This aint your ordinary cookie swap! Complete with a hysterical judging rubric and judges’ score cards, this sweet cookie swap just got dirty! Take off your cooking mitts, my friends, because I’m about to share how to host your own ‘Slap Yo Granny’ cookie swap! It’s the kind of comedy that comes along after Granny makes her famous cookies! Sit back, grab a tray of cookies and enjoy the show!
In a Nut Shell…
The steps to hosting this “backhanded” version is comedy-rich and behind-the-scenes fun! Just as any ordinary cookie swap, the participants bake their very best cookie. However, at this ‘Slap Yo Granny’ cookie swap the participants anonymously submit their cookies to a panel of judges for review, at which point they then gather to eat, drink and be merry. While the participants mingle away, the judging takes place in a secluded location. The judges are equipped with a grading rubric and score card. Each judge takes his/her time sampling and scoring each cookie. Once all the cookies have been sampled the judges round-up their scores and concluded on 3 over-all winners: Best Looking Cookie, Best Tasting Cookie, & Best Overall Cookie.
And the Award Goes To…
The participants gather around the cookies, seeing their competition for the first time, and the winners are announced and awarded a trophy. After awards have been passed out and photographs have been taken everyone begins gathering a predetermined number of cookies. In the end, each participant walks away with a giant container of various cookies, therefore, making everyone a WINNER!!!!
How To Host Your Own ‘Slap Yo Granny’ Cookie Swap!
My friend, Colette, and I have co-hosted our annual cookie party for the last 7 years. This party requires a little forethought and lots of prep, but I’ve made it as simple as possible for you to copy. All of the hard work is in the organization, and I’ve done this for you by creating free printables! Merry Christmas! Now all you have to do is invite your friends and bake your cookies. Okay, it’s a little more involved than that. LOL . Let me break it down for you:
Requirement! Before you begin inviting your friends you must first set requirements to your party. First off, you’ll be asking your friends to bake LOTS of cookies. As a matter of fact, Colette and I ask our friends to bake 12 dozen! Yep- you read that right. We ask everyone to arrive with 144 cookies! Let me shed some light on what’s in store for you when this becomes a requirement: not all your friends are bakers and for this reason they won’t come to your party! Don’t take offense to it. Your gut instinct will be to tell them to come anyway, but remember, if you allow one friend to come and just “hang out” then you’ll probably have lots of other friends requesting the same thing. Soon the party will turn into half coming with cookies and half coming to mingle. You must stick to this requirement!
Ground Rules! Alrighty, the cookies are judged, therefore, to keep things fair the rules and regulations need to be clear. We require all cookies to be homemade (nothing store-bought) and NO chocolate chip cookies. We ask that everyone bring 12 dozen of only ONE TYPE of cookie. At the bottom of the our invitation we type in bold print: Don’t forget to bring a giant container for your take-home cookies. To prevent late arrivals and delay judging, it’s a good idea to mention that judging begins promptly at 1:30 and concludes at 2:30 (or whatever time you want to start your party). We also encourage guests to drop off cookies the night before or the morning of the event. This not only allows us to better organize, but it’s one less thing for each guest to worry about.
Invite Judges! Our party has turned into a division of the sexes over the last many years. Typically, our judging is comprised of around 7 men who gather in the basement doing their “judging thing” while the ladies mingle upstairs. Some of the men are husbands of participants while others are just there for delicious cookies, yummy appetizers, good humor, and free drinks! To keep things unbiased all husbands are banned from sharing their wife’s cookie with the other judges. This is when things can get sticky! Most of the time if a judge makes an egregious comment about another judge’s wife’s cookie the opposing husband either agrees (it’s happened) or stays quiet. This is not for the faint of heart, so save the judging spots for the fun and friendly. This is in good humor. Refer to step 6 for the judge’s grading rubric.
Create Menu! Colette and I divide and conquer when it comes to the menu. Typically we each decide on 3 different appetizers, creating a total of 6 appetizers in total. Our guest list is always around 35 ladies. We also have to account for the number of judges that will also be feasting. I prefer to always have more food than not enough, so Colette and I make around 50 bites of each appetizer. Specifically, I prefer serving finger food. Finger food is easier to eat, prettier to display and much “cleaner” than community party dips…and when I mean “cleaner” I mean you’re less likely to be swapping spit with the gal standing next to you who is double dipping into that artichoke dip. YUCK!
