Cookie Exchanges: Feast or Fiasco?

Are you familiar with the concept of a “cookie exchange”? It’s a get together hosted around the holidays, focusing around, you guessed it – exchanging cookies. Typically guests each bring different kinds of cookies, and much like kids swap Silly Bandz, grown ups swap cookies. It’s a great way get cookies together for other holiday events and gifts, without having to bake an entire cookie catalog yourself.

It’s a great idea, right? It’s a great idea if you know how to make presentable cookies. If you can make multiple dozens of one recipe consistently enough to present them to a group of your peers. Until today, I didn’t believe I possessed the skills to do either one of those things.¬†Until today, baking cookies stressed me out to the point where I wanted to turn down the invite to this week’s cookie exchange.

Today I picked the right recipe.

Today I picked the right friend to help.

Today I figured out how to make getting ready for a cookie exchange a less overwhelming experience for the non-baker that I am.

Here’s what I did:

  1. I invited an available girlfriend over, and, as it turns out, she knew a little bit about baking cookies. The time also flew by while we caught up as we worked.
  2. I found a recipe for Sour Cream Sugar Cookies. This recipe yields close to 9 dozen medium sized cookies.
  3. I started with a clean kitchen and an empty sink & dishwasher.
  4. I used sticks of shortening because it’s decidedly¬†less gross then digging into a tub of shortening.
  5. I chose one cookie cutter shape. This made it easy to fit the cookies on the baking sheets and in the containers.
  6. When I started baking, I put my friend on decorating duty and I manned the oven. These cookies only take about 8 minutes to bake, so with two rotating cookies sheets, there’s not much time between batches. She was able to keep up on the glaze/ sprinkle end, while I made sure nothing burned.
  7. Once the cookies were cool enough to ice, we boxed them directly into the containers I’ll be bringing to the exchange. We made each container exactly two dozen, so that it was easy to keep track of how many we had made.

Can you tell that I’m geeked to have had such success in the kitchen today? The cookies are all snug in their air-tight containers. I’ll bring a platter so I can show them off on exchange night, and then I can use the airtight containers to bring home dozens of someone else’s baked goodness. I sure hope someone’s making buckeyes……

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