on sunday i hosted my 3rd? 4th? cookie decorating event (and my 1st in denver). i started doing these parties back when i lived in LA for my female friends to come over, hang out, and decorate cookies.
while i am still perfecting the process, here is what i have learned so far (and notes for myself next year when i plan the next one):
- bake all of the cookies at least 1 day before. it’s not worth scrambling last minute near the hot oven.
- some cookie dough recipes require freezing the dough overnight, so that means the dough should be made two days before.
- bake different shapes. don’t just stick to the “traditional” holiday shapes. this year i added dinosaurs (t-rex and stegasaurus) and ninjas.
- use bottles to apply the frosting. i used to use ziplock bags, but have since moved up in the world. they’re a pain to fill (i fill up a ziplock and then squeeze it into the bottle) but make it a lot less messy.
- i also had bowls with frosting for the “main colors” (white, red, blue, green, and brown). i used plastic spatulas i bought on amazon to keep the frosting consistent instead of seeing the serrated track from a plastic knife.
- have fun “accessories”. this year i had regular and jumbo eyes, chocolate chips, and sprinkles. the eyes made the dinosaurs pretty great. for the sprinkles i bought the “funfetti” frosting (it was on sale) and put the sprinkles in a salt shaker like container.
- create a “eatable cookie” bowl. this bowl is filled with the broken cookies from the cookie baking process. i also had a “scrap frosting” bowl (of extra frosting that didn’t fit into the bottles) to dip the cookies in. that way people could eat cookies without ruining their masterpieces.
- have savory snacks. this year i made puppy chow and homemade chex mix (which was a mistake because after the party ate way too much of both). i also baked pizza rolls/pockets which are easy to eat and delicious.
- use a tablecloth when making the cookies and for the actual party. it’s a pain to clean up all of the flour required, but very easy when it can just be thrown out with a disposable tablecloth. don’t use one that is too cheap though because it will tear.
- have a “finished cooking staging area”. this year i used my guest bed as the “staging area”. i put out parchment paper pieces (about 10” x 10”) on the bed with a marker. when people finished their cookies, they could bring them to their parchment paper and at the end grab their cookies from there. the parchment paper also works well as a liner between layers of cookies.
- request guests bring their own “cookie tins”. this way the cookies will go home safely at the end of the night.