Cookie Party

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Cookie Party

By Debby Maugans

Cookies are the heartbeat of Christmas baking. They are the quintessential treats that sweeten the holidays, and we look forward to baking and munching and giving year after year.

They are even an occasion for a party – and there are almost as many reasons to hold a Cookie Swap as there are cookies to bake for it.

A Cookie Swap is a wonderful time to reconnect with friends and neighbors, those you hold dear but with whom you don’t cross paths regularly during the year. Throwing the party will get you into the Christmas spirit like nothing else; it is a great reason to get your house decorated for the season. And who wouldn’t jump at a chance to attend for the camaraderie—and to be able to fill their cookie jars with a variety of home-baked goodies at the same time? Hardly anyone has time these days to bake multiple batches of cookie recipes; this way, all but the one you bring is baked for you, relieving you of stress and leaving you with more relaxing family time.

Each person brings a large batch of their favorite holiday cookies and copies of the recipe to the party. (No fair relying on chocolate chippers!) The hostess arranges them on her dining table, and partygoers take turns circling the table and filling plates or tins with samplings of everyone’s homemade cookies. It is a perfect way to enter the joy and pure deliciousness of the season.

Of course, there are other occasions where it would be more feasible to contribute one dozen cookies.  An office Cookie Swap makes a grand party; the only rule is that if you don’t make them yourself, the cookies should come from a yummy bakery.  If it is held at a restaurant after work, you may want to purchase take-home containers to pack each person’s assortment in.  Colorful holiday boxes and tins are available at craft stores.

Children love Cookie Swaps, too. If you make your child’s favorite, chances are all the attendees will be happy, too.  Just remember that children’s tastes can be picky when it comes to nuts and coconut, and you’ll need to pay special attention to potential food allergies when planning your contribution.

Your host has probably knocked herself out making sure the party is memorable, so make your cookies the stuff of urban legend. Some of the holiday classics here, such as Hidden Kisses or Mexican Wedding Cookies, are easy to make with everyday ingredients. Others are contemporary twists, such as White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies or Savannah Cheesecake Cookies.  Any of them will have your friends begging for your recipe!

Our Favorite Cookies to Swap:
Perfectly Pecan Praline Cookies
White Chocolate Coconut Cookies
Vanilla Sugar Cookies
Monster Cookies
Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
Low Country Cookies
Cousin Johnnie’s Whoopie Pies
Peppermint Pinwheels
Fruitcake Drop Cookies

Click for fun ways to dress up your cookie creations!

Debby Maugans is the author of Small-Batch Baking. Her next book in the series is Small-Batch Chocolate Baking, available in early 2011. Debby writes a weekly food column for The Birmingham News, produces advertorials for Cooking Light, Real Simple, and Health magazines and works as a food and prop stylist. Along with a good friend, Debby writes a food blog combining funny haiku and delicious recipes to suit your mood. Visit Debby at

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Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:


Hi Paula, If I make Cookie dough now (Dec 3), can I store it in the freezer until closer to Christmas and then roll it out? And if I make the cookies now, can I freeze them until Christmas week? What's the best way to prepare them for freezing? Thank you! Merry Christmas! I love your recipes and watching your show! Dudley Rose

By Dudley Rose on December 03, 2011


Mrs. Paula Deen, Praise the Lord and hello, My granddaughter and I are great fans of yours. Last year she gave me one of your cookbooks and I gave her one of your cooking with your childeren cookbooks. Your show is the first thing she watches when she gets out of school before she does any chores around the house and the last thing she watches before she goes to bed. Her mother allows it because she is such a fan. She is always telling me about the things you are cooking and how she wants us to make them. Her name is Ajalique Flores and she lives in New York City. out dream as grandmother and granddaughter is to be on your show just for one time. It would make the both of us so happy. I myself love to cook and want so much to have my own cafe. God Bless and we look forward in hearing from you. Please make a dream come true, smile Josie Williams Stephens City, VA

By Josie Williams on December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas Miss Paula and to your entire family. Your shows are on twice a day and I DVR all of them - I just love your show and I learn so much - and the recipes - what can I say. But I do have a problem - I had one of your cookie recipes and I can’t find it - Its make with marble cake mix and rollo candy - the rollo is put into the center of the dough - and I just love these cookies - if you could help me with this recipe I would totally appreciate it - I wanted to make it for Christmas Eve - Thank you Miss Paula -

By Lynn on December 08, 2010

You make the most wonderful cookies! I’ve tried several recipes and they are great.  I’m unable to find the recipe for Mee Maw’s Christmas cookie recipe…help?  Thanks.

