A mum of three, engineer, scientist, educator, and all around dabbler, I'm far better at finding interesting things to do than I am at doing housework.
Published March 6th 2014
Home made goodies for all
If your weekend is looking a little light on social events, why not combine friends with good food and get ahead on school and work lunch preparation at the same time?
Cookies anyone? Photo Courtesy of Pixabay
Cookie exchanges are very popular events in the USA, but rarely seen in Australia. Especially popular at Christmas, they're fun at any time of the year. They're an easy to host social gathering and have the benefit that all the guests share the responsibility for catering - and everyone gets a showbag to take home at the end. Sound good? Great. Read on.
As the name suggests, a cookie exchange is a way to swap your baking efforts for those of others. Each guest makes a large batch of biscuits, cookies or similar to bring along. Most are packaged into small bags for the other guests to take home ( one bag per guest) and one plateful is presented for everyone to eat during the party. All the host needs to do is supply drinks and a venue and the party can begin.
First choose your guest list. These events work well for groups like mother's groups or class get-togethers, as well as for groups of friends. You could even have one at work during break time if the boss is agreeable ( you might want to make sure that he/she gets some cookies). You don't want your group to be too big, or too small... about ten people is a good number. If you'd like to use a written invitation, there are lots of free printables around that you can use. As Australians don't often have cookie exchanges, you might want to include an explanation of what is expected. (Or point your guests to this article).
Don't forget to let your guests know how many other people will be attending so they know how many cookies to make. If any of your guests have allergies, it is probably wise to advise the other guests so that they can choose recipes accordingly.
Now each guest needs to choose a recipe. As you'll be making a LOT of biscuits, something simple is a good idea unless you're an accomplished chef. Anzac biscuits, choc-chip cookies and the like are always popular. And in these allergy prone times, avoiding nuts should be considered. While in this article I will refer to biscuits or cookies, you might also like to consider other small snackables like rum balls or brownies.
You may need to make two or three batches of a regular recipe, or alternatively you can look for "cookie exchange quantity" type recipes. You'll need to make a small packet (maybe 6 regular sized biscuits, or 12 small ones) for each person to take home.
You'll need to make a LOT of biscuits... Photo Courtesy of Pixabay
You may also like to ask your guests to share their recipes. In this case, the host can ask for recipes to be emailed so that they can collate them, or each guest can include a copy of the recipe in the take-home bags. Even if you decide not to do this, it's a good idea to ask your guests to label their contributions with the name and ingredient list of the cookies.
On the day, it's time to boil the kettle, fire up the coffee maker and enjoy. Each plate of sharing biscuits can be laid out for guests to munch on while they chat and have a cuppa. If you like you can vote on the best biscuit (secret ballot is probably a good idea here), or just let empty plates tell their tale.
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay
And when everyone has eaten and drunk their fill, it's time to package up those showbags. You can either supply bags for your guests to use, or ask each one to bring a basket or similar (which can also be used to bring their contribution in the first place). Each guest then collects one bag of each biscuit variety.
Everyone can return home with a glorious variety of home made biscuits, ready to enjoy. And all that's left for the host to do is to sweep up the remaining crumbs.