Holiday Cookie Party

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Holiday 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

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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Reader Comments:


I love everything about Paula Deen, love her recipes, her cooking items and her...She to me is a true lady and love love..

By Sherry Lester on December 05, 2013


You are awesome Paula Dean, keep up the good work.

By Marge Due on December 05, 2013


Dear Paula, I have been hosting cookie exchange parties for years. Last year I hosted it with a Murder Mystery. And I am sorry but the whole plot was to solve who killed Paula Deen. It was so funny and everyone loved it. Thanks for sharing all the good recipes and blogs with us. May you and your family be blessed this holiday season with the spirit of our Lord and Savior, Love, Joy & Peace. Jamie

By Jamie Rice on December 05, 2013


Paula love you and your cook book I have one I've made Jamies coconut creme cake many times for my uncle who pasted away in july of cancer but thank you for sharing, it was his favorite and the only one he requested for all family get togethers I made his last one in June and he enjoyed a piece, so thank you and your family for your love of food that cake will always be special to me

By Anonymous on December 04, 2013


I loved when you was on TV. I love your recipes. Keep up the good work. I am a great fan of yours. Have a great X-Mas and a Healthy and Happy New Year.

By Anna Semetsis-Torri on December 04, 2013


Hi Paula I have been a fan since I tuned in to your show and an we're making baked macaroni and when it was finished you said " you all let's have a taste" it looked so good I wished. Could have jumped into my tv for my taste! Love yo Mrs Paula Dean!

By Chy McKay on December 04, 2013


Love all Paula Dean. All her receipts are in my house. Love to meet her.

By Dora J. Hickman on December 04, 2013


This will be one definet dessert on table for Christmas along with devinty can not wait to try my hand at that

By Frances Johnson on December 18, 2012


Hi Paula, Just had my first Christmas Cookie Exchange Party for about 15 of my classmate friends yesterday, followed by a brunch consisting of breakfast foods, as well as luncheon foods. We had such a wonderful time! Great way to welcome the Christmas Holiday Season!

By Carolyn Dreibelbis on December 04, 2012


I love Paula's recipes. My mom was a great southern (Arkansas)cook, and lots of Paula's recipes remind me of my mom and grandmother. I love her spicey personality, too. That reminds me of myself. Keep up the good work and we will keep watching.

By Janet Alberty on December 04, 2011


I love Paula's recipes. They are easy to follow, and don't require a lot of expensive ingredients for those of us on a limited budget. I will be making the Fruitcake Drop Cookies for Christmas gifts for my neighbors. thanks Paula!

By Joyce Schiwart on November 30, 2011


Do you have a recipe for Butter Cookies? I used to have one that was great but have lost it. I figured since you love butter like I do you would have one.

By Barbara Peters on December 18, 2010


A friend of mine made a lemon cookie, it was 2 cookies with some lemon in the middle, looked like snow balls, (sort of) she has misplaced the magazine, and I was wondering if anyone has the recipe for the lemon that was spreed in between the 2 cookies.

By Sherry on December 18, 2010


Libbie, Thank you for your reply. Merry Christmas to you and all the staff.

By Linda on December 17, 2010


Hey Linda! We have also tested the Chocolate Raspberry Cookies using Ghiradelli raspberry cream filled chocolate squares and it was delicious. You may want to cut back on the sugar just a bit though. Happy Baking!

By Libbie Summers on December 15, 2010


Hi Paula, I am interested in making your Chocolate Rasberry Cookies. Could you let me know if the rasberry creme filled chocolate baking pieces are available in grocery stores? I am a Canadian fan and not familiar with this item. Thanks for the wonderful cookie choices.

By Linda on December 15, 2010


What a mess I had. I made the Hidden Mint Cookies, using Pillsbury Sugar Cookies roll (out of the frozen food section), and Pearson's Mint Patties. Baked them at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. The cookies rain all over the pan.I sliced the dough in 1/4 inch slices as directed. They were tough and not good looking at all. Whas is my problem? (Dough has a 01-06-2011 date on it.) The recipe looked so good, and the ones on your TV program did too. HELP!!!!

By Eunice Helmke on December 15, 2010


Hey Lizabeth! I know it sounds a bit old fashioned, but adding paraffin wax (which is usually made out of vegetable oils and is edible) to chocolate in candy making gives the chocolate a pretty glossy finish and it also helps to keep it solid when stored at room temperature. You'll love Paula's Chocolate Peppermint Patties! Libbie Summers, Senior Food Editor for Paula Deen

By Libbie Summers on December 14, 2010


Hey Ann! The recipe for the chocolate cookie from the Cookie Swap show Paula hosted is: They are delicious! Happy Baking! Libbie Summers, Senior Food Editor for Paula Deen

By Libbie Summers on December 14, 2010


Paula. i want to let you know the waffel with pecans so good. and i and i have one waffel with pumkin butter and surup and toped with wip cream. Thank you love your show. Joann Torrence.

By Joann Torrence on December 14, 2010

That’s the recipe I got online for also!!!

By Cheryl Raulston on December 10, 2010


Watched the show on the cookie swap last night and felt so inspired I decided to check out the recipes…only one problem..where is the recipe for the big chocolate crinkle cookie? it looked so yummy!

By Ann Macomber on December 09, 2010

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