Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookie Swap Party

Ever been to a "Cookie Swap Party"?                                             

The basic idea is that you get together with friends, everyone brings cookies, and you exchange them with each other.  Each participant bakes multiple batches of just one kind of cookie - the number that you need to supply is predetermined by the hostess - and everyone goes home with a variety of treats.  It's also a good idea for the hostess to keep track of which type of cookie each guest will be supplying so you don't all make Chocolate Chip, for example.

It does take a bit of organization, but it's a festive way to celebrate and to share seasonal treats, too.

When I was teaching full time, I would bake the cookies on the weekend prior to the Cookie Swap and prepackage them in plastic bags.  This time of year you can find inexpensive bags festooned with snowflakes, Santa, and the like. Or you could attach seasonal stickers, or tie the little bags with ribbons and artificial holly. The options are endless!

Most times, Holiday Cookie Swaps I've attended have been in the evening and each guest also brought an appetizer.  The hostess provided beverages and an entree.  Seasonal music in the background and her beautifully-decorated home provided the rest of the "magic."

This year, when I decided to host a Holiday Cookie Swap, I discovered that there are many (and I do mean MANY) competing activities from every club, organization, and group imaginable. What to do?  I decided to host a Breakfast-time swap! I have a few recipes on hand (ahem) for breakfast casseroles and decided to make "Hash Brown Breakfast Bake" the centerpiece of the meal. Although the recipe calls for bacon, I determined to cook breakfast meats as a side dish to provide guests with options.  A fresh fruit salad and an assortment of muffins, biscuits, and fruit breads complete the offerings. I decided to have yogurt on hand, too - just in case...  Plus beverages, of course.

With a fairly simple menu we will all have an opportunity to socialize and relax.  At the end of the meal, guests will be given a festive box to fill with the little baggies of cookies to take home. You could also use gift bags or holiday trays for this purpose (check your local dollar store!). Alternately, guests could bring their own trays or baskets and refill them as they depart.

In whatever way you arrange your Holiday Cookie Swap Party, have a wonderful time!

INNsider Tips: Our Scarborough Inn Family Cookbook (available online from the Gift Shop) has wonderful recipes for a Cookie Swap - and for other holiday occasions.  Or visit this Domino Sugar site for inspiration.

Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

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