We stay away from serving sugary foods simply because our guests just spent hours slaving away over sugar and flour. I’m pretty sure the last thing they want is more sugar. So, a combination of heavy and light appetizers is a good choice. Here are a few of our festive appetizer bites from last year’s party:
Artichoke dip on a baguette topped with pomegranate seeds!
Mini Crab Bites. Similar to a crab roll mix, atop a white bread round, and topped with a fresh slice of cucumber and a dollop of hot sauce for a little kick!
Veggie cups in a beet humus. Veggies include sugar snaps, radish rounds, carrots and cucumber.
The day before the party set up your Cookie Table and your Appetizer Table. I set out everything in advance because there’s no sense in driving yourself nuts hours before your party! In our case, since we we serve a total of 6 different appetizers, we set up our appetizer display table with 6 large serving platters. Any left over apps that don’t fit on the tray are hidden somewhere else and brought out to refresh the platters throughout the party. The Cookie Table is easy. All you need to have for this is a good variety of cake stands or display risers. Basically, to maximize the vertical and horizontal space of your table you will display around 1/4 of your cookie trays on stands. See photo below of last year’s table for examples.
Print your FREE “Host Your Own ‘Slap Yo Granny’ Cookie Swap” printables below! Click each highlighted link to get to your print screen.
Participant’s Sign-in Sheet!
Tag each guest’s cookie tray with a number and write their name next to their number on this Sign-in sheet. OR, you can do it my way: The day before the party I like to pre-write the names of the RSVP’d guests on this Sign-In Sheet. Once the guest walks in locate his/her name on the sheet and assign the cookie tray with the corresponding number. This is how I keep track of who has arrived and who I’m still waiting for. The cookies are delivered to the Cookie Table once the cookie tray has been tagged with a number . As I mentioned earlier, we offer our guests an opportunity to drop their cookies off early. This allows us to play with the display of the table and it prevents a back-up of guests arriving at the front door.
Print these number tags, cut along the line and secure each tag to a tall wooden skewer with clear shipping tape. This step is to make sure that the judges will only know the cookies by their numbers and not by who baked them. NOTE: It’s best to have all the number tags prepared days in advance. The last thing you want is to have a bunch of guests standing around at your door, holding their heavy plate of cookies, while you’re busy cutting and taping each number tag.
The Judge’s Grading Rubic!
The judge’s grading rubric is printed for each participating judge and us used to help guide in the scoring process. Now can you see why we call this the ‘Slap Yo Granny’ Cookie Swap! Hahahaha. Really it’s all in great fun!
The Judge’s Score Card!
Each judge will need their own score card. They will use this to tally up the total points earned for each participant’s cookie. Judges will refer to his/her score card to determine the top three cookies. All judges will share input and collectively determine the final 3 winners.
Once the judges have determined the winners Colette and I quickly add these printed name tags to the corresponding tray. This is the first time the cookie trays are identified by person rather than number. Then, we invite all the participants to the Cookie Table to view the cookies for the first time. The ohhhhhhs and ahhhhhhhs are priceless. Winners are announced and trophies are awarded. Guests grab their giant cookie container and fill their containers with a predetermined amount of cookies from each participant.
Basically, to come up with this number we take the number of cookies each guest is required to bring (144) and divide by the number of guests minus 3 (35-3). We minus 3 to account for the cookies that the judges use to evaluate the cookies. 144 divided by 32 equals 4.5. This means each guest gets to take home 4 cookies from each tray. If I have 35 guests and each participant takes home 4 cookies from each tray then each guest should be going home with 140 cookies! Not a bad gig, right?
A Walk Down Memory Lane
Before I was hosting my own cookie exchange party I was going to my friend Linda’s party. My kids were really little back then. Linda’s cookie party was always at night and my son, who was only around the age of 6 back then, used to wait up for me to come home. Upon entering my house where most everyone was asleep I’d hear the tiny pitter-patter of my son’s little feet scrambling down the staircase to greet me at the door. His eyes were wide with excitement as I lowered the cookie tray to show him our new homemade goodies. He and I would sit quietly and test out each cookie till we couldn’t fit in another crumb. We were like two little mice in the dark night, whispering our thoughts, and taking great caution not to wake the rest of the family. This was our moment together.
So, are you ready to host your own Slap Yo Granny Cookie Swap?