Let me begin by saying that the intent of this post was to outline a step by step guide on how to successfully host a Cookie Exchange. Oh, don’t worry, I’m going to give you the ins an outs of hosting one of these shindigs with your peeps at work or wherever you would want to throw a cookie exchange during this holiday season.
Before I get to that I have to tell you that I have made gingerbread people many times in my life and for the most part these are one of the easiest and cutest cookies I have ever baked……except…..this time. Why is it that when you want something to look stellar and are in a hurry you end up with an epic fail? Well, lemme tell you what the cardinal rule of baking is……PATIENCE…..lots of PATIENCE. Which I rarely have. If you’re in a hurry, just don’t bake. Step away from the kitchen and go for a run or something. JUST DON’T BAKE. GO AWAY…JUST GO.
So there I was, with all my ingredients lined up and I opened the fridge to find that I had ONE egg. Who only has ONE egg? Ya, I know in the pic below there are 7 eggs but there’s a resason for it…read on.
Apparently, I did and it seems that since my children left, there is some covert egg rationing taking place in my home. The reason why there was only ONE EGG was because it was Saturday morning and Steve was at the gym. What does that have to do with anything? Uh. He’s my egg man. He shops at the market after he does his workout. He also stops at the local bakery, grabs some fresh breads and bagels and each week he asks me the same question. “What kind of bagel would you like?”
How do you choose a bagel when there are over 30 flavours to choose from? HOW? Easy, just pick the one that that takes the least amount of imagination and will cause the most amount of flossing (poppyseed).
Why are we talking about bagels? Oh yes, it was about the the single egg in the fridge.
When you bake it’s pretty risky to have one egg on hand. Pretttttty prettttty risky. Things could happen. Things like dropping the egg (done that). Different egg scenarios could make or “break” your recipe…..especially if you are working in substandard conditions with only one choice….and one egg. I needed to come up with a #scrambledplan. It’s a good thing I had the opportunity to team up with the Egg Farmers of Canada and Food Bloggers of Canada to come up with this PLAN!
I made my gingerbread dough, with the lone egg and rolled it out. At that stage I was relieved that my ONLY egg made it through the process and if I do say so myself, the dough was pretty awesome. I used my handy dandy cookie cutters and made a bunch of these gingerbreads in different sizes. Mini’s and large ones. Cute right? THEN, I baked them in batches, carefully spacing them on my cookie sheet so that they didn’t attach together in a conga line. They were perfect. PERFECT I TELL YA.
Here’s when things went a bit awry.
As they were cooling, I touched a few to make sure they were ready for their icing job. They felt okay to me. I got my icing bag and off I went to decorate them. My intent was to keep it as simple as possible. TWO EYES, THREE BUTTONS – DONE. TWO EYES, THREE BUTTONS – DONE. TWO EYES, THREE BUTTONS – DONE. Until all the eyes and buttons were completed. So far so good right? Oh, and they I made them non gender specific so that they would remain PEOPLE and not MEN.
Every single one of these G. People ended up with their eyes fusing together. I now had over 30 of them wearing blindfolds. Blindfolded gingerbread non gender specific PEOPLE!!!
Think quick. I grabbed em’ and dashed to the sink then proceeded to wash off their blindfolds. Listen to me. This wasn’t my first kitchen rodeo. I have baked since I was 9 years old. What possessed me to wash a cookie in a state of panic? I have no clue. All I knew was this. I had a bunch of cookies that were no longer wearing blindfolds but were a wet soggy mess. Panic set in. I needed to start OVER. Oh, and I also won the worlds dumbest baker award of the day for washing my cookies. I can’t even believe I’m telling you this. It is not going on my resume, that’s for darn sure.
Once again, I lined all my ingredients up. Flour, sugar, molasses, ginger and……no egg. I really could have waited for Steve to bring the groceries home but I needed to get crackin. SO…..what are neighbours for? The one to the right wasn’t home (why were they out when I needed them?) Plan B. Go to the neighbour on the left. I was thinking of going to the neighbour across the street but he sketches me out a bit, reminds me a little of Dexter and I doubt if he had eggs…..looks more like the type to store parts in a freezer.
Knock knock. The neighbours on the left were home and I never thought I would be this excited to see an egg but they had loads of them. THEY GAVE ME SEVEN….just in case I flubbed up again.This time around I decided to let the cookies cool COMPLETELY. Brilliant idea, why didn’t I think of that before? Ugh.
1. Make sure you have eggs
That’s about it.
But really…..here’s how and whatever you do wait for your cookies to COOL. Happy Cookie Exchange!
Quick Tips on How to Host a Cookie Exchange:
- Find out how many participants are going to be baking cookies – (ideally more than 5 is good because let’s face it….there’s MORE COOKIES!)
- Book a date – 1 to 2 weeks before the holidays
- Once you have your participant numbers confirmed, that’s where the math comes in and I go out.
- Example – 10 people – each person can make 30 cookies – everyone gets 3 cookies of each variety.
- Make sure that each baker brings in the recipe for their creation. We usually photocopy enough for everyone so that we go home with new recipe ideas!
- Make sure everyone brings a large “take home” container
- On the day of the exchange, set up a table with the cookies on platters or containers, in a circle (like the track at the Kentucky Derby)
- Each participant can then go around and pick their cookies
- Everyone will end up with 30 cookies if there are 10 bakers
- Do what I do. Take one for the container and one to stuff in in your face and so on….
Happy Holidays from Simply Beautiful Eating!
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
- In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses, egg and water. Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
- Preheat oven to 350F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to ⅛-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 4-in. cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on greased or lined baking sheets. Reroll scraps and keep cutting.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired, I used a simple royal icing. Makes about 24 large or 48 small
*Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the Egg Farmers of Canada but all thoughts and opinions are my own.