The Holidays are an endless source of approved indulgences. A time to make merry, and to sample all the goodies this special season can offer–and, oh my, yes there are many! Ho, Ho, Ho!!! For example, Christmas cookies, so many to choose from and don’t they look wonderful and colorful on a sideboard. But to get a nice assortment from a bakery, it’s easy to spend $50-$75 for these confections.
You can, of course, save money by baking your own, but in order to have a variety that captures the eye as well as the palate, you have to plan in advance, your materials, your kitchen to go into full production, and have time. Groan–so much work, so little time…
The light bulb turns on with a bright idea: A Cookie Exchange! The Cookie Exchange was born to answer the call of hostesses with the mostest for creating that last pièce de resistance for their buffet table–with less fuss and small muss. Great idea, win-win, right?
However, not all Cookie Exchanges are created equal and may be more work than you expected. The idea is to make 1-2 dozen of one type of cookie for each participant –the more participants, the more variety of cookies. In theory, if you have 12 participants, you make 12 dozen cookies of the same recipe to exchange and you receive 1 dozen each of 12 different holiday cookies creating a beautiful assortment for your table. Right??? Maybe not!
Follow these Guidelines from Markdown Mom to avoid the pitfalls of a Cookie Exchange, and there are pitfalls, Virginia:
- Know the baking abilities of all participants. Just like planning a family potluck dinner–there is always one kitchen challenged relative you ask to bring either an hors d’oeuvres tray or the green leaf salad. Look for Pillsbury Bake-Off Winners!
- Know ahead of time the cookies they will bring to avoid duplication. Additionally, you do not want to spend oodles of time and expensive ingredients and exchange for cookies of less effort and quality.
- Cardinal Rule: no substituting homemade with store bought if that happens, you either keep her/his portion of your cookies, or depending how insulting that store bought cookie is–say an Oreo–you pelt them with their share of your cookies and blacklist them from future Cookie Exchanges.
- No cookies made ? Even though you agreed to participate, save yourself the embarrassment, call in sick.
- A successful Cookie Exchange should be photographed and accompanied with recipes–in a number of years, you’ll have a book!
- Give ribbons for the best decorated, flavorful, etc.–a quality control incentive.
****Better yet, sign up for a Cookie Exchange offered through Community Education of your local school where you can go and make and exchange cookies in one night. This way, you get an assortment, somewhat smaller, but you don’t have the clutter and disruption in your kitchen, you meet new people, plus you may gain a a few tips and baking shortcuts, and you can always blame the instructor!