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Come Party With Me: Cookie Swap

Cookie swaps are all the rage these days. Never one to be ashamed of jumping on a rolling bandwagon, this winter I’ve decided to host my own. Instead of making ten different kinds of cookies this year I’ll give a cookie exchange for my friends. Each guest makes several batches of their favorite holiday cookies then brings the treats to my house where the cookies are shared with all. Guests leave with a goodie bag full of delicious cookies to take home and share with their family. To learn more about this party

Invites: To celebrate the fact that everyone involved has to partake in the baking, I type invitations as if the cookie swap party is a recipe itself. This allows room for an explanation of the event in an innovative and creative way. Remember invitations are important because they set the tone, atmosphere, and theme of the party before the party has even begun. With that said here is how I will format my recipe invites:

Cookie Swap

12 girlfriends
12 cookie recipes
One winter afternoon
Cookie transporting supplies (ribbon, boxes, parchment/wax paper, tins, saran wrap)
One delicious cocktail
Three savory hor'dourves

  1. Pick out your favorite holiday cookie recipe. Email your hostess with the recipe so she can create the cookie menu.
  2. Bake cookies according to recipe, double or triple the batch to make enough cookies for each of the twelve girls to take home.
  3. Put on your party outfit, pack up your cookies, and head to 12 Main Street (hostess: insert your address here) around 4:30 pm on Saturday December 23.
  4. Eat, drink, and be merry with your friends. Have a fabulous time. Leave the party with the feelings of happiness in your heart, satisfaction in your belly, and cookies in your hand.

Menu: Cookies are obviously on the menu as a few will inevitably be nibbled while on display for all to see. But I would serve two savory options to ensure that you do not overload on sweets. Spiced nuts can be purchased at the store if you do not have time to make them. Mini bacon, leek, and gruyere tarlets are a tasty treat and pair nicely with tuna tartare on crackers.

Decorations: With all the different kinds of cookies that are going to be coming into your house it's best to keep the decor simple. Have the party in your kitchen to make it feel homey and cozy. Set up stations around the kitchen: a station with the savory tartlets, tartare, and nuts; a station with the bellini bar; a station where the cookies are displayed; and a station where the cookies can be packed up to take home. At the cookie display station set out all of your best serving platters for guests to arrange their cookies. Make cookie place cards with the name of each guest's cookie. At the cookie packing station arrange cookie boxes (ask your local bakery for some empty boxes) or Chinese takeout containers (easily found in all sizes and colors at most craft stores) for the guests to prettily pack their treats. Parchment paper, saran wrap, scotch tape, and decorative ribbon are necessary additions to the station. An easy party favor for your guests to add to their bags before they leave is a recipe booklet that has all of the recipes used for the cookie swap.

Music: I like the idea of playing jazz Christmas music for this party to create an air of simplistic sophistication. Diana Krall's Christmas Songs, and A Smooth Jazz Christmas by Dave Koz & Friends are great picks.

Drinks: Set up a bellini bar with prosecco and seltzer water. Guests can mix their own drinks. Offer hot apple cider and tea for those who prefer a hot drink.

Read more on cookie exchanges: party planners and cookie recipes.

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