If you love cookie exchange parties, but get overwhelmed, you're going to love this post. I'm going to tell you step-by-step how to throw a cookie exchange party with homemade cocoa, too.
This post has been sponsored by Minted, however, all opinions are my own. #ad
Cookie Exchange Party
- Send your invitations a month before. Remember the holidays are a super busy time!
- Keep your guest list manageable. Think about the size of your entertaining space and where the cookies will be displayed.
- Start baking 2-3 days before the party. This gives you plenty of time to put on your hostess hat and get things ready.
- Arrange your cookie station. This area should be easily accessible and big enough to accommodate everyone's cookies. Be sure to provide containers for the cookies.
- Put together some easy appetizers. Everyone loves cookies, of course, but having a few other things on hand will help balance out the sweets.
To start planning your cookie exchange, first pick a time of day that works well for your family. To keep it simple, stay away from mealtimes so that your guests won't be expecting a meal. You can print the invitation below and fill it out by hand, or download this blank version. Have guests bring 2-dozen cookies to share, along with the recipe.
Christmas Party Printable Set
You might also like this fun printable set for Christmastime!
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Cookie Exchange Party Supplies
Make sure you have some [amazon_textlink asin='B071F9YJFN' text='cute boxes' template='ProductLink' store='jugactmam-20' marketplace='US' link_id='0cfcdc2f-b12e-11e8-8dac-e3ba64d97cc2'] to package up the cookies.
Next, I placed an order with Minted for some fun party supplies - I customized my own kit from the Pastoral Noel Party Decor collection. The thick sturdy paper will last a long time, and I know I'll be able to use the banner and garland again next year.
Hot Cocoa Mixes
Start with the cocoa mixes - these make great party favors, stocking stuffers, gifts for teachers and neighbors - you name it! You can make these up well in advance and have them all ready to go. Click here to see the full post, including printable labels.
Be sure to make a large spare batch for the day of the party - let guests choose what they want to mix into their cocoa with a variety of fun and tasty options like candy canes, marshmallows, white chocolate chips - even some liquor for the grown-ups!
Simplifying the Cookies
They key to hosting an easy cookie exchange is to not go too crazy with your cookies. Choose 2 base cookie recipes. I'm using classic Chocolate Chip Cookies and Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. These doughs can be made ahead of time and put in the refrigerator for about a week, or the freezer for about a month. Double the recipes, then divide the dough so you have 2-4 batches then thing about what you want to add to change the look and taste of the cookies.
By switching up the mix-ins, you can create a variety of cookies quickly. Here are some ideas:
- Holiday Chocolate Chips
- [amazon_textlink asin='B000JJO058' text='Confetti Sprinkles' template='ProductLink' store='jugactmam-20' marketplace='US' link_id='03fa3aa2-b12f-11e8-b6aa-3d0cdc2dac37']
- Red and Green M&M candies
- Chopped Nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans)
- Dried Fruit (cranberries, raisins, apricots)
- Chopped Candy Bars or [amazon_textlink asin='B00ZIVLIYS' text='Mini Peanut Butter Cups' template='ProductLink' store='jugactmam-20' marketplace='US' link_id='0bf75d73-b12f-11e8-aefe-2dcf466eb0c6']
- Crushed Peppermint Candies
These are super fun for the kids to help out with since they're so creative!
You can also add 1 teaspoon of [amazon_textlink asin='B004166T04' text='peppermint' template='ProductLink' store='jugactmam-20' marketplace='US' link_id='16a0db4d-b12f-11e8-a28d-19aa6698b673'], almond or orange extract to flavor your cookies differently.
I doubled by chocolate chip cookie recipe and divided the dough into four bowls. I added M&M's to one bowl, holiday red and green chocolate chips to another, and holiday confetti sprinkles to the third. The fourth batch I baked as normal with no mix-ins, but after the cookies cooled, I drizzled them with some melted dark chocolate. You could also use the [amazon_textlink asin='B00FMWYWEQ' text='Wilton candy melts' template='ProductLink' store='jugactmam-20' marketplace='US' link_id='3332b314-b12f-11e8-b3db-b59e962a5cb9'] in festive colors if you prefer.
Next I made the double chocolate chip cookies; I doubled the recipe, then divided it in half. I mixed in red and green chocolate chips for one batch and baked them off as normal.
But for the the second batch, I got a little more creative. I sprayed a whoopie pie pan with baking spray, then pressed the cookie dough into each well. When the cookies baked, they formed a sort of shell - almost like a pie crust. Then when the cookies were cooled completely, I filled the centers with store-bought coconut-pecan frosting. Each one got sprinkled with a few chopped pecans and toasted coconut, then drizzled with dark chocolate. I'm calling them German Chocolate Pie Cookies - and they are awesome! Get the full recipe here.
Simple Scrumptious Party Food
- Creamy Dill Greek Yogurt Dip served with fresh veggies.
- Corn Muffin Chili Cups are easy to make ahead and then let guests assemble themselves.
- Cheesey Spinach Dip with Garlic Roll Dippers is always a crowd-pleaser.
Personalize Your Gifts
I'm sending each of my guests home with a jar of cocoa mix, a selection of cookies, and a jar of sweet treats. I personalized each of them with a sweet Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. I love how these tags dress up the jars, and the bonus is that they can be hung on the tree!
- Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Toasted Pecan Pie Crust Mix from Frugal Foodie Mama
- Gingerbread Yogurt Waffles with Powdered Sugar Glaze from Melanie Makes
- Easy Cherry Pie Cookies from Pint Sized Baker