Before we head out of town for the Holidays, I am getting together with some of the Twin Cities finest ladies for a cookie baking and decorating extravaganza. I’m ecstatic for this gathering because I love Christmas cookies, but also because at least one among our number is nothing short of a Professional Pastry Chef (she showed up to my fiancée’s birthday party with a platter of cappuccino fudge cheesecake, and yes, a platter as in: she traveled from St. Paul with an antique platter of perfectly arranged miniature cheesecakes, sigh). So needless to say I’m looking forward to learning from one of the best.
Lacking a professional cookie-maker to host a full-blown cookie baking extravaganza? Fear not, here are 10 simple hostess tips for hosting a Cookie Exchange):
10 Easy Tips for a Great Cookie Exchange:
- Ask each guest to bring either a dozen or half dozen cookies for each attendee, plus a dozen for the party.
- Supply plastic storage bags or paper plates and foil just in case guests forget to bring a container for transporting their cookies home. Remind guests to store each cookie variety in separate containers until serving. Mixed cookie varieties lose their flavor and texture.
- Request that participants bring copies of their recipe to share with others. That will avoid the necessity of mailing out copies at a later date after everyone inevitably requests them at the party!
- Prepare a large table for everyone to set out their cookies. Spread a festive cloth on the table. Place one large basket, tray or plate on the table for each guest to place their contributions.
- Place an extra platter on the table for the cookies that will be enjoyed during the party.
- Play Christmas music throughout the gathering.
- Even if you haven’t finished your holiday decorating by the date of the party, be sure the party room has some festive decorations.
- A cookie exchange can be held any time of the day, but mornings are a great time during the holiday season. By hosting it in the morning, your guests will have the remainder of the day for other holiday activities such as shopping, wrapping, their own decorating, or other parties.
- Plan to serve refreshments that can be prepared in advance and merely reheated at the party. You shouldn’t be cooking during this party. It’s more important to keep the cookie exchange flowing. For a morning party, overnight egg casseroles work very well.
- Serve at least one holiday beverage such as egg nog or hot mulled cider along with coffee, tea, juices and, of course, milk!