Hosting a Christmas Cookie Exchange is one of those holiday activities that everyone loves. What’s not to love about it? It is a great excuse to get friends, family, or neighbors together to enjoy sweet treats and conversation. Oh, and we can’t forget about the new recipes and ideas you can take home with you!

Here is a list of steps to make sure you have an unforgettable cookie exchange:

  1. To get started make a list of people you would like to invite. The more the merrier but ideally 8 to 12 people makes for a good count.
  2. Identify the best way to coordinate the event. Facebook is an excellent way to reach the masses. While it is probably the simplest way to send mass communication not everyone may have a Facebook account. A text message or email works great also.
  3. Pick a time and date that is convenient for most. You will want to send your invitation at least 3 weeks in advance. Life gets messy so the more notice the better. This time of year can get hectic with decorating, gift buying and other holiday parties so planning is important.
  4. Once you have a confirmed guest list, let the other attendees know how many will be participating so they can plan how many cookies they need to prepare and bring.
  5. Ask each attendee to bring copies of their cookie recipe to share with all participants.
  6. You may suggest attendees bring an extra container for the cookies they will be taking home, or you can furnish a container. During the holidays several stores have super cute disposable take along containers. Start looking early around mid-October as they tend to go fast and are not restocked at store level.
  7. Be sure to send out reminders weekly about the event. Like we said earlier, life gets messy so drop a quick note to remind them and let them know how excited you are to see everyone.

Let’s get baking! So how many cookies should I suggest the attendees bring for those attending the exchange? How many should I suggest they bring for the sampling during the exchange? A good rule of thumb is six cookies per person to take home and four cookies per person for sampling during the exchange.

Have a competitive spirit? Create a competition and have the participants vote for their favorite cookie. Give the winner a small gift.

You might be asking yourself, what else should I serve?  A few savory snacks will help with sugar overload. You will want to plan several drink options to wash everything down. What to serve for both food and drink will depend on the time of day. Don’t overthink this part of the event, the idea is to have fun, enjoy time together and if you’re lucky find a new favorite treat to indulge in.

One of our favorite cookies is from the Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars recipe. This recipe uses our War Eagle Organic All-Purpose Flour. These bars taste great and store well for sharing. See the recipe below.

 

Ingredients

Sugar Cookie Bar

  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract optional
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ¼ cup War Eagle Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Frosting

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
  • holiday sprinkles

Instructions

Sugar Cookie Bars

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Line a 9×13 inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease, or line with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until fluffy.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract, almond extract, and eggs.
  5. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  6. Carefully beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture about ½ at a time.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and with lightly greased hands press it into the pan to form an even layer.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes or until the top is set and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool the bars completely, leaving them in the pan as they cool.

Frosting

  1. Beat the butter until soft, then mix in the cream cheese.
  2. Add in the salt and vanilla extract
  3. With the mixer on low-speed beat in the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time, until the desired sweetness and thickness is reached.
  4. Frost the cooled cookie bars, then sprinkle with holiday sprinkles

Tips:

  • The butter and cream cheese should be softened to room temperature, but not melted. Take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before getting started.
  • Pressing the cookie dough into the prepared pan before baking is sometimes a little tricky. Lightly grease your hands with non-stick cooking spray, then press the dough into the pan. This way it won’t stick to your fingers.
  • The bars should be fully cooled before frosting, otherwise the frosting will melt.
  • Carefully measure the flour. Too much flour will make the bars dry.