Cookie swaps — the new Secret Santa

Cookie swaps are a fun holiday tradition that requires little work.

Secret Santas have nothing on cookie swaps. This potluck-style party is a holiday tradition in many parts of the United States, and the rules are simple. Every guest brings a different kind of cookie before swapping with others and creating customized boxes of homemade treats. Here’s how to host this season’s best carb-centric party in four easy steps.


  1. Lay down the rules

Just like with a Secret Santa, your cookie swap won’t work unless everybody follows through. So to alleviate some of the pressures from hosting, don’t be afraid to set a strict deadline for joining the party. Also be clear about how many cookies everyone should bring. A good rule of thumb is 1.5 times the amount of people attending plus 12 more for your cookie recipient to take home. And if any of your guests have food allergies, make sure everyone labels cookies that contain nuts or gluten.


  1. Make it casual

While some cookie swaps can be fancy, elaborate affairs, as college students, it can just be a simple and fun gathering. There is no shame in using disposable plates, cups and serving utensils. Co-hosting the swap with your a friend could be very helpful in keeping the mood light and making sure the planning process does not get too complicated.


  1. Plan other activities

Eating cookies and talking is fun, but not all guests may possess a sweet tooth strong enough to sample more than a dozen different cookies in one sitting. If the conversations lull, it would not hurt to suggest holiday song karaoke or have a few board games strategically located in the room. Especially if there is a large group where everyone may not know each other, these can not only spark connections between new people but can also create fun memories.


  1. Sharpies and labels

People can easily mix up their cups, plates or boxes, so to avoid confusion, err on the side of caution with labeling tools. And to make sure everybody’s plates and boxes gets returned, labeling the plates and containers can help decrease end-of-party stress.


  1. Over prepare

Spills happen. And so do fallen cookies. Unexpected guests and people who forget to bring cookies can show up as well. However, over preparing can help mitigate. Make sure to provide enough plates, cups and napkins for this sweet and probably messy event. It also would not hurt to even bake an extra batch of cookies for any misunderstandings along the way. If none end up happening, there will just be more cookies to eat. If you’re out of ideas, consider making a batch of cookie-butter sandwiches with our WSN original recipe.


Cookie Butter Sandwiches

Yields: 4 dozen


½ cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1½ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 jar cookie butter

1 pinch salt (optional)


Preparing the cookies:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Beat softened butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together with a whisk until creamy and lighter in color. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  3. Whisk in flour and baking soda.
  4. Scoop out dough in teaspoons, roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Use the bottom of a glass or your hand to flatten each dough ball.
  5. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely.


Making the sandwiches:

  1. Match similar sized cookies.
  2. Spread cookie butter onto one cookie’s flat side  and then add a second cookie on top (make sure to have flat side facing the cookie butter). Serve and enjoy!


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