Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Cookie Exchanges- A Great Budget and Time Saver!

I am so pleased that Heather from At the Picket Fence is returning to Serenity Now today to share some tips on hosting a Holiday Cookie Exchange. She also has a delicious cookie recipe for us. I hope you're enjoying my current Christmas series as much as I am...so many great ideas!

Help me welcome Heather!


What is it about the holidays and cookies? I mean, I love cookies year round; my hips are testimony to that. But while I may bake a batch here or there for a special treat or for a party, when Christmas rolls around, I turn into a cookie baking fool! We're talking dozens and dozens of cookies. To me, it just wouldn't be Christmas without buckeyes and fudge. Or decorated sugar cookies and gingerbread men. Cookies bring up so many childhood memories.

I definitely think my sister and I inherited our cookie making addiction from our Grandmother Kaiser. While most kids wait with baited breath for the postman to bring a big box full of presents from their grandparents each year, we waited for something far more special. Something that we knew came around only at Christmas.

It seemed innocent enough. That plain brown box sitting on the front porch. But when we removed the last bit of packing tape and opened up the flaps we knew a special treat awaited inside....Grandmas Christmas Cookies! Bags and bags of every imaginable cookie there is. See, this was the best kind of present because these were labeled..."Open Now!" and boy, did we ever. The buckeyes were always the first to go. We ate them down to the little crumbs lingering at the bottom of those baggies.

My grandmother gave us more than an affinity for Christmas cookie baking, she gave us precious memories and towards the end of her life. It was so much fun to return the blessing by boxing up her favorite cookies and shipping them her. Cookie Exchanges can be such a great way to usher in the holidays and can be not only a budget saver, but a time saver as well!

What better way to have a variety of cookies to get you through the hustle and bustle of this season? And when you host or attend a Cookie Exchange, you can bake up a big batch of one type of cookie and come home with a tons of different baked goods for your family to enjoy.

Don’t let the fear of hosting a party keep you from holding your own Cookie Exchange. It can be as simple as sending an invitation electronically through sites such as evite, gathering up some inexpensive paper goods from the Dollar Tree, and providing some hot cider and coffee. Don’t stress about the house. Give it a light cleaning, light some holiday scented candles and dim the lights. You can even snack on the cookies everyone brings before splitting them up among the attendees. This type of party couldn’t be easier.

And speaking of easy, here’s a great cookie recipe – the dough can be frozen and pulled out when needed!

This is such a great little cookie staple. The dough can be frozen up to a month in advance, and there are a variety of additions you can make to shortbread. We decided on just the plain shortbread and then added a special little touch at the end by dusting cocoa powder over each cookie using a snowflake template. So festive!

Holiday Shortbread Cookies-
Everyday Food Magazine, Dec. 2010 issue

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
2 1/3 cups all-purposed flour (spooned and leveled)
1/3 cup course or sanding sugar (optional)

add in options:
3/4 cup chopped mix-ins such as dried fruit, nuts or bittersweet chocolate along with the flour.These can be made into chocolate shortbread by using 1/3 cup cocoa powder in place of 1/3 cup flour and add 6 oz. finely chopped bittersweet chocolate into the dough. For a decorative look, cookies can be dusted with cocoa powder using stencils after cookies have cooled completely.

In a food processor, combine butter, confectioner's sugar and salt. Process until smooth. Add flour and pulse just until combined. Form dough into 8 inch long round or square log. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. A little trick is to lay the dough on the length of plastic wrap and use the wrap to help you form the roll. Freeze until firm, 30 minutes or up to 1 month.

I hope you enjoy this holiday cookie recipe, and I hope you’ll consider hosting your own Cookie Exchange for your friends and family! I’d also love to have you join us over At The Picket Fence, where we will be sharing some great holiday crafts, projects and recipes all season long! A big thank you to Amanda, for letting me hang here today at Serenity Now!

I'm drooling a little bit. December is such a busy month, but I've always wanted to host a cookie exchange. Thanks for the tips to help us get started, Heather! This would be fun for my book club.

Please be sure to stop by At the Picket Fence and say hello to Heather and Vanessa. Those two stylish sisters have a blog full of inspiring ideas. Add them to your "must-read" list!

If you'd like to read the rest of the posts in my Season of Serenity at Home Christmas series, just click over. All the posts are labelled there!

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. 


  1. Aww, I love Heather and Vanessa! They're such sweeties. =) These cookies look yummy. Sunday I'm attending a cookie exchange. This year I'm taking egg nog cookies. Last night I did half a batch as a tester ; ) and they were really good! They'll be on my blog soon. =)

    ~ Catie

  2. It's been a few years since I've been invited to a cookie exchange. I loved coming home with a variety of cookies to enjoy.

    Heather's recipe looks great!

  3. Heather and Vanessa are such wonderful people! And aren't Heather's food photos just incredible? Wow.

    I haven't been part of a cookie exchange in many years, but this post makes me want to host one!!

  4. Awww, thanks gals for your sweet comments and thank you Amanda for having me today! My own post has put me in the mood for some cookie baking! ;)


  5. I have always wanted to host a cookie swap! It hasn't happened yet, but one of these days it will:) Those cookies look delish!

  6. I've never been to a cookie exchange...but it looks like a lot of fun.
    Debbie :)


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