Cookie exchanges can be hosted in a variety of ways, and we’ve been to them all! There’s the laid-back exchange, where you bring your own container and sample the cookies, then pack up a few of every kind that you liked. There’s the hyper-organized one, where everyone is assigned to a particular category of cookies. Then, there’s the mack-daddy of all cookie exchanges, where the host gets prizes donated and everyone votes on their favorites. The winners can walk away with anything from gift certificates to kitchen gadgets and more!
Whichever way it is held, you are guaranteed to go home with some great recipes to recreate. But, what do you bring to the party to stand out from the crowd? Have no fear, we’ve collected three sweets recipes that will knock the socks off of everyone at the cookie exchange!
Raspberry Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies
These cookies are perfect for those that like their sweets to be a little less — well — sweet. And when it comes to making a recipe for a cookie exchange, one that is less sweet will definitely stand out from the crowd! Cream cheese is whipped into the cookie dough to give it a distinct cheesecake flavor, and they get a double dose of raspberry with preserves in the cookie as well as in the thumbprint on top. These cookies are a hit with kiddos too — have them help by rolling the cookies in sugar or by making the indentation for the preserves!
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Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Bars
Snickerdoodles are cinnamony, sugary, buttery, vanilla-y yumminess all wrapped up into a baked good. Well, we are here to let you in on a little secret. Browning the butter before mixing it into the batter makes it 100,000 times more rich and delicious! Brown butter — in a nutshell — is just regular butter that is heated in a pan until it is foamy and the milk solids start to turn to a golden-brown color. The aroma is nutty and intense, and this simple addition enhances the classic flavors typically found in snickerdoodles. These bars may seem simple at first glance, but we guarantee that a plate of these babies will disappear faster than snow in the South!
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Dark Chocolate Bacon Guinness Cookies
You know that statement, “Bacon makes everything better?” No? OK, maybe we made that up. But whatever, it is totally true, especially when combined with three types of chocolate…and beer. These cookies are not only show-stoppers, but they perfectly straddle the line between sweet and savory with bacon mixed into the dough, as well as sprinkled on top. The Guinness enhances the dark chocolate, and the white chocolate drizzle balances out the flavor and keeps the cookies from being too rich.
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Headed to a party and need to bring more than just some sweets? Check out our No-Fail Potluck Recipes for some of our tried-and-true favorites!
Photo Credits: Christina Carter