Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How to Host a Cookie-Decorating Party

Over the weekend, we had some kids over for a cookie-decorating party. It was the first time we'd ever done this, so I didn't really know what to expect. Do I buy refrigerated sugar cookie dough? What kinds of decorations should I get? If you're thinking of hosting a cookie-decorating party this holiday season, here are a few helpful hints!

1. Make your own dough!
Sure, it seems like buying the pre-made refrigerated stuff would be easier, but depending on how many kids (or adults) you have, it could get expensive. Plus, I did some research online and apparently the pre-made stuff doesn't work very well if you're making cut-out cookies. You have to add extra flour to the dough or something, and I didn't think I wanted to experiment for this party. I just wanted sugar cookies that would turn out right so that the kids wouldn't be disappointed.

So I found a sugar cookie recipe in the December issue of Family Fun Mag. The recipe isn't available online, so head out to your newsstand and pick up a copy! The recipe uses cream cheese, something I've never added to a basic cookie recipe, and it's so easy! (It is NOT gluten-free.) Just make sure you leave enough time (30 minutes) for the dough to chill in your fridge before you get started. The recipe makes two to three dozen cookies.

2. Have a few cookies already made!
I baked seven cookies (one was for me to eat - I had to make sure they were okay!) so that the kid wouldn't have to wait for their cookies to bake before they could start decorating. We put the cut-out cookie dough in the oven, and then I brought out the already-baked cookies and let the kids decorate those while we waited for the other cookies to bake and cool off.

3. Cover your workspace!
You're dealing with a lot of toppings and icing and kids, so things are bound to get messy. What I really wanted to do was cover our dining room table with butcher paper, but God only knows where I'm supposed to go around here to find butcher paper. So instead I spent $3.50 (!!!) for a disposable tablecloth. And then I used painter's tape to adhere freezer paper to the top of the tablecloth to give the kids space to roll out dough and decorate. I used freezer paper because the painter's tape wouldn't stick to parchment paper. And I used painter's tape because, well, we didn't have masking tape.

4. And about those toppings...
We kept it pretty simple in terms of decorative toppings for the cookies. Just a few colors of icing, sugar sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, and red and green M&M's. If you want your guests to help out and bring something, ask them to bring some of their favorite cookie decorations.

5. Make it easy for your guests to take their cookies home!
I bought holiday-themed plastic containers at the Dollar General to package up everyone's cookies for easy transport home. Whatever type of container or packaging you want to use is great!

And, of course, have fun! We had kids and adults decorating cookies at our party, and it was really fun! The cookies don't have to look perfect. You are going to eat them, after all. It's just a fun way to get together and share in a little holiday celebrating.

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