One of the biggest traditions for many families is holiday baking. Christmas cookies are a huge part of holiday baking and the most popular of holiday treats. Over the years and years of baking many kinds of cookie recipes have been added to cookbooks in homes everywhere.
So when Christmas comes around, one of everyone’s favorite events is a cookie exchange. Cookie exchanges have become very popular with families, teachers, schools, and even students. In these events, friends and family get together for a cookie swap where each person brings a few dozen cookies and you exchange with all of the other people at the get-together.
Neighborhoods can put on a cookie exchange to help to welcome any new neighbors and even to strengthen the bond of the existing neighbors. Cookie exchanges can also help to introduce new bakers to making cookies. These exchanges are so much fun and anyone in the family can get involved. This is also a great opportunity to get a variety of cookies for your family to enjoy as well as try out some new recipes.
Here are some of the best Christmas cookies for cookie exchanges or swaps and tips on hosting your own party. The cookies listed here are great for these cookie parties because they are some of the most popular cookies at Christmas time.
Hot Cocoa Cookies
These cookies are a delicious spin on the classic winter drink, hot chocolate. You actually use hot cocoa mix in the recipe. There are a few ways this cookie can be altered. You can choose to add chocolate chips for more chocolatey goodness. You can take a couple candy canes and place them in a baggie. Than use your rolling pen to finely crush the candy canes. Also don’t forget get the mini marshmallows on top! Recipe by Rachael Ray.
Molasses Sugar Cookies
This cookie recipe is sure to become a family favorite! These wonderful drop cookies have molasses, brown sugar, and a hint of clove and ginger. They are rolled in sugar before baking. They do need to be chilled before baking so you should plan ahead. But this is great because if you can’t get to baking them right away they keep well for about a week in the fridge.
M&M Christmas Cookies
An old recipe but always a favorite are the M&M cookies. This is also a cookie you can change up. You can pick any type of M&M you like best. Choose mini M&M, traditional M&M, or even add a little change of taste with the peanut butter M&M’s. The peanut butter pairs well with the brown sugar. This recipe has great reviews.
Run, run, run, as fast as you can and bake up some gingerbread men, or women. You could even use Christmas tree cut outs. This is a true classic recipe. These gingerbread men are great, spiked with cinnamon, all spice, and ginger. And the best part is your kids can help you decorate them. We all know how kids love to decorate or taste the cookies!
Swedish Christmas Cookies
These cookies and their recipe were a huge part of traditional Christmas baking for the Scandinavians. This buttery cookies has a touch of cardamom making it a comforting cookie in spice cookie category. It is made festive by rolling it into a log then rolling it in colored sugar or toasted nuts. An alternative way to prepare then is by making them a thumbprint style cookie with jam in the center. Basic Swedish cookie recipe here.
Sugar Cookies and Icing
Another great classic cookie. The sugar cookie is best know for all the fun Christmas shapes and it’s colorful icing. This is one of the best cookies to make during the Holidays. It is fun for the whole family, and you can let your creativity go wild. This is certainly a good family tradition to carry on through the years. The icing is easy to make with only powder sugar, milk, and a dash of vanilla extract for ingredients.
Chocolate Peppermint Roll
Chocolate and peppermint compliment well in this cookie. It is one of those roll, slice, and bake recipes. This cookie is made up of two cookie doughs rolled into one making that signature “pinwheel” effect.
Hersey’s Kiss Cookies
This cookie has so many faces. There are many different variations of the original drop cookie. A peanut butter cookie with a single Hersey”s kiss candy in the center is one of the original flavors. Now you can get creative. Try a chocolate cookie with a Peppermint Kiss, or a Cookies and Cream Kiss. Try a Nutella cookie recipe rolled in sugar and topped with a Kiss. Or even top an Angel Food Macaroon with a Hersey’s Kiss. The recipe for the classic Peanut Butter Blossom – yum!
Chocolate Sprinkle Sandwich Cookie
Now this cookie is so soft and moist it is almost like eating a doughnut. In the middle is a nice helping of delicious frosting. And what makes them festive is that they are covered in candy sprinkles.
