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

    Hi, all,

    The owl is cut from a standard owl-shaped cookie cutter, available on Amazon and many other places:

    The cookie is completely decorated with royal icing. Dark brown (body) and white(chest)topcoats were first laid with a relatively loose icing. Likewise, eyes were made with small drops of loose yellow and black icing. For the textured detail work (white crest on head, beak, and feathers), a thicker royal icing is needed to hold the shape that’s piped. For the crest, I used thick white royal icing and a small straight cut tip in a parchment pastry cone; used same tool for the beak but with an orange icing, of course. Lastly, used a small leaf tip to create the brown feathers, starting at the outer edge and moving toward the white chest, overlapping feathers slightly on each successive layer. Hope that helps.

    Stay tuned – a decorating book may well be in the works.

  2. Maggie says

    Went out in our 1st heavy Calif. rain storm and bought this book. I am a professional cake decorator & instructor. The book is very nicely put together and will be enjoyed by all-begineers to advance decorators. I found the book to be very helpful with loads of pictures, recipes, for both cakes and icings, clear instructions,helpful conversion chart,and best of all Resourse page which includes web sites and telephone numbers to venders, and they are located in the U.S. And yes the beautiful Owl cookie is not in the book which is a big disappointment. I too believe…What is on the cover should be in the book, as this is what caught my eyes to begin with. Maybe Ms. Usher could send the instructions to you Louise, and you could put on your site for all to see. (I can figure how to make it, but many may not). But overall the book is simply Beautiful. Thank you Ms. Usher.

  3. Maggie says

    I made something similar to the owl, but it was a cat. I use my halloween Cat face cutter which is exactly the same shape. You can use thicken run sugar/colorflow for the face and complete all with royal using round tips, except the feathers is tip #352. Makes perfect pointed leaves or in this case feathers. Hope this little bit of info helps.

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