By Barbara McKnight on December 04, 2010

Hi Paula,

I would love to see some cookie recipes that use a lot less sugar. Cookies are too sweet, and I think something has a classier flavor if it has just a touch of sugar. 

I don’t want to use unhealthy artificial sweetners, though fruit juice substitute would be okay.  Got any healthier cookie recipes ?

By Sheila V on November 30, 2010

I was watching a Homecooking show and saw 3 recipes I would love to have in full, I have searched her site but nothing comes up.  Almond Joy Chocolate Balls (parafin), Old Time Fudge and the Butterfinger Cookies.  Where can I find them.

By Suzi Owen on November 29, 2010

Hey Janice! Follow the written recipe when it says pour the batter (the one you made from the white box cake mix) into two 9” pans. This cake is delicious! Happy Baking!

Libbie Summers, Paula Deen Food Editor

By Libbie Summers on February 09, 2010

im trying your simply del strawberry cake and was wondering when it say makes 1 (9 in)cake but use two pans ,im a little confused about that. so my question is do i use two boxes of cake mix or not.                        thankyou                       JANICE

By janice on February 06, 2010


Cookie swap - I’ve been to a few, but I like the idea of having one with kids!  Maybe I’ll organize a cookie swap for my grandson.  My daughter has some Valentine cookie recipes up on if anyone wants to take a look.

By Anne on January 12, 2010

Thanks for all of the information…
So much appreciated.
Have a safe and Wonderful New Year..

Jules, PA

By Julie on December 29, 2009

On your cookie swap There was a cresent cookie that was made with chopped nuts and sprinkled / or rolled in powdered sugar. Where can I find that recipe.  Thanks!

By Grama Jo on December 21, 2009

The recipe Carol M. is looking for is the Hidden Mint Cookie recipe.

By melissa richards on December 20, 2009

I love your shows - all of them.  I’ve been a big fan many years.  I saw a show last Wednesday night at 7:00 PM Central time called Paula’s Cookie Swap.  There were about four guests on at separate times making their favorite family cookies.  One was a praline cooky, another a “Top Secret Chocolate Recipe”, another a peppermint swirl and I don’t remember the other.  Please help me find these recipes on your website, as I have been unable to do so as yet.  I hope you and yours have a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Your grandson is adoreable.  Thanks, PJKeenum

By P.J.Keenum on December 19, 2009

All recipes from the Food Network Special: Paula’s Cookie Swap can be found linking from this page.

Happy Baking!

Libbie Summers, Paula Deen Online Food Editor

By Libbie Summers on December 19, 2009


By MARY ANN OF S.C. on December 18, 2009

Hello Paula,
I watched your Holiday special about the cookie in which you had several woman sharing their cookie recipes, I have been searching all over Food Network’s website for all those recipes, from the lollipop cookies, to the moon cresents. Is there any where I can get these from?

Thanks so much! Much love from Chicago~

By Crystal on December 18, 2009

Hey Melinda!  This is the recipe you are looking for that Paula made on the Cookie Swap Special.

By Libbie Summers on December 18, 2009

I watched the cookie swap show last night & I am looking for the recipe for the cookie that you said tasted like butterscotch & it had white chocolate drizzled on top. Thanks & Happy Holidays!

By Melinda Markley on December 17, 2009

Paula Merry Christmas and A Happy New Years to you and your family. I washed the cookie swap on last night and I would love for you to email me a picture of your fire place mantel I would love to try and make those three sconces hanging for Christmas.  Thank you and may God continues Blessing upon you.

By Tina Walekr on December 17, 2009

Hey Carol Melton!
This is the cookie recipe Paula did on the Food Network Special you are looking for.  Happy Baking!

By Libbie Summers, Paula Deen Online Food Editor on December 17, 2009

Hi Paula,

I was watching you on the Food Network in the last week, and you were doing several types of Christmas cookies. You did one where you took a roll of cookie dough (missed the part on how to make the dough), then you cut off a slice, then placed a chocolate wafer cookie on top, then another slice of cookie dough on top of that, then nuts on top. I can’t find the recipe anywhere on this to be able tomake the cookie dough. Please help and love your shows and recipes! 

Carol Melton

By Carol on December 16, 2009

Hey Julie!  This is the recipe we used on the show. Happy Baking!

By Libbie Summers, Paula Deen Online Food Editor on December 15, 2009

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