MeFi Cookie Swap 2018 November 28, 2018 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Hello Mefites! We are rum-balls-deep into the holiday season, which means it's time for the Great Annual MeFi Cookie Swap! The sign up deadline is December 5 this year, so don't delay, sign up today!

For 5 years now, our esteemed colleague ausdemfenster has rallied Mefites across the world to unite and share delicious baked goods.

This year, I am humbly taking the reins to preserve this tasty tradition. Lord knows we could all use some holiday joy in our lives!
I’m a bit late in starting the process this year, so we’re operating on an accelerated timeline. It’s a quick turn-around, but I know we can do it!

To sign up, please complete the Google Form here by December 5.

Bakers will be organized in groups of 4-ish, based on geography and dietary restrictions.
I will do my level best to get groups organized and notifications sent out by December 7.

By December 14, you should send 6 cookies to each of the bakers in your assigned groups. That’s 18 cookies minimum, but feel free to bake extra for friends, household members, IRL strangers, or whoever looks like they could use a cookie.

It’s a quick turn-around, but I know we can do it!

If you have questions, feel free to memail me or email

Glad tidings and tasty treats to all,
posted by chara to MetaFilter-Related at 1:46 PM (69 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

Woo cookies!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:46 PM on November 28

YAY! Thanks, chara.
posted by too bad you're not me at 2:09 PM on November 28

Yaaay! I'm in!
posted by gauche at 2:11 PM on November 28

chara, thanks so much for doing this and on such short notice!

I've really enjoyed participating in the cookie swaps but have had two issues in the past. I'm not sure there's anything that can be done about either one of them but I figured I'd bring them up to the community (though not for chara to solve!)

The first is that at least twice, I've been in groups where one person just never sent cookies. I never wanted to follow up with the person in the group who didn't, but it dampened some of my enthusiasm. I know that the Quonsar swap doesn't allow people who didn't send a gift to join the next year. I wonder if there should be something similar with cookies? But maybe no one wants to be the cookie police and I should just let it go since I'm not running the swap.

The other is that I don't have any allergies or restrictions and every year I get really excited about all the cool cookies I can make - and then I get placed in a group with restrictions, which is also a bit of a bummer. I kind of wish there were a way to say "I have no restrictions and I don't want any." But I also recognize that we no restriction folks are like the universal donor of cookies and we need to be placed where we can do the most good instead of getting our own group.

But I'm bringing this stuff up in the sense of the cookie swap in general, not this year's implementation, since there's not a lot of time this year.

chara, is there a minimum of sign-ups you need to get this baby off the ground? I had not originally planned to participate this year because of my reservations, but I kind of also feel like if I'm going to write this much about cookies maybe I should just sign up and make some cookies!
posted by Neely O'Hara at 3:27 PM on November 28 [8 favorites]

I, too, have had one non-cookie sender more than once, and I agree with Neely O'Hara that if you don't send you should sit the next year out. Chara, would you be willing to keep a list of folks reported for non-sending to keep for 2019? I know such a list seems antithetical to the spirit of the holidays, but.....cookies.
posted by missmary6 at 4:02 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]

I think I was the last person to ship cookies last year (at least I was the last person to admit it publicly). I hope my cookies were worth the wait.
posted by fedward at 4:17 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]

and then I get placed in a group with restrictions, which is also a bit of a bummer.

I totally get what you’re saying here and I sympathize because safe recipes and ingredients can be hard to find, but bear in mind that for someone with food allergies it’s a bummer every day.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:29 PM on November 28 [4 favorites]

Yay! I look forward to internet cookies every year. Thanks for organizing!
posted by nanhey at 6:39 PM on November 28

Thank you so much for picking up the reins on this! Signing up now!
posted by Fig at 6:42 PM on November 28

Oh goodness this is one of my favorite holiday events! I've gotten amazing cookies every year (and hope mine are as well received) and I just moved house and have this big beautiful kitchen and am SO looking forward to making a ton of cookies in it!!!!!
posted by FritoKAL at 6:44 PM on November 28

I'm in! Have no restrictions myself but am completely okay with being assigned to a restricted group; I've been getting lots of practice with baking for various vegan/GF/nutfree friends, so if I can help a restricted Mefite get some delicious holiday cookies, then YAY.
posted by spinturtle at 6:58 PM on November 28

I totally get what you’re saying here and I sympathize because safe recipes and ingredients can be hard to find, but bear in mind that for someone with food allergies it’s a bummer every day.

