Monday, December 15, 2008

Office Cookie Exchange

If you and your family love having (or giving) a variety of home-baked cookies for the holidays, but you just don't have the time or energy this year, here's the solution: a holiday cookie exchange!

You can bake just one large batch of your favorite holiday cookies, take them to the cookie exchange, and come home with several different kinds of freshly baked cookies! You'll be the family hero, with minimum effort!

Cookie exchanges can be done with friends and neighbors at home parties, or with co-workers at the office. Since the focus of this article is saving time and energy, we'll discuss the office version. Hey, you won't have to spend time cleaning up the house before and after the exchange!

Here's how to have a cookie exchange at work:

1. Pick a date. Plan ahead so you can give people plenty of advance notice... at least two weeks.

2. Reserve a conference room or other area for the exchange. Book it for an hour. You're probably safest to plan it for the lunch hour, when your fellow employees will be free to have some non-work-related fun.

3. Invite people to participate. Be careful how you do this at work. Some companies frown on sending personal emails or using the copier for unofficial fliers. Do what's acceptable where you work. You'll want a minimum of six people to make the exchange worthwhile, but less than ten so the amount of baking everyone will have to do is manageable.

Explain in your invitation that everyone will need to bake a dozen cookies per participant. So if eight people sign up for the exchange, everyone will need to bring at least eight dozen cookies (extras for sample tasting are encouraged!).

Emphasize that family favorites or traditional cookie recipes are preferred, so there will be less chance of two or more people bringing the same type of cookies.

Also ask them to bring copies of their cookie recipe for sharing. This is not only a great way for everyone to obtain new cookie recipes, it's a safety mechanism for people with food allergies. They can review the recipe before trying the cookies.

4. Ask everyone you invite to RSVP at least a week prior to the exchange and specify the type of cookie they'll bring.

5. Share the RSVP information with all participants, so everyone will know how many cookies to bake and bring (and how many copies of their cookie recipe). Ask everyone to bring their cookies already counted out, one dozen cookies per participant, packaged in sealable plastic bags (or other containers they don't mind giving away). If eight participants, they'll bring eight bags containing one dozen cookies each.

6. At the exchange (in a decorated room if you're ambitious), it'll be nice to provide coffee or water, and encourage people to sample the cookies. That way you can all rave about each others' culinary skills and have fun swapping stories about baking adventures, cookie recipe development, or the biggest nuts in the company. Relax for a while, have a good time, and take home some new and delicious goodies for the family!

(Source: Bonnie Lowe)

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