Okay so this one doesn’t require any baking but it is a family favorite that everyone will love. If you don’t have the time for a lot of baking these are perfect. Open an Oreo up, pop in a lollipop stick, close them up and dip them in melted chocolate. Add some festive sprinkles and your done. If you need an easy christmas cookie recipe for an exchange it doesn’t really get simpler than this.
Nutter Butter Reindeer
Another easy no bake Christmas cookie but still a great addition to your Christmas cookies list. Again you open the cookie and add a lollipop stick and close. Cover with melted chocolate and add a pretzel for antlers and a red hot red M&M for the nose. You could frost your own eyes or use M&M’s as eyes.
Peanut Butter Christmas Cookies
Peanut butter cookies are a traditional favorite. They are fairly easy to make and many people like them plain as opposed to the Kiss version listed above (though I do love that one!). One thing to remember though if you are going to a cookie swap is to clearly label these cookies as containing peanuts for those people with a peanut allergy. Even better would be to keep these cookies separate from the other cookies you bring just for safety.
How to Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange
Cookie exchanges are easy to host as long as some ground rules are set. Most people choose a group of 10 to 12 people. Choose close friends or neighbors. Make sure that you do trust the people in your group and that they can handle a deadline. Have each person make enough of one kind of cookie to share with everyone in the group. This usually means that everyone in the exchange will bake 10 to 12 dozen cookies.
Make sure that your group is equipped to handle that much baking. One particular rule that everyone needs to follow is that they are making the cookies from scratch and these are not cookies made in the grocery store or out of a tube. There is no fun in a cookie exchange if they aren’t baked by hand.
Cookie Exchange Invitations
When the invitations are being sent out, you can choose many different kinds. A lot of people like to do a Facebook invitation or an E-Vite. With everyone using social media, it seems much easier to do online invitations. If you would like to keep it a bit old fashioned, buy paper invitations to send out in the mail to the people you have chosen to take part in the cookie exchange. This is a great way to show everyone how serious you are about the exchange and get everyone into the spirit of baking, Christmas, and giving.
When you finally select the people to be in your cookie exchange, make sure to make a list of who is baking what flavor of cookie. You want to make sure that you do not have three or four people all baking peanut butter cookies. The whole idea of a cookie exchange is to make sure that people get to try different types of cookies and perhaps some that they have never tried before. Also make sure that you are confident that you know which type of cookies you are baking and buy the proper ingredients in bulk. This will be much easier when it is finally time to do your baking.
How to Store the Cookies
One part of a cookie exchange is proper packaging and storage of cookies. Many stores offer cheaper storage containers and tins to help you to show off your baked goods. Stores like the Dollar Tree have special Christmas tins and containers to help you to show off your cookies. With these tins and containers, your cookies can even appear like a gift for everyone in your cookie exchange.
If you are having a Christmas party as part of your cookie exchange, you can purchase Christmas platters to help to show off your cookies to your guests. These party can be a great way to have your guests meet each other and relate to one another by talking about baking and cookies. It will also help to get your friends and neighbors in the Christmas spirit.
Don’t Forget the Recipe!
One fundamental rule that you will need to let your friends know about is to make sure that they have their cookie recipes ready and able to give to everyone at the cookie exchange. You can also ask everyone to email their recipes and compile a final email list to send out to everyone in the group. This is another way that everyone in the cookie exchange can share ideas and recipes. For those newer bakers, they can bond with the older, more experienced bakers. This can be a way to help them to learn how to bake and excite them to want to do it on a regular basis.
If you all work very hard on the cookie exchange, it will be a success. A cookie exchange is a lot of work, but with everyone’s participation and dedication, your next cookie exchange will be great! Make sure that you sign people up for next year’s exchange and make sure to let them know that they can invite more friends and family members. When it comes to a great cookie exchange, just remember that it is one of those instances when the words “the more the merrier” actually make a world of difference.