Food styling by Claire Stubbs | Prop styling by Renée Drexler/The Props Image by: Maya Visnyei
This year, bake smarter, not harder, by participating in a cookie exchange. Here are our tips for a successful swap.
1. Choose a location.
Tailor the exchange to the amount of time and space you have, and how many people are participating.
Office Exchange: This type of swap is great for larger groups and makes the workweek so much sweeter. Remind everyone to bring a few of their own airtight containers for storing.
Weeknight Après Dinner: Gather the neighbours and enjoy a low-key exchange alongside coffee and tea.
Saturday Swap: Plan it for afternoon or early evening—this is a social swap. Don't forget the eggnog!
Sunday Bake Session: This is ideal for small groups (and a host with a large kitchen). Ask guests to bring baked cookies, then decorate together over treats and snacks. Have them provide cooling racks, piping bags, food colouring, pastry brushes and anything else they may need.
2. Begin early.
Set the date for your cookie exchange at the start of the holiday season. Allow a week for all guests to reply after the initial e-invite. Early November is a good time for the event since holiday parties can take up most free days in December.
3. Keep a record.
Ensure that there are no duplicate cookies by curating a list of different types. Choose a mix of sweets that will freeze well and keep in the fridge for most of the season. If your group is large, stick to big-batch recipes.
4. Divide & conquer.
- Rule of thumb: Each guest makes a dozen cookies for every person at the exchange—plus, extra for sampling.
- Be mindful of guests' allergies and dietary restrictions so that everyone can enjoy the goodies.
- Either assign a style of cookie (shortbread, gingerbread, lemon bar) or narrow down the choices that guests can pick from, but don't leave it to chance.
- Ask if anyone needs to add finishing touches at the swap. If guests will be baking at the exchange, be sure that everyone has what they need in terms of both space and equipment.
- Remind guests to BYOB: boxes, bags, bins or whatever they need to wrap up their goodies.
- Ask guests to print recipes for their cookies—unless, of course, it's a family secret.
Check out our best goodies for your holiday cookie exchange for delicious recipe ideas.