I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
Published July 23rd 2010
Nothing is as satisfying as serving a variety of homemade goodies for friends and family so it's too bad so few of us actually have time to do the necessary baking for such a gesture. One solution is to host a cookie swap. The recipe is simple: Combine one part good friends and one part homemade treats. Mix well until the conversation sizzles, laughter is heard, and everyone's sweet tooth is satisfied.
Preparing for and hosting a cookie swap is simple. First, make certain that everyone you invite understands the goal at hand—to make enough of your favorite variety of cookie (or cupcake, artisan bread, pastry or whatever) to give away to each guest. The idea is that everyone in attendance returns home with enough sweets to satisfy a small army. A good ratio is approximately one dozen of each variety of cookies per person. So, for a party of 12 guests, each guest should expect to bring at least 13 dozen cookies—one dozen to serve at the party and 12 to give away.
A little preparation goes a long way. One idea is to ask guests to present their recipe along with the finished product. That way, anyone trying the cookie for the first time is aware of its ingredients. Having copies of the recipe for each person is useful since guests may want to attempt to recreate their favorites. Another suggestion is to ask guests to submit their recipes ahead of time to avoid duplications later. That will ensure that you'll have a satisfying selection, including types to suit specific dietary restrictions, such as those that are free of nuts or sugar. It's also a good idea to have on hand some basic varieties, such as chocolate chip, sugar and butter cookies or shortbread so that even the most finicky among us is sated. Finally, encourage participants to pre-wrap their cookies in one-dozen bundles to make sharing easier, especially if they are baking a type of cookie that cannot be mixed with others, such as those filled with jam or candied fruit.
Plan on serving refreshments to your guests that complement the cookies, such as punch, hot mulled cider, hot chocolate, coffee, or a selection of hot teas. If you're very ambitious, you can combine the swap with a potluck lunch or buffet (to avoid eating too many cookies!). Also, plan on having plenty of disposable containers for unexpected arrivals or guests who forget to bring their own.
Attention to theme and detail is also a nice touch. For example, consider a cookie swap that showcases authentic family recipes, handed down over generations, or even one where everyone brings an appetizer as opposed to a dessert. Decorate your meeting place with colorful ribbons, streamers, fresh flowers, attractive containers, and linens. Spread the holiday love further by encouraging guests to bring a can of food to supply your local food pantry. The possibilities are really as endless as your imagination.
This is a really good idea. Reminds me of weddings and gatherings from my country, where people all get together and we bring our favourite dishes and share them.
Everyone makes something at home and puts it on the large tables and then people go around dancing and drinking and eating the foods of their choice. It is a nice way to learn and make new receipes and a nice way to share the different things you have to offer others.
By Lil Uni Girl - senior reviewer Saturday, 1st of January @ 04:58 am