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how to host a successful cookie decorating party
Cookie decorating can be a pleasant solitary activity if you love creating baked goods, but it’s even better when enjoyed with family, friends, or whole classrooms of kids. It brings out the kid in adults and the artist in everyone. Whether you are going to decorate cookies for the first time with your kids or planning a party for your adult friends complete with gourmet coffee, remember if everyone's had fun you've succeeded! Follow these helpful hints to have a great time and keep it low-stress.
Who, What, When, Where & Why
Good organization helps minimize mess, maximize fun, and make it easier for you to enjoy the party. Consider how many people will be attending and what you'll do with the finished product. Will you eat the cookies right away, send them home with the participants, or use them as birthday gifts for mom? If you're eating on-site, just make sure you have plenty of clean plates. If you're sending them home or using your baked goods as tasty gifts, you'll need some food storage containers and materials to embellish them.
Get Your Supplies
Of course, you need lots of sugar cookies — one of the best canvasses for creativity and the most basic tool for cookie decorating, whether homemade or store bought. You'll also need icing in different colors and little sprinkles for decorating. But how many and how much? And what kind of icing is best?
Young children love to slather on a rainbow of icing colors and top them generously with sparkling sugars and multi-colored confetti sprinkles. As kids graduate to more complex decorating skills, they may enjoy using nuts, currants, candies, flower-shaped decors, and edible ink food markers to create more intricate designs.
Meaghan Mountford, author of Sugarlicious and the kitchen wizard behind The Decorated Cookie website, indicates it’s a good idea to provide four cookies in different shapes for each participant. She cites a cookie-decorating event she planned for a preschool class of 21 students.
For this event, she assembled 21 decorator bags of royal icing — the type that hardens — in seven different colors. The children had to take turns sharing the colors, but a bag was always available for each participant. Mountford also suggests providing a number of shaker containers containing sprinkles.
Be Prepared for a Mess
To encourage creativity and fun for all ages, it’s important to be prepared for messes and not get upset about goo. Spread a plastic cloth on the table or use a table with an easy-to-clean top. Give participants individual plates marked with their names, to make and store their masterpieces on.
For groups of older kids or adults, don't be afraid to try more advanced projects like a cookie bouquet. To make "flowers," insert a round lollipop stick in each cookie before baking them. Mountford's website details how to make the cookies and arrange a cookie bouquet. When you're done cleaning up from this one, give yourself a break. Go out for a well-deserved cup of courage at your local coffee shop and check out how they've experimented with baked goods.