Sweet Traditions: DMC's Fourth Annual Cookie Exchange Unwrapped

Sweet Traditions: DMC's Fourth Annual Cookie Exchange Unwrapped

What started as a way to connect with coworkers during the pandemic has become a long-awaited yearly tradition filled with sending and receiving delicious baked goods, sharing family recipes, and making memories. The DMC Cookie Exchange returns this year as the fourth annual exchange!

DMCers Elizabeth Goodnight and Phil Schaffer from DMC Seattle hosted the event and spent countless hours ensuring its success.

“Initially, we were thinking of sending friends cookies, and then we realized our list involved a lot of DMC people,” Elizabeth said. “We thought it would be fun to make it kind of a larger network event!”

Chocolate Cookies for the Cookie Exchange

With DMC locations in 13 cities, it can be difficult to get to know every new employee or employees on other teams, but the Cookie Exchange helps.

“The survey that we send out has a question that asks the participants to share something interesting about themselves,” Phil said. “There are all kinds of little things that we learn from other people. You feel like ‘oh, I’m getting to know this person’ and the answer is something like they’ve been dancing for 20 years. I had no idea and I think ‘huh, that’s cool!’” 

Package of cookies for the cookie exchange

The Cookie Exchange was made for DMCers to build connections with others miles and miles away and has become an event that many look forward to at the end of the year. Although it is called a cookie exchange, all baked goods are happily accepted!

“Last year we got an almond cake from a bakery in Illinois that is known for its almond cake," Phil said. "We loved it because [the cake] was from a place that I’ve never been to or had before, and it was very tasty!” 

Building connections is the main goal of this event.

“Just because somebody doesn’t like to bake or might not be able to for some reason, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be able to participate. We tell people to do whatever you want, participate in the way that you want to!” Elizabeth said. "We want to make sure everyone can be included regardless of baking skill or ability, and this is a great example of ways that DMC values inclusivity in all its activities and events." 

Assortment of Cookies

Many types of tasty treats are sent out from DMCer to DMCer each year, including baked goods without certain allergens, so all DMCers may participate.

“Roughly three dozen cookies fit in a medium sized box, and there are roughly 76 boxes being exchanged this year," Elizabeth said. "I’m guessing around 3,000 cookies are being made!”

Some of Elizabeth's favorite cookies to make and send out every year include a mix of family recipes and more obscure cookies.

Recipe Card

Kat Lidrbauch's, Systems Engineer, Cardomom Pistachio Sugar Cookie Recipe

“Every year we make Phil’s grandma’s Christmas cookie that has been a family tradition. Kiffles, which is a Pennsylvania Dutch cookie [that originates from Hungary], is another family recipe we make each year for the box,” Elizabeth said. “We are also doing a Chai Spice Snickerdoodle cookie and a Baklava cookie this year!” 

The meaningful baked goods are Phil's favorite to receive each year.

“I like the baked goods that have sentimental value: a cookies/recipe that somebody cares about – it could be a family recipe, or it brings them joy – and they decide to share it with everyone," Phil said. “There’s something about the way that these baked goods have stories behind them, and that means a lot to me!”

Cookies from the Cookie Exchnage

Sharing a piece of family tradition is the best thing to receive, according to Phil, but baking these sentimental goods and planning for an event like this takes time.

“We try to start the process of sending out the surveys after Thanksgiving," Phil said. "We start at this time of year to give people time to plan and give them a few weekends to get their cookie ingredients together." 

With some DMCers exchanging with three others across regional offices, baking can typically take an entire weekend to get the cookies prepared for shipment. Apart from exchanging cookies and baked goods, there is also an exchange of recipes!

“A couple years ago, Rose in Chicago sent some gingersnaps that were amazing! I immediately threw that into my recipe box, and I’ve kept it. They’re super good!” Elizabeth said with a smile. “[This year], someone sent me a [recipe] for almond thumbprint cookies, and it’s a recipe that his family has been using since the 70s!” 

Cookies from the Cookie Exchange

As the cookie exchange grows, there are already thoughts for ways this event can be even more inclusive in the future!

“I think next year we need to figure out if we can have people who want to receive cookies without baking them,” Phil said. “We can’t sustain making hundreds of cookies and sending them out and then just getting back hundreds of cookies. Maybe next year we’ll add that into the event!” 

The cookie exchange is an event that requires a lot of commitment, but it is also an event that brings a lot of joy to DMCers.

“I think it’s just really fun to make those connections with people who I haven’t met before [and make connections for others with people] who might enjoy talking to each other. [It also allows us to] feel a little bit more community spirit.” Elizabeth said. “It is just really cool to see how excited people get and how much fun they are having while making cookies or sending them!”

Feel like baking cookies? Below you can find a recipe for King Arthur Baking - Sugar Cookies. Let us know if you baked these cookies in the comments below!

King Arthur Sugar Cookie Recipe Card

DMC's Lillian Walker of DMC Boston tried this recipe with a twist! She added a tablespoon of grapefruit zest and some rosemary springs worked into the sugar plus a teaspoon of chopped rosemary. 

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