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Capers Catering

Holiday Cookie Swap

Molasses Cookie

This Friday, we are catering an annual cookie swap party for one of our favorite clients. Cookie swaps are a great way to gain a wide variety of holiday cookies, without having to do all of the baking yourself.  They are such a great way to spend some time with your favorite friends.

Thinking of this event gave me a moment to pause, and quickly list some helpful hints for planning your own cookie swap this holiday season.

1) Send out invitations one month in advance, preferably with Paperless Post or Evite.  These services make it so easy to send a reminder to those who are not quick to respond.  Remember to ask guests to prepare at least 6-8 dozen cookies placed on their own platters and copies of their recipes.  I like to invite approximate 24 close friends, as I find anymore than that interferes with the quality time I get to spend with each person.

2) Not everyone has time to create an elaborate menu, just be sure to include some menu selections that are savory, since sweets have already been addressed.  Put together a simple fruit and cheese platter, little tea sandwiches or a baked turkey with little rolls and spreads, mixed nuts, and an assortment of vegetables with hummus and herb dips.

3) Don’t forget a fun signature cocktail or set-up a cocoa bar with interesting toppings, such as, whipped cream, chocolate shavings, crushed peppermint candies, cinnamon, mini marshmallows, Kahlua, Amaretto, and Godiva Liqueur.

4) Use place cards to label each cookie as they arrive, so that everyone know the name of each cookie, and if they contain nuts.

5) If you are looking for cookie swap inspirations, this book is terrific: The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook.

Sugar Cookie
6) I like to set-up a card table wrapping station with fun containers for the cookies, ribbons, labels, disposable plates, cellophane, scissors, hole punches, color tissue paper, stickers, and fun bunting.  The Container Store, Michael’s, and AC Moore are great sources for creating this table.

7) Download a festive holiday playlist.

The Recipes:

Molasses Cookies ~ 3 dozen
2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 baking soda
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 stick butter, softened
4 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, sift flour, add spices and baking soda.
2) Set aside 1/2 cup sugar.
3) In an electric mixer, cream together sugar, butter and shortening.  Beat in egg and molasses.  Gradually add in the dry mixture.
4) Roll dough into 1″ balls and dip into reserved sugar.  Place balls on a parchment lined baking sheet, evenly spaced approximate 3″ apart.  Tap down to flatten slightly.
5) Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges firm up.  Cool the cookies on racks.

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies ~ 4 dozen
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon + 2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine 2 Tbsp. cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl.
2)In a mixing bowl, sift flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
3) In an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and shortening.  Then add eggs and almond extract.  Add dry ingredients slowly.
4) Roll dough into 1″ balls and roll in cinnamon sugar.  Place balls on a parchment lined baking sheet, evenly spaced approximately 3″ apart.  Tap down to flatten slightly.
5) Bake for 12 minutes until just set and crisp.  Cool the cookies on racks.