MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - November 15, 2010) - (Family Features) Cookie swaps are the best kind of holiday gathering, and for good reason. These sweet get-togethers fill the cookie jar and recipe box with a flavorful variety of old and new favorites. Easy, time-saving and economical, they eliminate the need to bake batch after batch of different varieties as your friends, family and neighbors all chip in -- and share their secret ingredients. To help make all swaps spectacular this holiday season, McCormick and Lauren Chattman, author of the new book "Cookie Swap!," have teamed up to host the McCormick Virtual Cookie Swap on Facebook plus a live, interactive demo straight from Chattman's kitchen.

"These exchanges are a wonderful excuse for a party and an opportunity to share some of your favorite treats with friends while gathering inspiration for the next time you're in the kitchen," says Chattman. "My biggest rules of thumb for a cookie swap are to keep it simple and just have fun. To make it special, focus on the holiday flavors you love, whether that's cinnamon, ginger, vanilla or nutmeg."

Ready to start planning your cookie swap? Chattman offers a few simple techniques to get you started.

  • Share And Swap -- A mix of both experienced and novice bakers allows beginners to learn some new tricks and tips from hobby bakers. 
  • Any Setting Makes A Cookie Swap -- The office, living room, break room, school lunchroom or community center can be a perfect setting for close friends or a casual super swap with a large group of people. 
  • Build Your Recipe Box -- Have guests bring copies of their recipes so everyone goes home with a set of new ideas for the holidays. Looking for a cookie idea? Try Chocolate-Drizzled Cinnamon Pecan Bars, which highlight the season's favorite flavor -- cinnamon.

For more cookie swap secrets, join Lauren Chattman on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/McCormickSpice, on December 6 at 8 p.m. EST for a live, interactive Webcast where she'll share more insider tips and tools, and answer questions. She'll also demo new recipes, including one selected from those posted by fans as part of the McCormick Virtual Cookie Swap.

Chocolate-Drizzled Cinnamon Pecan Bars 
Makes 36 (1 bar) servings 
1   cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1   cup sugar
1   egg, separated
2   cups flour
1   tablespoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
1/2   cup finely chopped pecans
1/4   cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4   cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk; beat well. Add flour and cinnamon; beat on low speed until well blended. Press dough evenly into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle on large (at least 15x12-inch) ungreased baking sheet.

2. Beat egg white until foamy. Brush on dough. Sprinkle with nuts, pressing nuts lightly into dough.

3. Bake 45 minutes or until lightly browned. While still hot, cut into 36 bars. Remove from baking sheet. Cool completely on wire rack.

4. Melt chocolate chips in separate bowls as directed on package. Spoon each melted chocolate into a plastic sandwich bag. Cut a small piece from one of the bottom corners of each bag. Close bags tightly, then drizzle the chocolates in a pretty pattern over the bars. Let stand until chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container.