A Christmas Cookie Swap



By Stephenie Cox –

My favorite part of Christmas is the food. December is full of baking, cooking, party planning, shopping, decorating and fun crafts, which all revolve around food. My favorite gift to give is home-baked goods, made with love, care and a delightful heart right from my kitchen. It seems with each passing year, it is harder to find the time to bake all of the delights I would like. In fact, if you received a gift from me last year, it was a jar of muffin mix, prepared in my kitchen, but jarred and unbaked.

I love getting in the kitchen and baking; it’s a family tradition with my girls that I look forward to each year. Their favorites are the gingerbread cookies that they decorate. They also appreciate all the “fancy” cookies that come out of the oven as well. With family schedules running from morning to evening, it is a challenge to get it done in a festive manner without rushing or grumbling about time.

I love searching out new recipes, and I am coveting some of my friend’s and neighbor’s recipes. In an effort to have a house full of baked goods, the aroma of cinnamon and vanilla wafting through my halls, and lots of happiness, I think it’s time to think about a cookie swap. This way, I can spend an afternoon in my kitchen with the girls creating beautiful, delicious treats and be able to have a pantry full of cookies for guests, events and my family throughout the entire season.

If you are unfamiliar with the idea of a cookie swap, it goes a little like this: Invite a group of friends and neighbors who bake to come to your home. Have each one bring 10 to 12 dozen homemade cookies. Bake up a big batch of your family’s favorite holiday treats, and exchange baked goods together in a cheery, festive environment. Everyone leaves with a variety of goodies to stash away for Christmas entertaining – and perhaps a new recipe or two.

Mark the beginning of the holiday season by bringing your friends together for cocktails, conversation and a cookie swap. Hosting the party is a great way to slow down, spend valuable time with friends and enjoy the blessing of friendship.

Benefits of an old-fashioned cookie swap:

• Save valuable time during the busiest season of the year. It is much faster to make multiple batches of the same cookie than to purchase ingredients for seven or eight different recipes, and prepare each one.

• Provide a wonderful selection of homemade baked goods to serve your guests over the holidays.

• Introduce new types of cookies to your palate and unique recipes to your repertoire.

• Provide a fun, casual social event that is easy to host – the guests bring the goodies!

• Offer an opportunity for a charitable outreach. Guests can be asked to bring non-perishable food items to donate to a local food bank.

No holiday cookie plate would be complete without my favorite cookie:

Reese’s Peanut Butter  Cup Cookies

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

• 1/2 cup butter

• 1/2 cup peanut butter  (creamy or crunchy)

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1/2 cup brown sugar

• 1 egg

• 1/2 tsp. vanilla

• 1 1/4 cup flour

• 3/4 tsp. baking soda

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 40 something mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Beat butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to wet ingredients. Roll into 1 inch balls. Place in greased mini muffin pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. When done, place peanut butter cup onto cookie and press down. Let cool in pan before removing. Yields around 3 1/2 dozen cookies.