I’m Full. Full of yummy, sugary Christmas goodies. Full from spending the morning with good friends. Today was our 4th Annual Christmas Cookie Swap. It’s a common party theme now and there are many different ways to throw a cookie swap. Here is what we do … along with some yummy recipes from the other gals & some pictures of the goodies! EnJoy.
How to throw a cookie swap:
1. Invite people with plenty of notice so that people have time to make (and possibly freeze) their treats prior to the party, as well as book time during busy holiday months, such as December. Another fun cookie swap would be around Valentine’s day. I like one in December because it stocks your pantry & freezer with beautiful, tasty treats for your guest and lovely hostess gifts.
2. Over the past 4 years we’ve tried some different methods. The one that has worked well is as follows. Invite as many people as you’d like. Have them RSVP and confirm their attendance for your information (snacks / beverages etc). Have each guest make 6 dozen (cookies, squares, treats) and pkg them per dozen. Works well if there are 6-10 people. As people arrive you can label their treats with a number. Cut up strips of paper and write down 6, #1’s, 6 #2’s, etc. up until the number of people you have. Once everyone arrives, each guest gets to choose 6 numbers from a hat (they can throw it back if they get their own number). Then they grab the treats that correspond to those 6 numbers. This works really well and then it isn’t a problem if someone can’t attend last minute, etc.
3. Also remind your guests to bring a box or bag to take their treats home in … as well as a copy of the recipe for each of their 6 dozen.
4. Make some light snacks. I try to make something other than sweets … 😉 Today I made mini quiches, fruit, baked brie, crackers, water, a festive “drink” (raspberry ginger ale) ..
5. We like to have a “taste test” for tastiest goodie! Just for fun … my husband is more than happy to be the tester … so ask your guests to bring an extra treat or two for tasting.
6. Pop on some holiday tunes & enjoy another excuse to visit with good friends! Happy swapping 😉
PS. It’s nice to have your guests bring food bank or silent santa items as well …
Recipes that were generously shared from friends at today’s swap (many or all of these recipes are not original) :
I am currently enjoying this!!
- 5-6 Quarts popped popcorn (large roasted pan full or the top of your cake carrier almost full)
- 1 cup margarine or butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
Combine in medium saucepan the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Caution: this could froth over if your pot is not big enough.
Pour carmel sauce over popcorn, toss until all is coated. Place in baking pans/roaster and bake uncovered at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
Spread popcorn over waxed paper to cool. Freezes well.
Fabulous Five-Minute Fudge Wreath
- 1 bag semisweet chocolate morsels (12 ounces)
- 9 ounces butterscotch morsels (3/4 of 12 ounce bag)
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds (or nut of choice)
- 1/3 cup of craisins
- 8 inch cake pan, lightly greased with softened butter
- serves 36-48 (2 lbs)
Place a heavy pot on the stove and pre-heat it over low heat. Add chocolate and butterscotch morsels and milk and stir until morsels are melted and milk is combined. Save the empty condensed milk can. Stir in the vanilla and remove the fudge from the heat. Add the nuts and currants and stir in immediately.
Cover the empty condensed milk can with plastic wrap and center it in the greased cake pan. Spoon fudge into pan around can, making sure to centre the can if it drifts.
The fudge will set up almost immediately. Garnish can only be added in the first minute or two that the fudge is in the pan, so work quickly. Decorate your wreath with “holly” made from cut candied red and green cherries. A wreath left plain can be garnished with pretty fabric bow when serving.
**I love this fudge recipe because the possibilities are endless. You can add anything, or leave it plain chocolate!**
Another favourite of our little boys were these oh so pretty …
Swirl Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup icing sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter cut in chunks
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp food coloring
- 1 1/2 cups holiday sprinkles
In a stand mixer, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugars with paddle on medium until well blended.
Add butter in, gradually, and continue mixing. Add in vanilla. At this point, your dough will form a ball on your paddle.
Remove all of your dough and divide into two equal parts. Return one portion back in the mixer and add the food coloring and any extra extracts. I used Wilton gel food coloring in leaf green and vanilla extract. If you are using liquid food coloring, you will need to add a few tbsp of flour to keep the dough from becoming too wet. Mix until the color is spread out evenly.
Roll out each portions of your dough, between two sheets of wax paper until it reaches about 11×9 inches and is 1/4 inch thick. Slide both onto a cookie sheet and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. When firm remove the top sheets of wax paper from both. Brush the uncolored vanilla dough lightly with water using a pastry brush. Then flip the colored dough onto the vanilla uncolored dough so they are stacked a top each other and even.
Press the edges lightly with your fingers to seal the edges. Using a small pairing knife, trim the edges of the dough to make straight even lines.
Pour sprinkles onto a large platter and set aside. Be sure your dough is still cold, but flexible. Once it’s ready, begin rolling the long side of dough into a swirl, jelly-roll style.
Gently lift your dough log onto the sprinkles and roll away. Cover the log completely with your sprinkles. Wrap the colorfully decorated log in plastic wrap twice. Depending on when you want to bake the cookies, either place the wrapped dough in the fridge for about 3-4 hours or you can put it in the freezer and keep it there for up to 2 months.
Slice your dough into 1/4-1/8 inch slices and bake on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes until edges are slightly golden. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move to baking rack to cool.
We had 2 ladies bring Whipped shortbread (both looked fantastic .. and very similar .. the recipes were almost identical. One of them won the “tastiest treat” award .. and here it is
- 1/2 lb butter softened
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 1/2 cup flour
Beat 10 minutes with mixer. Drop in spoon fulls on an ungreased pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.
** I need to find a fantastic GF shortbread recipe … anyone have one??**
Always a party FAVOURITE is Nuts & Bolts!
- 1/2 -1 box Cheerios
- 1/2-1 box Shreddies
- 1/2-1 box Crispix
- 4-5 cups pretzels
- Peanuts (plain or bbq) 2 cups
- 1 1/2 cup butter or marg
- 3 tbsp Seasoning salt
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
*You may want to double ingredients from butter down if you are doing full boxes of cereals
Put first 5 ingredients into a large roaster. Melt butter in bowl, then stir in seasoned salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Drizzle over contents in roaster. Stir carefully and mix well. Roast uncovered in 250 degrees oven for 1 1/2 hours. Stir about every 20 minutes while roasting. Cool. Store in airtight containers. Makes about 5 quarts.
My treats were Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cup Brownies adapted from Nestle’s very best baking
- 1 box of your favourite Brownie mix (CHEATING!!) hehe … I used Betty Crocker GF chocolate cake mix
- 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
- 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease 40 mini muffin cups (mine made 60 mini muffin cups.vPrepare boxed boxed brownie or cake mix as directed. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake for 13-15 minutes. After brownies are out of oven, push the centre down with small spoon. Put tsp of peanut butter in the centre. Add peanut butter & chocolate chips over top … let melt and then cool on baking rack.
A really cool treat, were the homemade mints!
Creamy no-cook mints
Yield 7 dozen
- 1 pkg light cream cheese
- 1/4 tsp mint extract
- 2 drop of green food coloring (or color of choice)
- 4 1/4 – 4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
- super fine sugar
Another guest brought Monster Cookies … this recipes comes from allrecipes.com
- 1 cup margarine, softened
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 3 cups peanut butter
- 6 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 9 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 pound candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
- 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips
Who else enjoyed today’s party …Hope you are all enjoying December and all of it’s holiday celebrations!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, white sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs, two at a time, then stir in the corn syrup and vanilla. Mix in baking soda and oats until well blended. Stir in the chocolate candies and chocolate chips. Roll dough into 2 inch balls, and place 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes, before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.