Tales of a Shop Cat — Rusty's Recipes

Holiday Cookie Swap

Holiday Cookie Swap

Holiday Baking Spotlight: A COVID-Friendly Cookie Swap

If you’ve never participated in a cookie swap before, you’re missing out! Baking and sharing our favorite cookies is one of our favorite holiday traditions.

Like most things in 2020, this year’s cookie swap is going to be a bit different – but we’re not ready to give it up completely! Instead, we’ve found some fun ways to do it in a safe, socially distanced setting. Want to host your own COVID-friendly cookie swap? Here are some tips to help you plan a memorable event.

Make it Official

To make sure your swap is a success, start out by sending official invitations to all your guests. Choose a date that will give everyone plenty of time to buy their ingredients, bake their cookies, and ship or deliver them. Ask for RSVPs so everyone knows how many people they’re baking for.

Drop and Dash

If you’re hosting a party for family and friends who live in town, choose a date and a time frame to drop off the cookies at each participant’s home. To keep contact to a minimum, all deliveries should be “drop and dash.” When you arrive at someone’s home, you’ll put the package on the porch, ring the doorbell, and drive away before they open the door. To make sure the cookies stay fresh, it’s best to do this the evening before or morning of your event.

Send Off Your Swaps

If guests are spread out, you’ll need to choose a cookie recipe that’s strong enough to hold up in the mail. Package your cookies in a decorative tin or Tupperware container and bring them to your shipper of choice. Make sure you check estimated shipping times and send them out early enough so they arrive in time for the cookie party.

Create a Keepsake

Make your party even more memorable by asking each guest to provide a copy of the recipe they used and putting them together in a digital recipe book. This way, it will be easy to recreate everyone’s favorites so you can enjoy them again later in the holiday season.

Plan Your Event

On the day of the event, you’ll all log into your digital platform of choice and gather together for an hour or two of great conversation and plenty of cookie-eating. Make this even more fun by coming up with a holiday theme. Ugly holiday sweaters, fun onesies, or glitz and glam are all popular options.

To keep things festive, consider adding some games like holiday trivia or cookie-themed bingo. Create a playlist of everyone’s favorite holiday songs and maybe even consider arranging a fun holiday sing-along.

While there’s no arguing that the holidays are going to feel a lot different this year, it’s still important to stay connected with family and friends – even if you have to do it virtually. We hope these tips help you enjoy a fun, festive, and SAFE holiday season!

As you prepare to start making your favorite cookies, you may find that you need some new baking gear. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few of our favorite new arrivals.



Not sure what kind of cookies to bring you your cookie swap? Feel free to borrow one of our favorites – we promise we won’t tell!

Vanilla Cut Out Cookies

Recipe makes approximately 24 cookies (4 inch cutters) 

Cookie Recipe 
  • 6 Cups:  All Purpose Flour (spoon into the measuring cup, do not scoop with it)
  • 4 teaspoons:  Baking Powder
  • 2 Cups:  Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Cups:  Cold Unsalted Butter (cut into chunks)
  • 2 Eggs (room temp)
  • 4 teaspoons:  Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Bean Paste*will add beautiful flecks of vanilla bean to your dough- Use it if you can find it!
  • Parchment Paper (do not confuse this with Waxed Paper) 

Cookie Instructions

  • Line your cookie sheets with parchment and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whisk together your flour and baking powder, set aside.
  • Cream together your sugar and butter for several minutes with an electric mixer.  You are looking for a light color and fluffy texture.
  • Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix to incorporate
  • On a slow speed, add your dry ingredients in 3 stages.  Scraping the bottom and side before each addition.  Mix until just incorporated.
  • Lightly sprinkle additional flour onto your flat surface.  I use a big ol’ wooden cutting board, but the kitchen table or counter top works just as well.
  • Divide your dough in half and roll out the first piece using a rolling pin also dusted in flour.  We like to use a French style rolling pin.  You are looking for your dough to be 1/4” to 3/8” thick.
  • Dip your favorite cookie cutter into flour and get cutting.  Place  your cookies on your parchment lined baking sheet and freeze 5-10 minutes if desired (this will help the cookies to better keep their shape)
  • Bake cookies in 350 degree oven for 9-13 minutes.  They should look done in the center, but not have taken on much color. 
  • Cool flat cookies completely on a wire rack or parchment paper over a towel.

Frostings Recipe 

  • 2 Cups: Confectioners Sugar (aka: Powdered Sugar)
  • ½ Cup: Softened Butter (1 stick)
  • 2 teaspoons: Vanilla Extract
  • 1-4 teaspoons: Milk
  • Food Coloring

Frosting Instructions

  • Add butter, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar to your mixing bowl and mix until creamy.  A hand mixer work nicely for this.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of milk and mix.  We are looking for a creamy texture that will be easy to spread.  We do not want a runny frosting.  Continue adding milk slowly until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Divide frosting into small bowls and color as you wish.  You can use standard food coloring, but investing in decorators gel coloring will result in rich and vivid colors.
  • Now it is time to decorate!  If decorating cookies with little ones, put their cookies on a rimmed cookie sheet for decorating.  That will hopefully contain most of the rouge sprinkles and colored sugars. 

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