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How to Host a Cookie Exchange

So maybe you have heard of cookie exchanges, and maybe you have thought about hosting one yourself.  Cookie exchanges are a wonderful way to get together with your friends and family, and fill that cookie jar with a wide variety of homemade cookies, what could be better?

cookies at a cookie exchange

How to Host a Cookie Exchange

So, if you are unfamiliar with your basic cookie exchange, let me tell you what you have been missing.  You invite 8 or more of your closest friends (or the people that you know bake the best), and each guest brings a set number of cookies.  You get to try out every one’s favorite recipe, and then everyone gets to take a few cookies home.  What could be better than this?  Quite frankly, not too many things.

Steps in hosting a cookie exchange

1.  Pick the date, pick a date several weeks in advance.  Send out your invites, let your guests know that this is a cookie exchange and you are inviting them to bake cookies at home and bring cookies to the party for exchanging.

2.  Plan your menu of what to serve, I like to really highlight the cookies, so I generally do not prepare food, and let my guests munch on cookies, but I do go all out on the drinks.  Hot chocolate, spiced apple cider, or hot drinks are great to serve with the cookies.

3.  Day of your party set your table with a pretty table cloth, some festive decorations, and you are ready to go.

4.  You may want to think of a theme for your cookie exchange, I once did a savory cookie party complete with cocktails.  I have also hosted a girls only party, as well as a party for families.  Think about who all you want to invite and plan accordingly.

Guidelines For Your Guests

When sending out invites to your guests you may want to send out a few guidelines/rules for the cookie exchange.

No one wants to go to a cookie exchange where people bring no cookies, or packages of Oreos.  I would suggest that you ask your guests not to bring chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip cookies are fantastic, but you want to try different kinds of cookies.

Robin at the suggests that you ask your guests to bake their cookies three days in advance so no one feels rushed when it comes to baking their favorite cookies.  You would hate to have someone not show up because they didn’t get the opportunity to bake those cookies ahead of time.  I wished I would have done this to the last cookie exchange I went to.  I was very excited about making some creme brulee cookies, and I was making them hours before I had to leave, and they did not turn out well.

When you send out your invite you may want to include a list of rules, mine are here, and the link from the Robin Olson, is also included.

1.  All cookies should be homemade, no packaged cookies.

2.  No chocolate chip cookies.

3.  Please bring six dozen cookies.

4.  Please bring or email me copies of the recipe so we can exchange our recipes.

5.  If possible please let me know what type of cookies you are bringing so we do not have any duplicates.

Now for the actual cookie exchange, you have decorated, you have your special drinks ready, you may want to prepare pretty boxes for your guests to take home their cookies, or you may want them to bring their own containers.  I like to let my guests mingle for a little bit, and then try out the cookies.  Ask your guests to describe what makes their cookie special.  You can then let your guests take a few cookies and place in their to go container, and continue doing so until all of the cookies are gone.

Now, let’s get to the fun part, cookie recipes.  Personally for me the holidays aren’t the holidays without a couple of my favorite types of cookies.  Hello Dolly Cookies, also known as seven layer cookies for me, are a must have.  These cookies are filled with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham crackers, pecans, and many other things.

My next must have for the holidays are Spritz cookies.  If you have never tried Spritz cookies, these are wonderful little short bread cookies.  I highly recommend using a good quality butter when making spritz cookies, and these freeze very well.  So you can make a few extra and pop these into your freezer.

Other resources for great cookie recipes.

Martha Stewart’s Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share (Martha Stewart Living Magazine)

The Baking Aisle Cookies

Kitchen Corners

Do you have favorite cookies that you have to bring to a cookie exchange?  Do you have cookies that you simply must have to make a particular holiday special?

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  • nobakecookietv

    I have never attended nor hosted a cookie exchange. I think it’s a great idea and this post has helped a lot. I would add for my rules no oatmeal and peanut butter cookies……they are just so boring compared to the fantastic recipes out there. Given the economy right now I think I will start off with 3 dozen, not 6. Thanks so much for the idea!

  • The Mommy

    I think these are excellent guidelines for hosting a cookie exchange. I attend one every year and the hostess does a fantastic job (they also treat it as an open house, so not everyone is part of the exchange). However, the other “participants” just.don’t.get it. Last year, I received no-bake chocolate cookies (yes, seriously), oatmeal scotchies that were NOT edible, and a variety of others that could only be described as…interesting. And last year was better than the year before! At least last year I got some fantastic fudge! {SIGH} For the record, I make cake balls (from and they’re delish!

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  • Heidi’s Recipes

    I love a good cookie exchange! I always add a cookie or two to my repertoire that I would have otherwise never have baked. In the past, I’ve had a positive response when I’ve contributed Peanut Butter Blossoms (