The Great Sweets Swap

Elle Feldman of Elle’s Patisserie helps spread her love of sweets with her closest family and friends at her annual cookie exchange.

By Ettie Berneking | Photographed BY Kevin O’Riley

Nov 2014

The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without an abundance of sugary cookies, and when it comes to dishing out trays of assorted treats, few do it better than Elle Feldman of Elle’s Patisserie (1454 E. Cherry St., Springfield, 417-832-2171, During the day, Feldman is busy treating customers to sinfully rich truffles, homemade ice creams, buttery croissants and chocolate-dipped marshmallows and chocolate barks at her shop. And each Christmas, she shares her sweet tooth with dozens of friends and family at her annual cookie exchange.

Feldman was first indoctrinated into the cookie exchange world when she was a young girl and watched her Grandma Heisler bake dozens of cookies. There were Mexican wedding cake cookies, peanut butter thumb prints topped with a single Hershey’s kiss and a life’s worth of memories that made this time of year so special. Now Feldman hosts her own cookie exchange each year.

Invitations are mailed out, and ovens are fired up as guests prep their required two dozen cookies. One dozen is for eating, and the other dozen is for guests to take home and enjoy later. “Traditional cookie exchanges have a lot of rules,” Elle says. “But mine is more manageable. The only real rule is that you can’t bring store-bought cookies and no slice-and-bake cookies.” You also won’t find chocolate chip cookies at this cookie exchange. “This isn’t about stressing people out,” Elle says. “It’s about the spirit of Christmas. My goal is to encourage people who don’t bake to just have fun and try it out.” 

Even during the peak of the holiday season when stress can be at its worst  (like the time Elle’s dog ate the plate of macarons she was planning on taking to the cookie exchange), Elle hopes her event is a time for her guests to stop and enjoy the festivities. The memories that come with spending time in the kitchen with friends and loved ones are truly priceless.

Amy Hiles and Elle Feldman (top left) co-hosted the annual cookie exchange, where friends and family brought plates filled with dozens of delicious sweets to share. The event was hosted at the Tea Room at Vintage Suitcase, where festive decorations added plenty of holiday charm. As they mingled, guests enjoyed sipping champagne and letting the stress of the holiday season melt away.

All guests who bring homemade cookies to the exchange share a short introduction about how they acquired their cookie recipe and why it’s special to them.

Besides enjoying a spread of delicious cookies, Katie Janae and Katie Shelton enjoyed champagne as they mixed and mingled. 

Dozens of cookies await guests at Feldman’s annual cookie exchange. Each guest brings one dozen to share and take home and another dozen to eat at the party.

It’s not just sugary cookies guests can fill up on during the night. An array of chips, dips and other filling hors d’oeuvres are ready to be enjoyed.