Entertaining for the holidays shouldn’t feel like work. So, how can you share holiday cheer with your friends without stressing yourself out? Try a cookie exchange party! Each guest brings a set number of cookies or other treats, and the treats are divided up and sent home with each participant. And hosting is a breeze when you follow these steps.
Make a Guest List (and Check it Twice).
Smaller is better with a cookie exchange. Aim for fewer than 12 people, and only include people who like to bake. If you’re not sure, ask before sending an invite, so your prospective guests don’t feel pressured to participate. Also check to see if anyone has food sensitivities or allergies.
Give Some Guidance.
In your invitations, let guests know whether homemade cookies are expected or if store bought treats are fine. Specify how many cookies to bring (typically 2 or 3 dozen) and include any allergens that must be avoided. Finally, ask guests to email their recipe to you ahead of time if they’d like to share it with the group.
Plan for Non-Cookie Treats.
To make sure guests don’t eat all their cookies on the car ride home, provide snacks and beverages at the party. Cookie exchanges are usually casual, afternoon affairs, so think finger sandwiches, charcuterie boards, vegetable platters, and other easy things.
Have a Takeout Plan.
The whole point of a cookie exchange is for your guests to leave with treats, so have enough holiday tins, containers, or plastic bags for everyone. If everyone has provided their cookie recipes ahead of time, consider printing out a packet for everyone, or share by email.
Fire Up the Oven.
Bake your cookie contribution one or two days ahead of the party and store in airtight containers. This will leave you free the day of the party to get the house and snacks prepped.
Create a festive mood.
Before guests arrive, make sure you’ve put out snacks, drinks, plates, cups, and napkins, and cue up your favorite holiday music playlist. Set out plates and trays (or even cookie sheets) so each guest can display their treats.
Enjoy sampling the array of treats and divide the rest for guests to take home.
Need an easy and delicious recipe to start with? Check out these moist, chocolate cookies with the rich flavor of red velvet cake.
Red Velvet Box Cookies
Servings: 24 cookies
1 box red velvet cake mix
⅓ c. vegetable oil
Powdered sugar, for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Mix everything except the powdered sugar into a bowl. (Batter will be thick.)
3. Spoon batter into balls and roll in powdered sugar.
4. Place on cookie sheets leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Level with a glass.
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until cookies brown slightly on the edges.