Cookie Swap book review

I have been lucky to receive a free copy of the Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year book. The book immediately caught my attention, as I have never hold a cookie swap party, or been to a cookie swap party before. So I was very curious to see what this book was all about.

It is written by the author Julia M. Usher who is a celebrated pastry chef, food writer and stylist. You can find eight cookie swap theme parties in the book, along with over 50 different cookie recipes. You can also find decoration and invitation ideas for the cookie swap parties aswell in this book.

The great things about the book, is that I wanted to hold a cookie swap party right away, after a quick browse through the book. I love the fact, that it can be used for so much more than just cookie swap parties. Take small parts from the book and you can hold a perfect tea party, make a fantastic dessert table (just add the cupcakes) or find new inspiration for your iced sugar cookies.

It also have some very sweet crafty ideas, like the gorgeous wedding cake boxes shown in the photo below. The “rescource” list in the back of the book is very detailed, which makes it easy to find cookie cutters and special ingredients.

The less great things about the book is that I that I really miss more detailed step by step directions with photos in the book. Also its a bit disapointing that I could not find any directions for some of the cookies that was pictured in the book, like the owl cookie from the cover.

In my point of view, directions on how to make the creations is just as important, if not more, as having beautiful inspiring photos to look at. The last less great thing is, that it would have been really nice to have some templates for the unusual shaped cookies in the book.

Overall this book a fantastic scource for your next party if you love cookies. Still I think the book is for the more experienced cookie baker/decorator as it can be hard for a beginner to use it, because of the lack of detailed directions.

You can get the Cookie Swap book her:
Cookie Swap UK
Cookie Swap US

Happy Caking!


Photograph by Steve Adams from “Cookie Swap” by Julia M. Usher. Reprinted with permission of Gibbs Smith.


  1. says

    I bought this book after Christmas in a total fit of impulse. It is gorgeous isn’t it? I like the idea of a cookie swap party too, but unfortunatly anyone I know is more of the “slice and bake from a tube” kind of person. I do enjoy looking at the pictures, even though I won’t make most of what’s there. That being said I thought the chocolate dipped heart cookies looked great and any skill level could make them.
    I hope the author does come out with a cookie decorating book!
    Love your site.

  2. says

    Julia M Usher: Thank you so much for stoping by and thank you for your comment. I do love your book, I just miss a thing or two, being a fan of step by step’s. I am already thinking of holding my very first cookie swap party, thanks to you.

    To the rest of you, thank you for your ideas on the owl cookie.

    Ohh and Becky, I will get back to you very soon for the cookie cutters 🙂

  3. says

    Oh, this looks like so much fun! I found your site through one of my online classmates, and I’ve been on every day since!

    I agree with Becky – it does look like they just cut out the owl’s head with a cookie-cutter. You could probably use a small Tulip cutter to get that shape and just gently push the middle pedal to round it and gently pinch in the sides.

    Love this site!!!

  4. says

    I love your site, Louise, and thanks so much for the review of my book! I appreciate the thoughtful remarks. You’re right, I don’t have blow-by-blow directions for the owl in the book in part because this book was intended to be more of a party and recipe book than a cookie decorating book. But also because I think it’s more valuable for people to understand the underlying techniques behind a cookie than how to replicate a picture. Armed with a good understanding of foundational techniques, people can extrapolate more easily and ultimately create wonderful designs of their own. In the back of the book, there are detailed descriptions of the 11 decorating techniques used on the decorated cookies in the book – the owl and moon cookie was a very specific example of a “compound cookie,” where I talk about building cookies on top of one another, for instance. Each of the other sugar cookies in the book features another technique.

    And rest assured, Kelly, there are plenty of easy cookie recipes in the book that don’t require any decorating (again, this is more of a recipe and party book anyway). All of the recipes have a cookie key that indicates complexity, ranging from easy to more advanced. And each of the recipes has detailed numbered steps, so even the ones I call “advanced” are honestly quite doable for even the beginner. In the front of the book, I also have helpful baking tips for each of the 7 cookie types in the book (bar, drop, etc.), which are specifically geared to the beginning baker.

    Anyway, it’s hard for a book to be everything to all people (space constraints are a bear!), but I do hope you’ll check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

    Happy baking and decorating, everyone!

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