Share healtlhier holiday treats
This Christmas why not organize a cookie swap? It's a fun way to share holiday cookies with friends and family. Increase cookie variety without extra baking.
The idea of a cookie swap is brilliant: it’s a holiday get-together with benefits. Friends gather, swap baked goods, and share good times. You bake a big batch of one type of treat and come home with many.
Hosting a cookie swap
When hosting a cookie swap, ask each guest to make at least one dozen cookies for each swap mate, plus a few extras for sampling. Hold a swap over morning coffee at your local spot, during lunchtime at the office, as a post-work/pre-dinner meet up, or as a leisurely after-dinner party.
Keep in mind that “swap cookies” are travelling cookies, so choose sturdy baked goods—nothing brittle or with crushable decorations. You can always add a decorative touch later or just enjoy them in their pure simplicity and goodness. For ideas for beautiful and reusable cookie containers, check out the sidebar “Pretty packages” (on page 114).
“Swap” in more than one way
The notion of “swapping” can take on many facets. Along with cookies and stories, this is a chance to swap old baking habits for new ones. Discover a healthier and more holistic approach to baking: cookies made with holiday spirit plus better-for-you ingredients.
The following recipes call for whole food ingredients that are less processed and higher in nutrients than many conventional baking staples. Who knows—your fellow cookie-swappers may even take home a few healthy baking tips!
To add a delicate chocolate drizzle to cookies (do this once you get them home) finely chop 2 oz (57 g) dark chocolate, then melt in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth. Using tines of fork, drizzle over cookies, or pour chocolate into small piping bag, then draw squiggly lines over top.
As the swap host it’s your responsibility to provide or suggest solutions for take-home containers. Let guests know ahead of time what to bring (such as wrapping paper, tags, ribbons, plates, or platters) and make packaging part of the swap process. To avoid using disposable containers, consider some of these ideas for packaging. They’re both beautiful and reusable.
Use different sizes of wide-mouth jars. Handwrite labels and attach recipes to the lids with colourful ribbon.
Vintage cookie tins
Scour second-hand shops and garage sales for cookie tins, or reuse coffee tins and dress them up with holiday paper and elegant labels.
Reuse old boxes, such as stationery, mailing tubes, or small gift boxes. Cover with holiday paper or brown parcel paper. Tie with raffia or ribbon.
Wrap cookies in new tea towels or make cloth gift sacks using organic hemp or cotton. Tie with ribbon.
Neutralize exercise-induced oxidative damage
Regular exercise is a key pillar in achieving life-long health. However, did you know that exercise may also cause oxidative damage? Enter antioxidants. These little free radical-fighters neutralize the effects of oxidative damage, protecting vulnerable cells. Both dark chocolate and blueberries are rich in antioxidants, so don’t feel guilty about “supplementing” with a serving of this tasty treat daily. Just make sure to choose chocolate containing at least 70 percent cocoa to receive the antioxidant benefits.