|Product photo from Amazon.com|
The newer of the two is Gooseberry Patch's Cookie Swap, one of their smaller softcover cookbooks. At the front of this jam-packed little book is a section called Cookie Swap Basics. They give you a timeline to use, starting with choosing a date and time for the party, and sending out invitations, 6 weeks before. This section is hugely helpful and practical.
Next there is a section called You're Invited, with invitations you can choose from to copy and print. There are three different styles to choose from, plus a printable recipe card.
Then we come to the Cookie Swap Goodies, with a number of yummy-sounding recipes that would add interest and great taste to any cookie swap you might host or attend. There are a few candy recipes as well. Some of the cookies I would love to try are the Jolly Lime Thumbprints and the Sparkling Orange Snowballs.
All throughout this section are tips, ideas, even mini-recipes sprinkled on the various pages. I thought this idea sounded like fun: "Everyone's a winner! Give raffle tickets to guests as they arrive and raffle off prizes like cookie cutters, holiday decorations or cookbooks."
All in all a fun little book and one that would be extremely helpful to any cookie swap hostess! You can find it here: Cookie Swap
The second helpful book in my library is The Wellesley Cookie Exchange Cookbook, by Susan Mahnke Peery. Mine is a hardcover published in 1986, so if you want that one you would be most likely to find it in a store that sells used books. There is a paperback available on Amazon; you can find the link here: Wellesley Cookie Exchange Cookbook. I would recommend getting a used one; they have them for as little as 1¢ with $3.99 shipping. A bargain!
This cookbook has ten hefty chapters, starting with A Cookie Primer, which gives expert advice on ingredients, equipment, preparation and storage of cookies.
Classic Cookies is a chapter filled with just what you would expect; classic family favorites like chocolate chip, snickerdoodles and so on. The Double Gingersnaps are excellent, as are the Peanut Blossoms. I have made both of these, as well as many of the others in this chapter, countless times.
There's a chapter on Refrigerator Cookies and one on No-Bake and Fried Cookies.
Heirloom Recipes contains treasured family recipes from many ethnic backgrounds. I have made the Italian Chocolate Cookies many times and they are fabulous and authentic.
Then there's a chapter titled simply "Chocolate", and one called Bars and Squares. When my girls were young, they baked and sold squares at a couple of local workplaces to earn money for their American Girl doll clothes and books. They made the Congo Bars, the Oh Henry Bars, and the Apricot Oatmeal Bars literally dozens of times.
Tea Party Fancies is a fun chapter. I've made the Mocha Nut Butter Cookies and the Creme de Menthe Bars many times -- yummy!
And of course, there is a chapter on Christmas Cookies. The Sacher Torte Cookies are worth the price of the book and are a longtime favorite on my cookie trays. The Spritz Chocolate Sandwich cookies are outstanding, though they do take a bit of work.
Lastly, there's a chapter called the Cookie Exchange Buffet, with recipes for punches, cakes, desserts and so on. I don't endorse any punch recipes that contain alcohol, but must note that some are included. I have made the Yule Log Cake from this chapter many times, and it has always turned out perfectly. The Clayton Carrot Cake is fantastic also.
If you enjoy baking, I recommend this book to you. It's a great resource for cookie recipes all year round!