Metroid Baby, thanks for reminding me of that - that's so true and I should have kept that in mind.

(I really don't mind THAT much if I get placed in a restricted group - I just felt kind of bad for my gluten-free cookie recipients last year because I am not used to gluten-free baking and I think it showed.)

And okay, I've talked enough about cookies - I'm gonna sign up after all and yay cookies!
posted by Neely O'Hara at 7:19 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]

I totally get what you’re saying here and I sympathize because safe recipes and ingredients can be hard to find, but bear in mind that for someone with food allergies it’s a bummer every day.

Gluten-free would totally throw me for a loop. I'm already baking five different kinds of cookies for family reasons (maybe six, if my wife complains again about the ones I stopped making last year), so my plan is less "bake cookies specifically to exchange" and more "share what I'm already making." Last year my group had somebody with a "no walnuts" request and that was easy enough to deal with: I just sent them a different assortment instead of baking something special. I can't just stop baking all the traditional cookies my family expects. For my purposes it would make sense if "gluten free" were opt-in on both sides, but I don't know how that affects the numbers and sizes of groups.

Full disclosure: I do have my own food allergy/intolerance, but fermented things like kimchi and miso paste aren't really basic building blocks of cookies in the same way flour is. I don't think I'm really stretching anybody with that exclusion.
posted by fedward at 7:32 PM on November 28 [4 favorites]

Well, there goes my dead goat cookie recipe :(
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:54 PM on November 28 [7 favorites]

Gluten-free is hard because those recipes often require specialty ingredients that people don't tend to have on hand unless that's a normal part of their repertoire, and for the allergic / celiac folks even gf recipes can be risky if prepared with equipment that is normally used with wheat flour. That's true with nut allergies (and probably others) too. I'm planning to try out a gluten-free recipe for some gluten-sensitive local friends this year, but that's going to come with caveats because I can only do so much sterilization. I suspect people with health-threatening restrictions tend to have to sit swaps out just in case, but grouping like restrictions together might make them feel a little safer.
posted by bunnysquirrel at 9:03 PM on November 28

Thanks for the feedback, y’all! I’ve added a comments section to the survey so that you can make note of any preferences for pairing. If you’ve already submitted the survey and you’d like to add info, feel free to memail me or email
posted by chara at 9:53 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]

Well, there goes my dead goat cookie recipe

Better than a live goat cookie recipe?
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 10:00 PM on November 28 [5 favorites]

posted by Going To Maine at 10:01 PM on November 28

Thanks for stepping up to do this, Chara!

I think bunnysquirrel has some good points about gluten-free baking and avoiding potentially fatal allergies. I'm not equipped to sterilize my kitchen and equipment to produce 100% nut, egg, dairy, gluten free, etc., cookies. If there are folks who must have gluton-free or nut-free cookies, perhaps they could be grouped together without regard to geographical location (within same country or continent). For their own safety so that doofuses like me don't inadvertently endanger their health Just a thought.
posted by LeftMyHeartInSanFrancisco at 10:11 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]

I just signed up! One more tiny bit of feedback, since this seems to be the feedback thread -- I know the preference is to generally swap geographically, especially when those could perhaps maybe meet in person if they wanted to. I'm nowhere near other mefites, and totally okay with being in a group that I have to ship a little farther to if it means there's less general dislikes to work around.

Like, I'm really not a fan of several ingredients that show up quite a lot in holiday cookie recipes, and there were a couple others in the same swap group that I've had for the past couple of years who were also quite picky about different things, and ultimately, it disallowed for many different cookies because combined, the four of us didn't like a whole lot of things!

If this isn't possible, that's okay, too! Cookies, we'll figure it out.
posted by PearlRose at 6:49 AM on November 29

I would like to say that I am enthusiastically in favour of trading baked goods and thanks so much for doing this. I am also not participating because the set of baked goods people enjoy making has a very small overlap with the set of baked goods I can enjoy eating (also Canada Post is doing labour actions) BUT that's not a problem I'm asking people to solve but rather a reason why I'm cheering y'all on rather than jumping in like a mad baking thing.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:22 AM on November 29

I'm not sure if there is interest in having a second chance baker to send cookies for those who didn't receive any from an individual, but I'd happily sign up! In a way this would be perfect--I love to bake, but live alone and am trying to cut down on sweets.

