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Published November 24, 2011, 12:00 AM

How to host a cookie and candy exchange

A neighborly cookie and candy exchange saves you lots of time and there is less stress in the kitchen while giving you a chance to gather with family and friends.

Rochelle Wetsch, Grand Forks

A neighborly cookie and candy exchange saves you lots of time and there is less stress in the kitchen while giving you a chance to gather with family and friends.

Hosting such an event is easier than you think with these streamlined tips that I’ve learned throughout the years.

Select a date and send out the invitations two or more weeks in advance. Schedule the party to be about two hours long, so guests aren’t required to set aside a lot of time.

Invite eight to 12 people, keeping in mind that having more guests results in more variety of treats. Inform your guests as to how many are coming in order for them to make the same kind of cookie, bar or candy. Allow one dozen for each person participating. You might also encourage them to bring an extra dozen to sample at the party.

Ask what each person is making to avoid duplications. There’s no point to the exchange if everyone arrives with sugar cookies and fudge.

Have participants bring empty containers or resealable plastic bags to collect their goodies. If the gathering is small, they may want to bring the batches already individually packaged. Also have guests bring enough copies of their recipes to share with each person.

Keep your menu to a minimum by focusing on the sweet treats. Simply serve a selection of beverages and the extra cookies and candies. If your budget allows, offer a few hot and cold appetizers.

As people arrive, set out the cookies and candies on a long table, leaving room for folks to walk around. Be certain to label the containers with the recipe names.

Near the end of the party, have guests fill their containers with a dozen of each kind of cookie and candy.

Sometimes, for party favors, I gather all the different recipe cards into bundles, tie with festive ribbons and hand them out as my guests leave.

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