Special thanks to Lucia Watson, Drop In & Decorate board member and our icing color designer for the past eight years, for sharing these tips for making your cookie decorating party fun and easy. Lucia also organizes cookie decorating and donation by staff and clients at her workplace every December.
The keys to making your cookie party easy are preparation, delegation, and short cuts. Here are some ideas to make it easy on the host, and fun for the decorators.
- You don't have to do it all yourself! Recruit volunteers to each bake one batch of cookies. This can be done well in advance as the cookies can be frozen before they're decorated. Many people like to bake, but don't have time to bake more than a batch or two, so give several people the same recipe and you're sure to end up with plenty of cookies. This works really well for me at work.
- Know someone with a great collection of cookie cutters, baking sheets or other useful baking supplies? Borrow!
- Check with your local library to see if they have cookie cutters to lend.
- Too busy to bake from scratch? There are many prepared sugar cookie dough options in the refrigerated dairy aisle at the supermarket.
- Mixing and coloring your own royal icing is ideal, but to keep things easy, you can use commercially available icings and decorations.
- Royal icing can be made ahead of time. It keeps well in airtight containers in your fridge for a few weeks.
- Individually packaged cookies look great, but you can save time and make it easy by packaging the cookies in batches in zip-lock bags, on disposable trays (very inexpensive at dollar stores) or in pastry boxes from the bakery. Some agencies, especially food pantries that serve families, will actually prefer "family packs" of 4 cookies in a bag rather than individually-wrapped cookies, which makes it easy and better for the agency.
Sharing the work:
- Plan your party with a buddy. Get a friend, family member or co-worker involved. One of you can contact the recipient agency, the other can invite people to the party.
- If you have a friend who's really into social media, ask her to get the word out on Facebook, Twitter, or by email.
If you've hosted a Drop In & Decorate party, what do you do to keep it simple? Please share your tips!