I'm happy to try and tackle allergies, too, although I am always worried I'm going to hurt someone with cross contamination!
posted by lucy.jakobs at 8:14 AM on November 29 [3 favorites]

Hooray, thank you for picking up the baton, chara! Glad to have cookie swap continue forever and ever.
posted by daisyace at 8:41 AM on November 29

Just tried to sign up, and the Postal Code Field is numerical...can we make that free-form for Canadian sign-ups, please? :-D
posted by Kreiger at 9:42 AM on November 29 [1 favorite]

Thanks for organizing!
posted by topophilia at 2:25 PM on November 29

Yay cookie time!!
posted by Secretariat at 9:06 PM on November 29

thanks for the feedback Kreiger! I’ve updated the postal code field.
posted by chara at 4:50 AM on November 30

Woo! Thanks Chara.
posted by Kreiger at 5:46 AM on November 30

I suspect I ultimately won't participate, but how strict is the definition of "cookie"? Would mince pies or other approximately cookie-sized baked goods be acceptable? I don't come from a tradition with December holiday cookies, so you'd either get mince pies or some random cookies.
posted by hoyland at 6:25 AM on November 30 [1 favorite]

hoyland - participants have sent out fudge, divinity, cookie bars, rum balls, and brittles before from what I can remember! It's really only limited to individually-portioned treats that pack and ship well.

So, I think traditionally, it's cookies because those are sweet treats that hold well at room temperature for a few days and don't immediately crumble upon being jostled.

Macarons and Florentines are cookies, but they definitely are too fragile to travel well. So, go for it if you want to! I'm personally in favor of more treats and cheerfulness going around, rather than less.
posted by PearlRose at 6:47 AM on November 30 [2 favorites]

I would love to be part of a backup group if someone has to bail out or doesn't do their cookie send.

Also in for non-regional, non-restricted, helping people with allergies get great cookies...

actually honestly, I just would happily swap cookies with as many people as possible, more cookies for all.
posted by FritoKAL at 8:24 AM on November 30 [1 favorite]

I've never participated before, excited to try it out. Thanks for setting this up! Hope my cookies aren't too pedestrian, I'm not an advanced cookie-baker.
posted by skewed at 9:55 AM on November 30 [1 favorite]

posted by rmd1023 at 12:32 PM on November 30

I am hear to childishly claim my place (urged on by a joke from Chara!) as the original organizer of the cookie exchange. Ah, there were upsides to not working.
posted by shothotbot at 12:36 PM on November 30 [7 favorites]

FritoKAL, your cookies are delicious - they've been very much appreciated! I regret that I'll be sitting this one out, as it's one of my favorite holiday events, too.

chara, thanks for taking up the mantle this year.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:36 PM on November 30 [1 favorite]

I was away last year so no cookie swap for me but I'm in this year!
posted by bluesky43 at 5:40 PM on November 30

I wonder if I'm misunderstanding something, because the proportions seem a bit odd. Is the idea that the six cookies should be of the same kind, and so with 4 in each group you can satisfy your obligations with one batch of cookies and have some left over for yourself? Some people seem to be responding as if they intend to send six different cookies, in which case I would have expected the group size to be closer to the size of a batch of cookies---a few dozen in each group.

In case it's not obvious, I've never done this before. But I have made cookies! And I could probably even make six different kinds of cookies if those were the rules of this game.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 6:10 PM on November 30

> Is the idea that the six cookies should be of the same kind, and so with 4 in each group you can satisfy your obligations with one batch of cookies and have some left over for yourself?

This is my understanding, and consistent with previous exchanges, but sometimes if people are already doing a lot of holiday baking, or just happen to really enjoy baking extra for whatever reason, people will send bonus cookies. I've definitely gotten multiple types of cookies in the same package from the same person on occasion.
posted by miratime at 3:19 AM on December 1

sometimes if people are already doing a lot of holiday baking, or just happen to really enjoy baking extra for whatever reason, people will send bonus cookies

That's definitely how I'm approaching it, anyway. Since I'm already making a bunch of cookies to share, though, this is just a matter of boxing some up. My family didn't have a big cookie tradition, but my wife's family did. Her grandmother used to make a whole bunch of different cookies every year, and then my father-in-law took over. My wife used to live with her brother and sister-in-law and her dad used to send them two boxes, one addressed to each sibling. I eventually had the responsibility dropped in my lap because I "liked baking." No good deed goes unpunished.

