Secret Santa is so over-rated.
I'd much rather go to a party where cookies are the main event and everyone goes home with great goodies to enjoy.
Hosting a cookie exchange is as easy as whipping up a batch of your very best cookie bars.
The rules are easy. Invite a dozen or more friends over. Provide some simple snacks - nuts, fruit and cheese, a crusty French bread with an olive tapenade and some wine. Or serve some egg nog (spiked if you like).
Ask each guest to bring 4 dozen homemade cookies to swap with other guests. Since most cookie recipes make 4 to 5 dozen cookies, this is easier than it sounds. If you like, you can allow busy guests to bring bakery bought cookies.
Some cookie exchanges factor in some sort of contest or ornament exchange as well. This adds to the fun and really isn't very complicated.
If participants are exchanging ornaments, every guest brings one special ornament to swap with another guest. (Note: The host might consider having a few extra ornaments on hand so no one gets left out if someone forgets to bring an ornament.)
Prizes can be given for Best Cookie Overall, based on taste, texture, presentation, Most Creative, Outstanding Presentation, or Most Original Recipe, etc.
Be sure to have guests bring a container or plastic Ziploc bags to take home their cookies. The host may want to have extra takeaway bozes on hand in case someone forgets theirs.
Possibilities are endless
Not a big fan of cookies? Have a cupcake exchange instead. Instead of 4 dozen cookies, bring 2 dozen cupcakes to swap. Don't like cupcakes? Have guests make two cakes to exchange. Cakes to heavy? Guests can bring homemade candies.
Magic Cookie Bars
(recipe from Eagle Brand)
Makes 3 dozen
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
- 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). Coat 13x9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with a fork.
- Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.