3 Recipes To Make for Your Cookie Exchange Party

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I love cookies, but you know what I love more? Making cookies. Of course, this gets me into trouble because someone has to eat all those cookies, and for the sake of my waistline, it can’t all be me. Over the holidays, I scratch this itch by making batches of cookies and gifting them to people. A few years ago, when I lived in Brooklyn, I realized that I had some friends who loved baking as much as I did, so we started a cookie exchange party during the holidays.

These parties lasted hours and became a fun social gathering. Friends would bring raw cookie dough — we coordinated ahead of time, so no one brought the same kind — and we would make batch after batch of cookies in my oven, from early afternoon into the late evening. The aroma of fresh-baked cookies was intoxicating, along with the copious amounts of wine we drank as the night wore on. At the end of the party, I would give the attendees a large Ziploc, and we divvied up the spoils. This meant I had a variety of cookies, which freeze exceptionally well, all through the holiday season. 

Today, I still host cookie exchange parties, but the group has gotten much bigger, so we don’t bake the cookies fresh anymore. Now people bring cookies they’ve already made. At the end of the party, guests take whatever cookies they want. My cookie exchange is coming up in early December, and here are the three kinds of cookies I plan to make this year.

Wichcraft Peanut Butter Cream’wich Cookies

I used to work in Midtown Manhattan, and right across the street was a sandwich shop by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio. It was a grab-and-go joint with fantastic sandwiches and other lunch items. But the best part was the peanut butter cookie sandwiches, which I became obsessed with. Oftentimes I’d skip the sandwich and go straight for the cookies, along with a cup of coffee. When the recipe was published in 'wichcraft: Craft a Sandwich Into a Meal — And a Meal Into a Sandwich: A Cookbook, I was overjoyed. I make this easy recipe every year, and it’s so good I sometimes don’t want to share.

Brown Sugar Cookies

If you’re a fan of Cook’s Illustrated, you know the recipes have been rigorously tested by Christopher Kimball’s America’s Test Kitchen. My friend Amy brought this recipe to our first cookie exchange party, and it instantly became a favorite. It turns a sugar cookie on its head by browning the butter, giving it a distinctively nutty taste. It’s soft on the inside and crisp on the outside, and you won’t be able to stop yourself from eating half the batch before your guests even arrive.

Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies

As a food writer in Las Vegas, I’ve been lucky enough to eat at some of the best restaurants in town. While I’ve had many memorable meals, it’s the little things that stick out in my mind, like these flourless chocolate-walnut cookies from French pastry chef François Payard, who had a patisserie inside Caesars Palace. Whenever I went to the resort, I made sure to grab several. The richness of the chocolate and the incredible texture of the cookie are ridiculously addictive. When I found the recipe online, I was shocked at how easy it was to make, and when you realize there’s no flour or butter, you’ll truly believe in Christmas miracles.

Tags: Baking, Christmas, Desserts, holiday baking, holiday season

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Genevie Durano

Genevie Durano has worked in various magazines in New York City, and currently is the food editor for Las Vegas Weekly magazine. See Full Bio

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