I was recently invited to a party all about cookies. I mean, what could be better than that? Everyone is encouraged to bake about three dozen of their favorite cookie recipe, pack them up, and bring them to a girl's night. Basically, it's an excuse to get together for some much-needed girl time, and then get to go home with samples of everyone's freshly baked cookies!
So, exactly how do you host a party like this? I've got a few tips that will make a cookie swap party a huge success!
Before the Swap: When you invite your girlfriends, make sure you inform them exactly what the party is all about. Explain the rules and make sure they know to bring copies of their recipe on index cards to pass around. If there is a special family history attached to the recipe, have them write that in as well. If some of your guests aren't well acquainted, there may be some food allergies you aren't aware of, so it's important to have the ingredients available for each type of cookie. You can also have wax paper on hand for the girls to separate their cookies if they want. Everyone will also want to bring a container or two to put their cookies into. It would also be a cute idea to provide the containers, they'll make great party favors!
Setting Up: Really the only area that needs special attention is the area where everyone's cookies will be displayed. And it can be as simple or elaborate as you want. Just keep the cookies the main event. Just having a table–dining room, coffee, or folding–where the cookies can go is all that's necessary. You can probably find really affordable platters (or ones you already have will work perfectly) to scatter on the table for the cookies to sit on. They don't even have to match. The cookies themselves will spruce them up. Have a selection of drinks too. This is a great time to pull out a punch bowl if you have one. There's also the option of having a few salty snacks to balance out all the sweetness, although it isn't necessary.
Looking forward to the party, I've been exploring my cookbooks for some classic cookie recipes that will flood my house with the aroma of the holiday season. Here's one of the contenders that sounds really yummy, yet super easy to make a lot of. This recipe makes about 120 cookies:
2 cups butter (4 sticks), softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, beat butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and almond extract. Reduce speed to low; add flour and salt and beat until well combined, occasionally scraping down bowl with rubber spatula.
2. Place about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie onto cookie sheet and press down slightly with a spoon.
3. Bake until edges are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. With a spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.