As we enter this festive season, and more emphasis is placed on time with family, enjoying delicious seasonal food and drinks, what better time to host a cookie exchange? Considered an American holiday tradition, the cookie exchange is a wonderful way to get into the spirit, while building your recipe repertoire. Although it’s unclear when cookie swaps officially began, according to Robin Olson, author of The Cookie Party Cookbook, the earliest documented event happened in Syracuse, New York in 1936 during a town meeting. However, Olson goes on to state on her website, cookie-exchange.com, that more information has been found to indicate that cookie swaps can be traced as far back as the late 1800s. Hanady Awada, our Food File columnist, is a big fan of the tradition, and recently hosted her Second Annual Cookie Exchange, complete with prizes and a festive house full of laughter among neighbors and friends. She was kind enough to share some tips on how we can host our own party.
Hanady's sweet swap lasted from 8pm-10:30pm and was highlighted by prizes given for cookies in three different categories. While guest mingled and sampled each other’s creations, they also voted for their favorite recipe. The prizes included a snowman cookie jar, a Santa cookie plate and box of delicious treats worth ¥300 from Sugar Mamas.
“It was a great way to get to know new neighbors better, and laugh with old friends,” said Awada of the evening. Her suggestions for guests who are new to the idea but want to create a successful event would be to offer a helping hand during clean-up or bring the hostess a small thank-you gift.
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
130 gr butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 jar of raspberry jam
2 egg whites
3/4 (heaping) cup of granulated sugar
Chopped almonds for decoration
3.Place on un-greased cookie sheet and make a hole with your thumb (without punching through the dough completely) and fill it with raspberry jam.
1. Heat oven to 175°C. Combine the ingredients for dough in a food processor or by hand. Don’t over work the dough. Let it rest in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
2. Roll the dough into a "sausage" with a diameter of approximately 3cm. Cut in 1cm thick pieces.