Make your Cookie Monsters and Santa happy

As the holidays begin, our thoughts turn to spending time with families and friends and the pleasures of food. Cookie swaps are great fun, and these sweet get-togethers fill the cookie jar and recipe box with a flavorful variety of old and new favorites. Easy, time-saving and economical, they eliminate the need to bake batch after batch of different varieties as your friends, family and neighbors all chip in - and share their secret ingredients.To help make all swaps spectacular this holiday season, McCormick and Lauren Chattman, author of the new book Cookie Swap!, have teamed up to host the McCormick Virtual Cookie Swap on Facebook from Chattman's kitchen on December 6 at 8 p.m. EST for a live, interactive Webcast where she'll share insider tips and tools, answer questions, and demo new recipes, including one selected from those posted by fans as part of the McCormick Virtual Cookie Swap.

 

Start trading recipes now at www.facebook.com/McCormickSpice. It's easy: simply 'like' the McCormick Spice page, join the conversation on the wall and share your favorite cookie recipes and pictures.

Chattman offers tips on how to host a fantastic exchange this holiday season: They include: Share And Swap - Plan for a good mix of both experienced and novice bakers, allowing the hobby bakers to share some of their secrets and provide an opportunity for beginners to learn some new tips and tricks for cookie baking success. And, since one of the best parts of a cookie swap is sharing stories, pair guests up to spur mingling; Mix It Up - Ask some guests to sign up for certain recipes ahead of the party to ensure there is a nice balance of timeless favorites, like Snickerdoodles and Gingerbread Cookies, as well as new and inspiring ideas. Take a cue from seasonal sippers like the Sugar-Rimmed Margarita Cookies, a slice-and-bake cookie infused with lime, or add a cranberry twist to the classic lemon bar with Cosmo Cocktail Cookie Bars; Any Setting Makes A Cookie Swap - The office, living room, break room, school lunchroom or community center can be a perfect setting for a swap with close friends or a casual super swap; Build Your Recipe Box - Have guests bring copies of their recipes so everyone goes home with a set of new ideas for the holiday. Or, if you and your cookie compadres are on Facebook - it's easy to create a cookie swap exchange to share pictures and recipes. Don't forget to join the McCormick Virtual Cookie Swap for more ideas. 

 "These exchanges are a wonderful excuse for a party and an opportunity to share some of your favorite treats with friends while gathering inspiration for the next time you're in the kitchen," says Chattman. "My biggest rules of thumb for a cookie swap are to keep it simple and just have fun. To make it special, focus on the holiday flavors everyone loves - - cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and nutmeg."