to have a wrapping station as well. I ask everyone to bring a platter but in case someone forgets, or if people want to wrap up cookies to take as a gift, I offer cookie boxes, ribbon, and tags for fun.
9. Each year is always a work in progress and I already have a few ideas for next years party.
10. Have fun!
This year I tried several new appetizer recipes and a few cookie ones as well. Here’s my absolute favorite and ones you should add to your next get together. Plus, the cookies are the most amazing ever and ones you definitely want to make soon.
Pancetta Crisps with Goat Cheese and Pear
Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, & Gruyere Tartlets
Jalapeno Cheddar Crackers
Cranberry Bliss Cookie
I’d love to hear if you have any tips on hosting a cookie exchange. Happy Monday.