Five Steps to a Successful Cookie Decorating Party

UPDATE 11/9/12: I've added a new post HERE with more tips, and fewer quips, about hosting a successful cookie party! Check it out!
 
1. Make a plan. Whether you draw it up in your head or on paper, think about the flow of the decorating party long before it arrives. In my case, I allowed the plan to evolve over the course of three years in my head. This was primarily due to the fact that I canceled every cookie decorating party I had planned for the past three years. Fail proof, really.

2. Compulsively collect sprinkles. I'm not talking here and there, people. If you see sprinkles for sale ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME, buy them. Variety is the spice of life and your guests will appreciate being overwhelmed by choices...especially when one of them is pink pig sprinkles.

3. Bake the cookies in advance. Obviously this is a given if you're hosting a cookie swap (although some people prefer dough...I don't judge). I used Baked Bree's sugar cookie recipe (although I use a 1/3 whole wheat 2/3 all purpose flour ratio), which is PERFECT for cut outs. Set up a system for equitable cookie cutter usage. Line them up neurotically on your counter and talk to yourself. Give the gingerbread people names. Also, cut out shapes that don't necessarily apply to the theme like Volkswagen Beetles, squirrels and snails.

4. Serve food that is not made with butter and sugar. Not only will this help ease the chaos that occurs when everyone is decorating at once, but it also keeps the sugar highs (and lows) to a minimum. I suggest serving my family's recipe for Drunken Dogs, specifically, as no cookie party is complete without people talking incessantly about wieners.

Photos courtesy Lindsay (thanks, man!)

5. Invite a small group of friends...only the most awesome and most creative ones, of course. You can be certain that at the end of the day your kitchen table will be filled with an overwhelming and incredible assortment of meticulously decorated cookies with designs such as: an Argentine Christmas tree, a Green Bay Packer polar bear, an Incredibly Gay Star, a Squirrel with peppermint pants, a state of Massachusetts cookie with a love note for Rachel Maddow, and a Hedgehog with spines made of snowflakes.

With these tips and a can-do attitude, you too can host a wildly successful cookie decorating party.

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P.S. - I can't believe I finally did it! Wahoo! OMG these cookies are so good.

14 comments:

  1. LOVE THIS! You're hilarious. Glad the party was a success... you wanna ship me some ;-)

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  2. this looks and sounds wonderful. i have only done this with kids (for too many years), and it would be so nice to see nicely decorated cookies instead of globs of icing in the most uninspired configurations ;)

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  3. you forgot the part about being all around awesome yourself...because you are. and no one else that i know could have pulled off such a cookie party feat with such aplumb.

    bbbbb

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  4. what recipe did you use for icing? I've had terrible luck lately with getting my icing to the right color and also consistency. do you use liquid or gel food coloring? also, these cookies are totally fabulous and I want to have a cookie decorating party now :)

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    1. Hi there - I actually go the easy way out and use the recipe on the back of the Wilton meringue powder can: http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Royal-Icing It's always worked for me, as long as I don't overmix it. I keep it in plastic bottles and cut the tips off to a fine point, so people can do precision decorating at the party without knowing how to use a pastry bag. Good/best for kids!

      More information about icing can be found here, too: http://sweetopia.net/2012/01/royal-icing-recipe-free-illustrated-recipe/ and http://sweetopia.net/2009/09/how-to-decorate-cookies-with-royal-icing-top-10-tips/

      In the past I have used Wilton's gel food coloring, but I have discovered that Americolor's colors are better/more authentic. I might experiment with a few other brands this year and report back! Thanks for coming by!

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  5. Okay so can you explain to the uninitiated how a cookie party works in terms of the swop? Does each person bring X-amount of cookies or is the swop optional?

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    1. Hi there - my instructions are not for a cookie swap party, but for a decorating party. I bake all of the cookies and provide all of the decorations for them.

      Unfortunately I have no tips for a swap.

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  6. Hi,
    I love your snowman trays. Do you mind telling me where you got them. Thanks

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    1. Hello! The snowman plates are paper, and I think I picked them up at Target, but it was two years ago. Not sure if this helps, but I'm sure there's something comparable out there!

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  7. What did u put th icing in

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  8. Very cute idea ..... hope to follow in your footsteps this year! Happy Holidays!!

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  9. I'm going to do this for a theme party. Thanks so much for sharing. AWESOMENESS!!!

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  10. Would those bottles you have the frosting work for gingerbread house frosting made with cream of tarter,where its a little thicker? Would like to know without having to experiment myself! LOL
    What is your frosting recipe and what coloring do you use? Sorry I like knowing all the facts mam! :))

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