Lysette Toro-Mays
1st Cookie Exchange!

Langhorne, PA

Hello Robin,

I have always wanted to host a cookie exchange but lived too far from family and friends to do so. Just this year I moved closer to everyone and decided to take the plunge and host my first cookie exchange. Thanks to your website I was able to get many ideas from fellow cookie-exchangers.

My cookie exchange was held on Saturday, December 8, 2007 from 1 to 5 pm. I sent out 18 invitations in the form of a recipe card at the end of October. On the opposite side of the invitation I included your rules which everyone thought were outrageous but worth it in the end. Out of the 18 invitations I sent 16 ladies responded but in the end only 11 were present (12 if you include me).

Everyone was so excited. Some of the ladies had never attended a cookie exchange and some were cookie baking virgins. But that did not stop them. I had the ladies email me their cookie recipes and I created recipe books which also included pictures of the day's event. I mailed the recipe books out to the ladies well after the exchange as a thank you.

The ladies were asked to bake 9 dozen cookies. One dozen plated, and the remaining 8 dozen were to be packaged in groups of ½ dozen each in containers of their choice.

As you will see from the pictures these ladies were very creative with their packaging. But this did not surprise me since most of the ladies are both creative and competitive. I numbered each cookie and all the ladies had an opportunity to vote for most creative packaging presentation as well as best plated. I have included a picture of the winner for best presentation. The ladies have vowed to out do each other next year. Some joked about needing an 18-wheeler in order to accommodate their elaborate presentations next year.

The cookies that swapped were checkerboard cookies, French Christmas cookies, raspberry thumbprint cookies, cut out butter cookies (bravely baked by a cookie baking virgin, who did a fantastic job), polka dot macaroons, peanut butter thumbprints with chocolate kisses, chocolate cluster cookies, chocolate crinkles, Greek crescents, raspberry almond sandwich cookies, brown sugar shortbread and chocolate-dipped almond horns.

Everyone was asked to bring a $10.00 gift to exchange for the "Chinese Gift Exchange Game" and everyone had a blast. I could not believe the wonderful things everyone was able to get for $10.00. The hottest gift was a metal Santa knight.

I served shrimp cocktail, taquitos (rolled up flour tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken, cheese and salsa), crab cakes, spinach dip in a sourdough bread bowl, party cheese ball with assorted crackers, meatballs in marinara sauce, dinner rolls, Sangria, soda and wine.

Everyone had a wonderful time. Some of the ladies had not known each other prior to the exchange but soon bonded. Not only did we swap some very delicious cookies and stories but we also received the gift of friendship which will last us a lifetime.

Before the event was over everyone was discussing what they were baking next year, but were very careful not to give away any packaging ideas. As a result of a very successful first cookie exchange this will become an on going tradition in my home.

Thank you,

Lysette Toro-Mays
Langhorne, PA

PS: The pictures were taken by my husband.