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HOST A COOKIE EXCHANGE

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HOST A COOKIE EXCHANGE
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HOLIDAY GIFTS FROM YOUR KITCHEN
LETTER FROM SANTA
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Find 12 holiday cookie recipes geared to make enough cookies to exchange with friends. Everyone takes home a variety of cookies and enough to share through the holidays.

Host to host a cookie exchange

Invite up to 15 people so you ultimately have a total of 12 participants, including yourself. Chances are not everyone you invite will be able to attend and padding the invite list will help ensure your party is well-attended. Ask guests to bring at least six dozen homemade cookies to share. Each guest will ultimately take home six dozen cookies, six from each of the 12 recipes. Extra cookies can be packaged with a little holiday flair and donated to a local community facility. Before guests arrive, prepare light snacks and festive drinks, such as cider, hot chocolate and eggnog. Fill your home with holiday music, décor and holiday-scented candles to set the mood. Place cookies in a designated area and ask guests to fill their holiday platter with six of each kind of cookie. Provide each guest with printed copies of the recipes to take home.

Helpful Hints

Keep ‘em Separated: To maintain a cookie’s flavor and freshness, store different varieties in individual packets using Press’n Seal wrap.

Sticky Situation: Prevent dough from sticking to cookie cutters by dipping the cutters in flour first.

Safe Travels: Use Press’n Seal wrap to transport plates of cookies. The wrap seals to paper plates, glass platters - even wooden trays.

Cookie Exchange Recipes

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies
Espresso Thumbprint Cookies
Classic Sugar Cookies
Mexican Wedding Cakes
Triple-Chocolate Mini Cups
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Holiday Snickerdoodles
Gingerbread People
Turtle Shortbread Cookies
Double-Chocolate and Caramel Bars
Frosted Bonbons
Linzer Torte Bars

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Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fill your cookie jar with a classic drop cookie that's doubly satisfying. Chocolate lovers will love the chips, and whole-grain seekers will appreciate the natural oats.

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)

1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir brown sugar and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda and salt; stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

2. Onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.

3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

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Espresso Thumbprint Cookies (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

Make your mark with coffee-flavored cookies. The shape is classic. COOKIES

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup baking cocoa

1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee (dry)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 egg yolks

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

ESPRESSO FILLING

1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream

2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee (dry)

1 bag (11 1/2 oz) milk chocolate chips (2 cups)

1 tablespoon coffee-flavored liqueur, if desired

 

DECORATION

About 1/3 cup crushed peppermint candies, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, shortening, butter, cocoa, 1 tablespoon dry espresso, the vanilla and egg yolks with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until creamy. Stir in flour and salt.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press thumb into center of each cookie to make indentation, but do not press all the way to the cookie sheet.

3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm. Quickly remake indentations with end of wooden spoon if necessary. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat whipping cream and 2 tablespoons dry espresso over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until steaming and espresso is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips until melted. Stir in liqueur. Cool until thickened, about 10 minutes.

5. Spoon rounded 1/2 teaspoon filling into indentation in each cookie. Top each cookie with 1/4 teaspoon crushed candies.

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Classic Sugar Cookies (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

Mmm! Melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies. Enjoy a classic!

3 cups powdered sugar

2 cups butter or margarine, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 eggs

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

 

DECORATOR'S GLAZE

4 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon almond extract

Food colors, as desired

 

DECORATIONS

Betty Crocker® decorating gel (in 0.68-oz tubes)

colored sugar and/or decors, if desired

Betty Crocker® decorating icing (in 4.25-oz tubes), if desired

Flaked coconut, if desired

1. In large bowl, beat 3 cups powdered sugar, the butter, vanilla, 1 teaspoon almond extract and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

2. Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface, roll each half 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with 3-inch cookie cutters. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

3. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

4. In small bowl, beat all glaze ingredients except food colors on low speed until smooth. Divide among several small bowls. Stir desired food color, one drop at a time, into each until desired color. Decorate cookies with glaze and other decorations as desired.

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Mexican Wedding Cakes (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

Celebrate with rich and buttery melt-in-your-mouth cookies. You’ll find that one just isn’t enough!

1 cup powdered sugar

2 cups butter or margarine, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup finely chopped nuts

1/2 teaspoon salt

Additional powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 400°F. In large bowl, mix 1 cup powdered sugar, the butter and vanilla. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Roll in additional powdered sugar while warm. Cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar again.

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Triple-Chocolate Mini Cups (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

Craving chocolate? Indulge in triple-treat chocolate cookies.

3/4 cup butter or margarine

4oz unsweetened baking chocolate

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup baking cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

6 dozen Betty Crocker® Candied Fruit

Fruit whole candied cherries, pecan halves, chocolate chunks or Hershey®’s Kisses® milk chocolates

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place mini paper baking cups in mini muffin pan cups OR use mini foil muffin cups if you don’t have mini muffin pans.

2. In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat 6 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth; cool 20 minutes. In large bowl, beat melted chocolate mixture, sugar, 1 cup of the flour, the cocoa, baking powder, salt and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed about 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally, until well blended. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup flour and the chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons into mini cups.

3. Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until edges are slightly firm (center will be slightly soft). Immediately top each with cherry, pecan half or chocolate, pressing slightly. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

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Peanut Butter Blossoms (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

Watch for smiles and plenty of hugs when you pass a tray of favorite chocolate and peanut butter cookies.

