Chatelaine Kitchen

Cookie exchange party tips, plus our kitchen staff's favourites

Organizing or hosting a cookie exchange this holiday season? Follow our step-by-step checklist to help it run smoothly, ensuring you all leave with a full and varied cookie collection

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Roberto Caruso

The holidays are a busy time. There are trees to trim, parties to attend and – most importantly – cookies to bake. How do you fit all these exciting events into one month? Start early, and plan a fun and productive cookie exchange with your family and friends. It’s a great solution, and a great excuse to get people together and into the holiday spirit, and the bonus is that you end up with enough cookies to last through the holidays.

Whether you’re holding or attending a cookie exchange, here’s a step-by-step checklist that can help your swap running smoothly:

1. Organize Set a date for your cookie swap. Two to three weeks before the holidays or other pending dates. This will give guests time to decide what to bake, arrange for groceries, and the coordination of what cookies the group will make. To avoid duplications and to allow for a variety of cookies, have guests fill out a sign-up sheet with the following categories: icebox cookies, bar cookies, drop cookies, decorated cookies, etc.

2. Quantity For every six to eight guests attending (including yourself), ask each person to bring at least three dozen cookies. This will ensure that every guest can take home 4 to 6 of each cookie variety. Ask guests to prepare a recipe or ingredient list. This is especially useful if you have guests attending who have food allergies.

3. Packaging One week prior to the exchange, remind guests to bring copies of their cookie recipes and containers to take cookies home. Or you can always provide your guests with holiday-themed tins from your local dollar store.

4. Parchment On the day of the event, provide waxed paper or parchment for separating layers of cookies.

5. Have fun! Let the swapping begin, and we hope you all leave your party with a variety of cookies that will last you through the holidays.

I polled the Chatelaine Kitchen staff to get their top cookie choices of the season. We all love our sweets, but it was interesting to see how varied our top picks were, ranging from gluten-free to easy icebox varieties to the fancier decorative cookies.

Here are six cookie exchange options from our kitchen:

Claire Tansey, food editor – flourless chocolate snow mountains, maple shortbreads, chocolate almond cups

Carolyn Chua, associate food editor – cashew meringues, rugelach, pineapple-cashew bar

Irene Ngo, assistant food editor – classic gingerbread, black sesame cookieshoney-walnut bars

Lindsay Guscott, food intern – chocolate almond cupschewy chocolate ginger chunk, chocolate-peppermint sandwiches

Kristen Eppich, recipe tester – pecan icebox cookies with cherriescoffee cookie with dulce de lechemaple shortbreads

Heather Trim, recipe tester – rugelach, ultimate shortbread (with toblerone), biscotti terrone

Originally published December 1st, 2011.