How to Host a Cookie Decorating Party

Posted by Anne Yorks on Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting a cookie decorating party with a group of 11 cookie experts - a Girl Scout Daisy Troop in Bellefonte. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, of course I think that is in large part due to the fact that those little Daisies were so sweet and eager to decorate cookies. 

These events are fun to host, but every time I do, I get a bunch of requests to hold more parties for other organizations. I wish I could do them all, but due to time and budget constraints, I just can't. So with the help of my friend Julie, I have documented the decorating party and will share the details so that you can host your own Cookie Decorating Party.  I will include a few tips and some lessons learned (things I might do differently next time).

Preparation before the party:

(Note: This party lasted about 45 minutes to an hour from start to end.) 

First, I like to bring a special gift for each girl, a specially decorated cookie to give to them at the end of the party. Last time I did a party I did personalized flower cookies. This time I decided it would be cute to make a badge, like the badges on their Daisy Vest. So I made them each an 'official' Flour Box Bakery Cookie Decorator badge.

I added the pink flower from my FBB logo:

And a piping icing bag with a squirt icing:

I outlined the cookie with a #3 tip and then zigzaged the line with a #1 tip in the same color. I thought this gave the effect of an embroidered edge: 

One of the girls asked how she could attach it to her vest - so cute and funny!!

Also before the party I prepared three daisy cookies for each decorator. I outlined and flooded the cookies so that they were dry and ready to be decorated. 

I left one cookie completely un-iced so that I could demonstrate the 'flooding' phase of the cookie.

{TIP} I premade all the icings and colored them. I chose three bright colors for the girls to use. I planned for the girls to work in teams of three and each group had three colors. They were great about taking turns with the bags. 

{TIP} When preparing the icing I made it slightly thinner so that it would be easier to squeeze out. A 6-year-old's hand is certainly smaller than an adults, so I wanted it to be as easy as possible to decorate the cookies. I also used tips #3 and #16. I don't normally use a #3 for detail decorating, but again the large tip made it easier for the girls to squeeze it out. The girls really liked the #16. They made stars and flowers on their cookies.

{TIP} These party guidelines are for a younger age group of children - this plan would definitely need to be modified for teen or adult parties!! I think you could demonstrate a wider variety of tip use with adults, provide more advanced cookie shapes for decorating, and plan a larger variety of icing colors.

I made a packing list so that I wouldn't forget anything. I have included this at the bottom of the post for a guideline. 

The Decorating Party Plan: 

1. Show up at least 30 minutes early to set up materials. Here is the table that I set up at the meeting:

2. Introduce myself and get the children talking about COOKIES.

3. Ask the girls about their favorite cookies. (Thin Mints were the popular cookie in this crowd!)

4. Talk about about the uniqueness of Hand-Decorated Cut-Out Cookies. I brought this book with me to show different examples:

They loved to see the different pictures. It gave them a good visual of what the cookies look like when they are all finished.

5.  Challenge the girls to name ALL the ingredients in cookie dough (they named them all but vanilla - which they guessed with a little hint from me) 

6. Review the cut-out cookie making process: mixing, chilling, rolling, baking, and cooling. I bring my rolling pin to show them one of the tools used during the process. 

7. Play my favorite game "Name that Cookie Cutter". The girls loved this. I brought about 6 different cutters and they seemed like they could have guessed more if I had them!

8. Introduce the two types of icing used on the cookies: Pipe and Flood.

9. Demonstrate how to make the icing. I had everything pre-measured, so this was a pretty quick demonstration. I took the mixing bowl to the girls table so they could see the consistency of the icing. They were surprised at how it was more liquidy than icing they use on cakes, etc.

10. Mix one icing color. I brought several colors and let the girls pick one. This group picked PURPLE!! They liked to watch the white icing turn to purple, so be sure to walk around the room giving each girl a peek into the bowl. 

11. Next I showed them how to apply the flood icing to the cookie with my squeeze bottle and toothpick.

12. On another dry pre-iced cookie, I demonstrated a few different icing ideas: outlining, dots and lines, stars, etc.

13. They enjoyed the demonstration, but by this point they were ready to try it themselves! The girls were broken up into teams of 3. Each girl got a paper plate, paper towel (to wipe their tips and keep them clean), three cookies (pink, white and yellow). The team shared three different icing colors (pink, purple, and aqua) with tips #3 and #16.

They were so talented and creative. The girls took their time and made some great cookie masterpieces.



14. And then, just when the girls think the fun is over ... SURPRISE ... it's Sprinkle Station time!! I set up a few plates with different sugar crystal choices. Each girl got a chance to sprinkle one, two or three of their cookies!! 

15. Then it was time to pass out the special surprise treat, the cookie decorator patches!!

16. At the end of the party, the troop leaders let the girls eat one of their cookies and we wrapped their plates with plastic wrap to bring the rest of the cookies home .

The Clean-Up:

I brought dish towels and soap with me to clean up my mixing bowl and main tools, but most of the clean up I did at home. It took me about an hour and a half to unpack, wash, and put away all the party materials. I only mention this because it is a part of the process. 

A Few Lessons Learned: 

1. Bring table clothes. I was bummed I didn't think of this ahead of time. It really would have been more fun to have bright tables ready for the 'party'. 
2. Make more than one shape cookie. I did all daisies in three different colors. Next time I think it would be fun to do a variety of shapes. 
3. Set up a Sprinkle Station for each decorating team. I think this would save time.
4. Bring extra cookies for group leaders. The group leaders enjoyed the 'example' cookies made during the demonstration, but it would have been nice if I had a few more extra for them too!! D'oh!

Packing List: 

A big plastic tub to carry all materials
Pinkie, my KitchenAid Mixer
Cookie books (to show cookie examples)
3 cookies for each child (pre-decorate base icing layer on cookies)
Special surprise cookie for each child
Rolling Pin
Cookie Cutters
Pre-measured powered sugar
Liquid measuring cup
Measuring spoon
Meringue powder
Measuring cup
Food coloring
Small mixing bowl (to mix the icing color)
Squeeze bottle
Paper plates (one for each girl, plus a few extra for any demonstrations)
Paper towels
Kitchen towels and wash clothes
Dish soap
Icing bags (I prepared 3 colors, a bag for each decorator + one extra using a thinned out pipe icing and tips #3 and #16. This takes quite a while, maybe 45 minutes, so definitely do this ahead of time)
Plastic cups (with damp paper towel) for icing bags
Plates for Sprinkle Station
I hope these tips and suggestions help you plan a successful decorating party! Best of luck and have lots of fun! Just remember, no matter how the cookie is decorated, it always tastes great!! Happy Decorating!!