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Additional granulated sugar (about 2 tablespoons)

About 7 dozen Hershey®’s Kisses® milk chocolates

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in additional granulated sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Immediately press 1 chocolate candy in center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

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Holiday Snickerdoodles (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

Red and green sugars dress up a best-loved cookie for the holidays.

2 tablespoons Betty Crocker® Decors red sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons Betty Crocker® Decors green sugar

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 eggs

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 400ºF. In small bowl, mix red sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon; set aside. In another small bowl, mix green sugar and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon; set aside.

2. In large bowl, beat sugar, shortening, butter and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Roll in sugar-cinnamon mixtures. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

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Gingerbread People (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

"Can we eat them yet?" is the first question you’ll hear when baking spicy gingerbread cookies. The aroma is almost as good as the taste!

COOKIES

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups dark molasses

2/3 cup cold water

7 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

EASY CREAMY FROSTING

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

About 5 tablespoons half-and-half

1. In large bowl, stir together brown sugar, shortening, molasses and water. Stir in remaining cookie ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

2. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. On floured surface, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut with floured gingerbread cutter or other favorite shaped cutter. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched (for a softer, chewier cookie, bake 8 to 10 minutes). Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

4. In large bowl, stir together all frosting ingredients until smooth and spreadable. Decorate cookies with frosting.

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Turtle Shortbread Cookies (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

Chocolate, caramel and nuts create the classic turtle flavors that are anything but slow in leaving a serving tray.

1 1/2 cups butter or stick margarine, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2teaspoon salt

24 caramels

1 bag (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)

2 teaspoons shortening

1 cup chopped pecans

6 dozen pecan halves

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, mix butter, sugar and almond extract. Stir in flour and salt. (If dough is crumbly, mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons additional softened butter or stick margarine.)

2. Divide dough into 12 equal parts. Roll each part into 1/4-inch thick circle. (If dough is sticky, chill about 15 minutes.) Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Place wedges 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat caramels over medium heat about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until melted. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and shortening uncovered on High 1 to 3 minutes, stirring halfway through heating time, until melted and thin enough to drizzle.

4. Dip 2 straight edges of each cookie into melted caramel, then into chopped pecans. (If caramel thickens, add up to 1 teaspoon water and heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until caramel softens.)

5. Place a dot of melted chocolate on top of each cookie; place pecan half on chocolate. Drizzle remaining chocolate on tops of cookies

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Double-Chocolate and Caramel Bars (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

Indulge in rich bars that combine favorite caramel and chocolate flavors.

BARS

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup baking cocoa

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 cups firm butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1 bag (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

48 caramels

2 cans (14 oz each) sweetened condensed milk

 

CHOCOLATE GLAZE ICING

1 bag (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)

1 teaspoon shortening or vegetable oil

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with foil, leaving about 2 inches of foil hanging over sides of pan.

2. In large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, cocoa and egg. Cut in 1 1/4 cups of the butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until crumbly. Stir in walnuts; reserve 3 cups of the crumb mixture. Press remaining mixture firmly in bottom of pan; sprinkle with 2 cups chocolate chips. Bake 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in heavy 2-quart saucepan, melt caramels with sweetened condensed milk and remaining 1/4 cup butter over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour over crust. Top with reserved crumb mixture. Bake about 20 minutes longer or until bubbly. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

4. In small microwavable bowl, microwave 1 cup chocolate chips and the shortening uncovered on High 1 to 3 minutes, stirring halfway through heating time, until melted and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over bars. For bars, cut into 12 rows by 6 rows.

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Frosted Bonbons (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

Delight in a sweet almond surprise baked in the center of frosted bonbons.

BONBONS

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 package (7- or 8-oz size) almond paste

VANILLA BONBON FROSTING

1 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

CHOCOLATE BONBON FROSTING

1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

DECORATION

Betty Crocker® sugar sequins or other decors

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat all bonbon ingredients except almond paste with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until dough forms.

2. Cut almond paste into 1/4-inch slices; cut each slice into fourths. Shape 1-inch ball of dough around each piece of almond paste. Gently roll to form ball. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set and bottom is golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

4. For vanilla frosting, in small bowl, stir all Vanilla Bonbon Frosting ingredients until smooth.

5. For chocolate frosting, in small bowl, stir all Chocolate Bonbon Frosting ingredients until smooth. If necessary, stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until soft enough to spread.

6. Dip tops of cookies into frostings and sprinkle with decors as desired.

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Linzer Torte Bars (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

Three easy steps give you fruit-filled bars for a crowd!

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups powdered sugar

3 cups ground walnuts

1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 cups raspberry or strawberry preserves

Additional powdered sugar, if desired

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir together all ingredients except preserves and additional powdered sugar with spoon until crumbly. Reserve 2 cups of the mixture for topping; press remaining mixture in bottom of ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan

2. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Spread with preserves. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture; press gently into preserves.

3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. For bars, cut into 12 rows by 6 rows

I LOVE USING THIS LIST, ADDING SOME TOLL HOUSE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES, A FEW PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES AND A BUNCH OF SCHOOLHOUSE COOKIES (found in the cookie section) TO IT, PACKAGING THEM IN DECORATOR TINS AND GIVING THEM AS CHRISTMAS GIFTS.