The first year I rolled the chocolate pinwheels "wrong" (chocolate on the outside, where vanilla was expected; I still maintain that for more even color the edges should be chocolate), and reverse engineering another recipe took a few years to fine tune. I've dialed it back compared to my father-in-law, though. He used to start baking and freezing some time around Halloween. I think he made a couple hundred dozen cookies all told. I just try to work efficiently and finish in two days. I think I make about a mixed gross of cookies but I've never counted too closely.
posted by fedward at 9:55 AM on December 1 [1 favorite]

Any recommendations for shipping?
posted by skewed at 9:57 AM on December 1

Semi-related (it's related to cookies but not the holidays) Pittsburgh weddings sound amazing.
posted by fedward at 9:59 AM on December 1 [2 favorites]

Any recommendations for shipping?

I like USPS flat rate boxes. Wrap cookies in small bundles, pack the bundles in a tin or plastic container, then surround that container with crumpled newspaper. You can pack a slice of bread with the cookies for moisture management.
posted by fedward at 10:07 AM on December 1 [1 favorite]

I'm in! I also requested a no-restrictions group -- I just don't think anything from my kitchen is good for anyone with any allergies.
posted by batter_my_heart at 6:26 PM on December 1

I am hear to childishly claim my place (urged on by a joke from Chara!) as the original organizer of the cookie exchange. Ah, there were upsides to not working.

shothotbot, you magnificent human being! Thank you for the reminder, and thank you for kicking off this tradition so many years ago!
posted by chara at 8:22 PM on December 1 [4 favorites]

Happy almost Hanukkah, friends. For whatever it’s worth, I’m happy to make normal and booze filled cookies, but I also have gluten free flour, can do vegan/gf, and while my kitchen has wheat and peanut products in it, I can wash and dishwasher-sanitize my shit and make intolerance-friendly cookies unless we’re talking about a medically dangerous level of sensitivity to stray particles, (but I haven’t heard of this being a cookie swap problem before so...?) Chara and shothotbot and ausdemfenster, thanks for making this happen. ✨🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪 ✨
posted by moonlight on vermont at 10:20 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]

Yay for another year of cookie swap! Thank you to all who have made it possible over the years!
posted by amapolaroja at 9:54 PM on December 2

Almost forgot to sign up again, but I made it!
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:47 AM on December 3

Don't forget to play the official playlist on Spotify or YouTube while baking your cookies!
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:02 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]

I just can't face the thought of the post office this year, but if any San Diego folks want to do an in-person swap I'm in!
posted by exceptinsects at 1:30 PM on December 3

Whoops the Spotify playlist got lost in copy-paste. It is HERE.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 9:09 AM on December 4 [3 favorites]

Signed up and looking forward to baking this weekend!
posted by The Devil's Grandmother at 12:41 PM on December 4

I like USPS flat rate boxes. Wrap cookies in small bundles, pack the bundles in a tin or plastic container, then surround that container with crumpled newspaper.
Just to put this out there, USPS sometimes seems to get overwhelmed with packages around this time of year, and I’ve had some Decembers where a Priority Mail box—which might normally 2–3 days to arrive—ended up taking over a week to get there. And for perishable goods, that’s maybe not so great.

So personally, I use UPS for the Cookie Swap nowadays.
posted by Handcoding at 1:20 PM on December 4

I buy the sandwich size rubbermaid containers from the 99 Cents Only store and put them in manila envelopes and mail them first class USPS. No problems AFAIK.
posted by amapolaroja at 11:02 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]

Just added my hat into the ring this morning, hope I'm not too late?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:22 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]

I submitted my google form early yesterday morning...hoping that I was in time, too!
posted by lagreen at 5:42 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]

Welp, one of the cookies I was going to bake anyway this year is something that has a historic reputation for withstanding travel and lasting a long time. I've even asked for my grandma's own recipe!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:49 AM on December 6

I'm sending out assignments first thing tomorrow morning, so if there are any last-minute stragglers, sign-up pronto!
posted by chara at 4:16 PM on December 6 [3 favorites]

