Everyone loves a cookie swap — it's a beloved way to share recipes with friends and family, and allows for people to try multiple types of sweet treats without having to spend hours baking endless batches of cookies.
Like everything else, cookie swaps might look a little different during the pandemic as medical experts urge people to stay home and avoid mingling with different households due to surging coronavirus cases, but it's still possible to partake in the annual tradition.
The safest, simplest way to do it is to just deliver your desserts: Leave them outside an apartment door or on a front stoop so that your friend or family member can easily and safely collect them.
In November, Dr. Dean Winslow, an infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, California, told TODAY that contactless food delivery is a very safe way to connect with others.
"You don't have to worry about sanitizing the outside of the packages or anything like that," Winslow said. "This virus is really transmitted by the airborne route. You're not going to pick it up from touching a food container or something."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree with that statement: According to guidelines from the organization, there is "no evidence to suggest that handling food or eating is associated with directly spreading COVID-19." While it is possible for the virus to be transmitted from contaminated surfaces, people can avoid this by washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
How can you make your cookie swap a success?
When it comes to planning a fun and delicious dessert swap, there's no one who has better advice than Martha Stewart. In 2018, Stewart stopped by TODAY to share her top tips for a successful cookie swap — and they're so foolproof they even apply during a pandemic.
- Avoid fragile cookies that could break in transit.
- Avoid icings that could smudge.
- List nuts for any friends with allergies.
- Provide convenient packaging for the cookies
- Supply decorative material to decorate the cookie boxes
Amid the pandemic, the fourth note might be the most important: Make sure you use a tin or another container that seals well so the cookies stay fresh, and is made of a material that can be easily cleaned.
The other key to a great cookie swap is, of course, great cookies! Whether you're baking a beloved family concoction or trying one of TODAY's '31 Days of Cookies' recipes, there are plenty of fun and unique recipes out there that are sure to sweeten up your holiday season.