Updated almost daily. I am a mama of two, part-time event coordinator and aspiring food writer who is passionate about families spending time together in the kitchen. This space is a hodgepodge of recipes made for and with my children. Also included: cookbook reviews, fun party ideas, giveaways and much more. I live in Toronto, ON.
I have yet to meet a child who doesn't enjoy slathering a freshly baked sugar cookie with coloured icing, topping it all with various sprinkles and candies and then sitting down to eat the fruits of their labour. Doesn't that sound like fun? As I mentioned last week, I'm making 400-500 cookies today and tomorrow for children to do exactly that and I can't wait to see how it all works out.
If you haven't organized or managed a cookie decorating table before, I encourage you to give it a try. It's a great activity for a birthday party, playdate, rainy day activity, fundraiser, or community event. Below are some of my tips for preparing for and running this type of activity:
~ Determine how many children you will be expecting at your event. Allow for 1-2 cookies per child if you're hosting a fundraiser or community event and 6-8 cookies per child if you're decorating cookies as a birthday party/playdate activity.
~ Once you've determined how many cookies you will need to have, make your dough. All sugar cookie dough freezes well and can be made up to three months in advance. I find it easier to remove the dough from the freezer, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and bake the cookies the following day, then to make and bake the dough in the same day.
~ Cookies can be baked 2-3 days prior to the event. They will keep fresh if stored in an air-tight container. Alternatively, you can make the cookies a few weeks in advance and store them in the freezer in a lidded container, lined with wax paper.
~ To keep the mess contained I recommend using squeeze bottles for the icing. If you use Royal Icing for the cookies, these work best. Piping bags can be too finicky for smaller hands. I also find the squeeze bottles to be more hygienic as children won't be able to have direct contact with the icing. No messy little fingers finding their way into the bowls of icing.
~ Keep sprinkles, coloured sugars and candies in small bowls with spoons. Encourage all of the children to use the spoons to lift the decorations out of their bowls and scatter over the cookies.
~ Keep baby wipes close by. They work great to remove icing and candies from little hands and work surfaces.
~ Royal icing takes time to dry. Give each child a sheet of wax paper and ask them to write their name on it. When they have finished decorating their cookies, they can place them on the labeled sheet and come back to them when they are dry. If you're working a fundraiser or community event encourage the kids to move on to another activity and to come back to pick up their cookie once it's had the chance to dry.
I will let you know how my own decorating table works out this weekend and if you have done something similar I'd love to hear your stories (good and bad!) about how it all worked out.
Some housekeeping for today: If you're in the West Toronto area, The Mixing Bowl is going to be running a half day cooking camp for kids in August. We will also be starting after-school classes, held in a neighbourhood church, in September. Stay tuned for more details or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.