While intricately decorated cookies are found year-round in a variety of seasonal shapes and sizes, there are probably more cookie decorating parties in the month of December than in the remaining 11 months of the year, combined. Whether you’re making cookies to give away as holiday gifts, or just having fun with friends, hosting a party centered around this seasonal activity popular because people love cookies and “playing” with food.
While hosting your own cookie decorating party is not that difficult, cookie decorating is much more enjoyable with a couple of tips from the pros. We asked experienced cake and cookie decorator Jay Muse, the owner of the recently opened Lulu Cake Boutique in New York City to share his tips and tricks with us.
1. Be Inspired. This year, Jay and his team turned to holiday stationery for inspiration when decorating their star, wreath, ornament, and Burberry-bedecked snowmen cookies. You can also look at magazines, or be inspired by cookies you see in shops — just channel your creativity through things that catch your eye. Jay also suggests looking at the packaging your cookie cutters come in for inspiration.
2. Have the right equipment. Working with quality ingredients and an array of decorative garnishes makes cookie decorating that much more fun. Start off with a good sugar cookie recipe. You will also want to make plenty of royal icing — this is what you’ll use to pipe borders and fill in the spaces, when decorating.
Spatulas, for moving cookies
Knives, for spreading icing
Brush, for painting on glitter, optional
Optional Decorative Garnishes:
Ribbon, if you want to make cookie ornaments
3. Plan ahead. Don’t have your guests bake the cookies and decorate them in the same day, unless you want to party to be a multi-hour affair (4-6 hours). The cookies need time to bake and time to cool, then you’ll want to allocate a couple of hours for decorating. Don’t forget to have plenty of space for your guests to work, and you will need to provide packaging for your guests to take their treats home, as well.