Cookie Swap - It's Pretty Sweet Cookie Book Cover Buy it! Cookie Book Cover Buy it!

"This really is the ULTIMATE cookie book. Whimsical, elegant, colorful, and creative!! What more could you ask for? You will not be disappointed.”

Colette Peters

Celebrity Cake Decorator; Owner, Colette's Cakes


Apr 01, 2019 2:48pm

Julia Usher baking in her home kitchen
Blog Recipes and Tips From Julia Usher

Bridal Shower Breakthrough

Turning a bridal shower into a cookie swap is a sure winner. Trust me; in my seven years as a bakery owner, I saw thousands of weddings! Everyone’s a sucker for cookies – including the bride. After months of restraint to fit her wedding dress, she’ll be yearning to indulge, if only for this brief time. And if cooking isn’t her forte, all the better. The sharing of recipes is sure to point her down a tastier path. (Caution: As fiercely progressive as you may be, never underestimate the connection between a well-fed husband and a happy home life!)

A simple cookie exchange is fine, particularly if your time is short. But, truly, just a little attention to a few details is all that’s needed to make your swap stand out. Here are three handy tips from my new book Cookie Swap to help get you started . . .

1 | Tie your cookies to the party theme.

Every bit of reinforcement – down to the details of what’s being eaten – serves to set a festive stage. For this party, I fashioned wee wedding cakes (top photo) from orange-scented shortbread rounds. The rose cake-toppers are handmade from fondant, but readymade royal icing flowers can be easily substituted in a pinch. (For the complete recipe, you’ll have to buy Cookie Swap. Remember, this is just a teaser!)

2 | Dispense with ho-hum paper plates.

Give your guests a cleverer and prettier container – a true keepsake from the event that they’ll be sure to remember. Here, I embellished ordinary craft paper boxes with silk flowers, strands of pearls, and vintage wallpaper and lace, and then stacked the boxes end to end to mimic wedding cakes. (See second and third photos from top.)

3 | Add color, fragrance, and flavor in one fell swoop with cookie décor.

And simultaneously eliminate the need for pricey flowers and other party props! As you’ll see in Cookie Swap, I’m a big fan of peppering my parties with edible surprises, such as the cookie cake-toppers shown here (bottom photo). I planted several of these beauties around this cookie swap and then gave the guest-of-honor the pick of the bunch for her wedding cake. To make: Decorate three cutout sugar or gingerbread cookies with Royal Icing (two matched cookies for the top-piece and one larger round or oval cookie to make the support). Once the icing has dried, “glue” the two matched cookies back to back with thick Royal Icing; then glue the top-piece to the support cookie, propping it upright with paper towels until the icing has thoroughly dried. If stored in airtight containers in a dry place, toppers should stay lovely looking for several months. (Though if you intend to eat them, it’s best to make them only a few days ahead.) For my Royal Icing recipe, see the link below.

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These cookies are really cute. They look too good to be eaten.

By Tush on September 22, 2011

Thanks so much! They’re actually pretty tasty, too - if I do say so myself!

By Julia M Usher on September 22, 2011

Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s fantastic!

By Jerry Gennaria on February 23, 2012

Where can I order them???? They are beautiful and perfect for my wedding next year!

By Melissa on October 28, 2012

Hi, Melissa, Thanks for the kind remarks and congrats on your upcoming wedding! I no longer make cookies or cakes for the public (I closed my bakery a few years ago). Now I simply dream up ideas and recipes for books and magazine articles. Both of these cookies (recipes and construction tips) are in my book Cookie Swap; please feel free to draw on the images and ideas here and in the book for your wedding. I imagine a baker close to you could emulate these cookies pretty well with photos/tips in hand. Best of luck! And, again, congrats!

By Julia M Usher on October 28, 2012

Wow what an absolutely perfect idea. Your are so right! Everyone loves cookies. I am so gonna serve some cookies at my wedding. Of course they have to look as beautiful as yours!

By Mona on March 05, 2013

Thanks, Mona - this is one of eight cookie parties that I showcased in my first book Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year. I have cookie parties in it for every time of year. Congrats on your wedding! How exciting for you!

By Julia M Usher on March 05, 2013

Could you please tell me the price of your books and can I get them from you regards

By Mrs Margaret Boaler on March 13, 2016

You have outdone yourself this time. This is probably the best, most concise step by step guide. Loved it!

By Chococraft on April 05, 2018

Thanks so much, Chococraft!

By Julia M Usher on April 15, 2018

Someone on Instagram is attempting to use a picture you’ve posted of cookies you’ve made as something they have made.  Check out simplysweet.desserts and you’ll find you’re exact photo of the stacked cookie wedding cake. 

I’m a fellow cookier and I know I would be pissed if someone was passing my work off as their own.

By Danielle Stockdale on February 28, 2019

Hi, Danielle! Thanks for the heads-up. Unfortunately, thievery of this sort is pretty rampant. It’s hard for me to police all of it, but I will check it out when I can. Thanks again!

By Julia M Usher on February 28, 2019