I am thinking about hosting a cookie swap at some point and had a few questions. How many people is reasonable to invite? How many cookies do you ask each person to bring? Also, how do you prevent getting all very similar cookies? Do you ask people what they are brining in advance and perhaps say to someone that someone else is already bringing that type? Thanks!
Remember to have something on hand to wrap up the cookies to take home. Some bar cookies can be sticky and lace cookies delicate, so just having zip-top plastic bags doesn't always work. Craft stores usually sell cellphane cookie tray bags this time of year so that you can stack up a batch of cookies on a paper plate and then seal up in the bag so there is a stable bottom that will help protect the goodies.
Also, no mixing crisp and chewy cookies into the same container. The moisture of the chewy ones ruins the crispiness of the crisp ones.
First, I'm no expert, but I have participated in a few cookie swaps. They've usually involved about 10-12 people. You would ask each person to bring one dozen for each participant. So, 12 dozen for 12 people, Each person ends up with a dozen of their own, and a dozen of each of the others' cookies. To avoid duplicate cookies, have a sign up sheet, where each person states which type of cookie they are making. Also, have them bring the cookies to the swap already divided onto 12 containers, plates, etc. Things will go much smoother that way.
I've been to several and I've come up with a plan......you want at least 7 people, or as many as you can hold. In order to avoid duplicates or "boring" cookies, rule out the basics. NO Chocolate chip, Oatmeal, or Sugar cookies allowed! Sounds drastic, I know, but some people need a boost to explore their creativity. Another trick is to pick 20 different cookies and recipes and throw them into a hat, as each guest responds to your invitation, you pull out one and they have the option to make that one or find a new and exciting variation. Of course this only works if everyone is agreeable. I know in my case we ended up with some wonderfully new and delicious cookies, that we would have never tried. We had 13 people at that one and it was lots of fun!