The cookie swap is an old-fashioned affair that resurrects ghosts of tinsel and Tupperware past. Originally created as a fun and festive way to fulfill a housewife’s annual baking duties, the calorie-laden event is the perfect substitute for holiday gift shopping. Replace mindless mall madness and the potential disaster of ambitious DIY debacles by throwing a great excuse to knock back some eggnog instead. Click through for our guide to hosting a throwback extravaganza that embraces what this time of year is really all about: cookies and whiskey.
Step 1: The Concept
What’s a hipster anything without a clever, ironic theme that sends you running to your nearest thrift store in a last-minute attempt to pull together appropriately ironic on-theme attire. Let your fête be similarly offbeat in that wonderfully cliché way that’s become synonymous with hipsters the world over. Think Christmustache cookies, Put-A-Bird-On-It pizelles, or Victorian-era victuals.
Step 2: The Rules
1. All cookies should be homemade, baked, and the main ingredient must be flour.
2. No plain chocolate chip cookies, cookie mixes, no-bakes, meringues, or bars.
3. Please bring six dozen total cookies.
4. The theme is [insert theme based on your clever and ironic concept].
5. Package cookies in individual bags or boxes (six per bag). Be creative!
6. Email a copy of your recipe before the party (or bring recipe to the party).
7. Theme attire is obviously encouraged.
8. If you don’t have time to bake (or burn!) your cookies, but still want to attend, you must go to a real bakery (this is New York, there are plenty), and buy some.
Step 3: The Invite
Letterpress is so last year. Beckon friends and family to your retro party idea with less mainstream, more affordable invitations. Remember to include the rules in the invite!
D.I.Y. Fruit and Vegetable Stamps by Adelle
Put your farmer’s market finds to good use. All you need is a little paint, a knife, and some paper. Use local, seasonal fruits and veggies for the most festive fun. Be annoyingly clever by matching produce to pantry. Does your cookie contribution involve pumpkin? Stamp the invites with a cute pumpkin top. Roast the seeds and serve as a snack. Be that (annoying) hostess who thinks of everything, and has a blogged-about blog to prove it.
What’s more hipster than letterpress and linotype? Digital letterpress and linotype, that’s what. Choose from an array of almost-as-good-as paper options that will impress your similarly overworked friends and have them wondering: how does she do it?
Printable Party Invitations from Paper Source
Make good use of unlimited office printing supplies and print your own invite. Insert paper. File. Print. It’s that simple.
Step 4: The Cookies
The over-arching rule of cookie swaps everywhere: no chocolate chip cookies! Some folks even go so far as to require no traditional all-purpose flour.
Thirty-five reader-submitted holiday cookie recipes from around the world by The New York Times
From Finnish piparkakuts to cardamom-walnut crescents and shortbread jammers, this cookie recipe collection is a trove of sure-to-impress sweet goodness.
Holiday Cookie-A-Day Recipe Calendar by bon appetit
Just like an advent calendar, a new cookie recipe pops up every day during the month of December. From good old frosted mainstays like the vanilla roll-out cookie to the funky rainbow — symbolic of the restoration of cosmic order — cookie perfect for inspiring a timely end-of-year rebirth and renewal.
The easiest way to make an original cookie: roll-and-cut cookie dough. Made up of all you really need for good cookie (flour, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla), it’s simple and as silly/ clever/ ironic as the shapes you make. Consider mustaches, cameras or a set of hipster mainstays including a bow tie, a beanie and loafers.
Step 5: The D.I.Y. Decor
Keep it simple, keep it fresh, and keep it fun. Think a single (non-denominational) pine tree with white lights or a good ol’ fashioned naughty Urban Outfitters “Merry Christmas Bitches” banner.
Step 6: The Drinks
What goes well with every cookie on the planet? Whiskey. Or, at least we tell ourselves that. Here’s one festive whiskey winner that is relatively easy to make and even easier to drink — as any good cocktail should be. Inspired by a cocktail of the same name at our beloved Angel’s Share, it will be a welcome reward for everyone that accepts the giant batch of cookies mandate. Don’t be intimidated by the smoke and the snifter. And do your friends a favor: up your alcohol ante, and splurge on the good stuff. ‘Tis the season.
Hazy Whiskey Cocktail by Gather Journal
A couple of whole cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon, broken into pieces
2 oz rye whiskey
1/2 oz B+B liquer
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 strip orange zest
1. Chill a snifter or tumbler in the freezer for 10 minutes.
2. Place the cloves an cinnamon on a small heatproof plate. Using a kitchen torch or a butane lighter, burn the spices until they begin to smoke. Invert the chilled glass over the spices to trap the smoke.
3. Combine the whiskey, B+B and bitters in a separate ice filled glass. Stir. Flip over the smoky glass and strain the mixture into it. Add the orange zest. Drink. Enjoy. Repeat.
Recipe via Gather Journal