2009-12-10 / Features

Become The Ultimate Cookie Exchange Host

Cookie exchange parties are a holiday tradition that provide a fun-filled reason for friends and family to enjoy each other's company and fill up their holiday cookie trays. This season, bakers and holiday entertainers can visit www.kissescookies.com to find a one-stop shop for receiving and sharing holiday baking and party planning tips that are sure to sweeten any holiday get-together.

For those looking to create the ultimate cookie exchange, the experts at Hershey’s Kisses Brand Chocolates offer tips to turn any holiday party into a sweet success at www.kissescookies.com.

Cookie exchange tips:

When sending out invitations, include a unique cookie recipe for each guest as a suggestion. Also ask your guests to RSVP with the recipe they plan to make so that you can be sure not to double up on a specific type of cookie. You can find a variety of creative recipes at www.kissescookies.com.

Once you have all the RSVPs, inform your guests how many cookies they need to bring. One dozen per guest is a good start, but if you’re having a large party, it might be a good idea to reduce this quantity to only a half-dozen cookies so that guests aren’t overwhelmed with baking.

Encourage your guests to bring copies of their recipe for everyone. Also ask them to bring along sealable containers for the cookies they’re taking home. Have a few extra containers on hand in case someone forgets.

To give your party added fun, set out gift tags, gift bags, ribbons and pens so that your guests can create gifts for coworkers, neighbors, teachers and friends.

Play holiday music and offer simple refreshments like hot cocoa, warm apple cider, coffee, tea and eggnog to keep the holiday ambiance going.

To get your party planning started, consider the following recipes for your cookie exchange:

Kisses Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes four dozen cookies
Cookies:
48 Hershey’s Kisses Brand
Milk Chocolates
1 cup softened butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown
sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup Hershey’s Mini Chips
Semi-Sweet Chocolates
Chocolate drizzle:
1/4 cup Hershey’s Mini Chips
Semi-Sweet Chocolates
1 teaspoon shortening
Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and remove the wrappers from the milk chocolates. Beat together butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until well blended. Add flour and blend until smooth. Stir in the mini chips. Mold scant tablespoons of dough around the milk chocolates, covering completely. Shape into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Cool completely.

Prepare chocolate drizzle by placing the mini chips and shortening in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at medium heat for 30 seconds and stir. If necessary, microwave at a medium heat for an additional 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth when stirred. Drizzle mixture over each cookie.
Chocolate Almond
Thumbprint Cookies
Makes three and one half
dozen cookies
Cookies:
1 cup softened butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped almonds
Chocolate filling:
42 Hershey’s Kisses Brand
Milk Chocolates with Almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Hershey’s Cocoa
1 tablespoon softened butter
2 1/2 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and remove the wrappers from the milk chocolates. Beat together butter, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract until well blended. Stir together flour, cocoa and salt in a separate bowl and mix into the butter mixture. Roll dough into one-inch balls and roll in chopped almonds. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and press thumb gently into the center of each cookie. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet and cool completely.

Prepare chocolate filling by combining powdered sugar, cocoa, butter, milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Beat mixture until smooth. Spoon or pipe about 1/4 teaspoon of the chocolate filling into each thumbprint on the cooled cookies. Gently press one milk chocolate into the center of each cookie.

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