Swap emails are sent! Happy baking, y'all!
posted by chara at 1:59 PM on December 7 [1 favorite]

Received, and excited! The mixer is getting a workout this Sunday!
posted by agentofselection at 2:09 PM on December 7

Yaaaaay! I started my first batch tonight and popped it into the fridge to get even more delicious while I sleep.
posted by miratime at 5:12 PM on December 7

Oh, damn, I can't put salmon or cinnamon in the cookies! No salmon snicker-doodles for you guys!
posted by Weeping_angel at 7:27 PM on December 7 [3 favorites]

Y'all. Let me tell you how generous and warm of heart our Cookie Leader Chara is. I'm vegan, and last year there were enough plant people to make a vegan group. This year? I was the only one. I bowed out of my non-vegan group with apologies when I found out. I'm used to being left out of food things; it's my choice and it's ok. But I will freely admit I was disappointed, because the cookie swap has become one of my favorite parts of the season.

Imagine my surprise when an email from Chara appeared today, letting me know vegan cookies from her were already en route. I am just so incredibly touched that she would go above and beyond to spread cookie cheer. Thank you, Chara, from the bottom of my heart, for doing such a thoughtful thing.
posted by missmary6 at 8:36 AM on December 12 [8 favorites]

I have had my first cookie delivery and tasty treat from team Creme Brulee, and it was most excellent.
posted by miratime at 12:40 PM on December 14

missmary6, I probably should have replied to your email as soon as i got it, but as someone in your "vegan" group, you should be getting a package early next week, even though you "dropped out".

When I said I could accommodate veganism, I wasn't being facetious, since most stuff I make can't have dairy in it and it's only a small hop from there to no animal products (with cookies anyway). I'm sure the others in the group were sincere in that sentiment as well.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 1:36 PM on December 14 [2 favorites]

I had just finished mixing the dough for my planned cookies the other night, and got a frantic knock on my door from my downstairs neighbor, who was getting water coming out of the ceiling in her apartment right under my kitchen. Turns out the sink in my kitchen was no longer correctly connected to the drain, and so water was running where it shouldn't. So, my kitchen was offline for a couple of days. But my wife tells me the plumber was there today, so I am BACK ON TRACK but I'll probably be a day late shipping things.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:20 PM on December 14 [2 favorites]

True story: This cookie swap may have saved some lives.

Earlier this week, my friend invited me to a holiday party, but it was scheduled on the only evening I had free to bake cookies for the swap, so I stayed home instead.

About a minute after I put the 3rd batch of cookies in the oven, I heard a horrific crash. A car with a family (adults and a young child) had run off the road and crashed near our home, igniting upon impact. Within seconds, my partner grabbed a fire extinguisher and we ran outside. A few neighbors helped the family out of the car and we extinguished the inferno. We live in an odd part of town, so it took quite some time for the emergency officials to arrive.

Everyone in the car miraculous escaped the wreck with only minor injuries: a few broken bones, but nothing life-threatening. I've been thinking about that family--especially the young child--all week, and I'm glad that we home, in the right place at the right time.

I didn't get to share any cookies with the family, although I thought about it. By the time that I: A) remembered that I still had cookies in the oven; B) raced inside to prevent *another* fire from happening that night; and C) rescued my miraculously unburnt cookies from the oven, the ambulances had arrived.

I did share them with my neighbors who were at the scene, as they were a bit in shock and appreciated the momentary sugar rush/distraction.

It's been a week, y'all.
posted by chara at 3:28 PM on December 14 [7 favorites]

Ok, Team Buttercream! For better or worse my boxes are in the mail and should arrive tues or weds. I meant to get them out sooner- dang weekends adding an extra day to shipping time! Should I have labeled my box “perishable”? What happens if you do that?
posted by Secretariat at 11:53 AM on December 15 [1 favorite]

Daaaaaaang, chara! Go you!

Team Creme Brulee - I've forgotten who said they were sending both chocolate chip and a brownie/cookie/thing frosted with peppermint, but I got that and have already eaten through half. Thanks!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:19 PM on December 15

Team Buttercream-
I had a last minute recipe change because apparently Heath Bars have almonds in them. So I sent out very gooey chocolate chip blondies. I hope they arrived in good condition.

Secretariat, I never say it’s fragile or perishable. So far it has worked for me.
posted by amapolaroja at 4:02 PM on December 16

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