How to Host a Holiday Baking Exchange

How to Host a Holiday Baking Exchange

Learn how to host a holiday baking exchange with these easy planning tips and delicious cookie recipes.

When it comes to the busy holiday season, I find that I want a variety of treats available, but I don’t necessarily want to make them all. That’s why I love cookie exchange parties!

I get to taste unique cookies that I haven’t tried before, experience other people’s traditions, and save myself time in the kitchen. Besides, it’s so much fun!

I also get to add a bunch of amazing Christmas cookie recipes to my recipe box without the usual trial and error. All the legwork has already been done.

Are you looking for a new cookie recipe to try this year? Or are you wanting to put together your own cookie exchange for the holidays? Check out the list below and follow the links for the full recipe.

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Baking Supplies:

  • KitchenAid Stand Mixer – a mixing bowl and hand mixer works just as well however a KitchenAid stand mixer has been a staple in my kitchen for years.
  • Baking sheets – I like these large sheet pans from Wilton with the deep sides. They are very versatile and can be used in multiple ways!
  • Parchment paper – using parchment paper to line your cookie sheets is the best way to prevent the cookies from sticking! I reuse each sheet of parchment multiple times.
  • Rolling pin – I like to use a wooden rolling pin but this comes down to personal preference.
  • Mixing bowls – glass mixing bowls are my favorite because I can see what is happening while mixing.
  • Measuring cups and spoons – I am forever losing and buying new ones!
  • Cookie cutters – there are a ton of different cookie cutter shapes now. Have fun with these!
  • Icing bottles – I much prefer to use icing bottles over piping bags whenever I am decorating my sugar cookies.
  • Wire cooling rack – this one is perfect for cooling the cookies quickly.

Ingredients to keep on hand:

  • Flour
  • Butter
  • White and brown sugar
  • Eggs
  • Cocoa powder
  • Icing sugar
  • A selection of chocolate chips
  • Candy, such as candy canes and caramels, and holiday sprinkles

My favorite holiday cookie recipes:

EGGNOG COOKIE RECIPE

With the classic Christmas season flavor of eggnog, these cookies are a sure-fire hit!

CANDY CANE BROWNIE RECIPE

This is one of my favorite things to bring to holiday parties. Stack them up like Christmas trees and dust with a little icing sugar “snow” for an especially festive presentation.

Candy Cane Brownie Blossom Recipe

CANDY CANE BROWNIE BLOSSOM RECIPE

These easy cookies are a fun twist on peanut butter blossoms and chocolate crinkle cookies. 

CHEWY GINGER SNAP COOKIES

These cookies have all the flavors of gingerbread cookies, but with a soft, chewy texture that I can’t get enough of!

PISTACHIO, CRANBERRY & WHITE CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD RECIPE

These buttery shortbread cookies are loaded with the perfect combination of salty nuts, sweet dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips. They look beautiful on a cookie platter too!

SALTED CARAMEL TURTLE COOKIES

This delicious cookie recipe takes a little more time to prepare, but it’s worth it! They are almost too pretty to eat.

PEPPERMINT DIPPED CHOCOLATE COOKIES

This is one of my favorite recipes for a Christmas cookie swap. They store and freeze beautifully!

CHRISTMAS CRACKER TOFFEE

This recipe is a family tradition that I make every single year. It wouldn’t be Christmas without cracker toffee!

How to host a cookie exchange party:

When organizing a holiday cookie exchange, I simply invite participants from last year and put a call out to friends who may want to join.

Facebook has been the easiest way to organize it all. Once I have a dozen bakers (you could totally do fewer), I send off this little blurb with information and a few cookie exchange rules:

“HELLO LOVELY LADIES!

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! TIME FOR OUR ANNUAL CHRISTMAS BAKING EXCHANGE!! WHOOP WHOOP! I AM (OBVIOUSLY) BEYOND EXCITED! OUR EXCHANGE DATE IS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2ND, 7PM AT ADDRESS (APPIES AND DRINKS ARE PROVIDED).

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THE CHRISTMAS BAKING EXCHANGE IS YOUR CHANCE TO SHOWCASE YOUR BEST / FAVORITE COOKIE. IT’S NOT A GOOD TIME TO EXPERIMENT OR TRY SOMETHING NEW WE WANT TO SHARE OUR VERY BEST BAKING WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY. I WOULD BE HAPPY TO HELP YOU CHOOSE A RECIPE, TASTE TEST, OR BAKE!

COOKIES, BARS OR BON BONS ARE WELCOME. THEY MUST BE PACKAGED BY THE DOZEN WITH A RECIPE TO SHARE. NO NEED FOR FANCY PACKAGING – LARGE ZIPLOCK BAGS WORK WELL. WE HAVE A DOZEN BAKERS SO PLEASE MAKE 12 DOZEN COOKIES/BARS/BON BONS TO EXCHANGE.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US THIS YEAR NEWBIES AND WELCOME BACK VETERANS!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!”

As we get closer to the date of the exchange I ask participants to share what kind of cookie they plan on baking, so that we don’t have any duplicate recipes. I share the updated list with everyone as they choose. 

Tips and tricks:

  • When you’re planning your holiday baking list, always make a few of your best holiday cookies along with a few new recipes. You never know when you’ll find your new family favourite.
  • Have a mix of textures on your cookie tray. Crispy and chewy cookies, crunchy toffee bark, velvety fudge, etc, all create interest.
  • Also have a mix of flavours. Chocolate is delicious, obviously, but it’s nice to have a balance. Try peanut butter, mint, citrus, almond, or vanilla. Include salty, as well as sweet, too.

Do you host or participate in an exchange?  Have any tips for us?  Please share so that everyone can learn tips and trick on how to host their own holiday baking exchange…

about heather

Hello, I’m Heather!

I'm an active mom of twin boys who is always looking for opportunities to inspire creativity through fun crafts, do-it-yourself projects and delicious recipes. This blog has been an integral part of supporting my little family and I am so grateful to have you become a part of our journey! Let's create together... Read more...

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Great share, I have always wanted to do this. I never make it to it as I direct 4 Nutcracker shows, but maybe this year…. :)