Want a surefire way to delight a group of kids this Valentine’s Day? Encourage them to play with their food! We dreamed up this bold and bright cookie-decorating party with a sweet modern theme; recreate it at home this Valentine’s Day by following our steps below.
Step 1: Invite Your Guests
Set the tone for your cookie-decorating party with a bold and bright invitation. Think: modern typography, graphic lines, and loads of saturated color. We adore this “In Love” invitation by Kim Dietrich Elam.
Step 2: Pre-Bake the Cookies
Store-bought dough is perfect for this (that’s what we used), but if you’d like to make your own dough from scratch, we love this sugar-cookie recipe from Julep contributor Melissa Bahen of Lulu the Baker. Pre-bake the cookies ahead of time for your party; estimate three to six cookies for each child to decorate (you’ll pack up the extras for them to enjoy later).
Step 3: Prep the Cookie Decorations
Here’s what you’ll need:
• Royal icing and condiment bottles
We made ours using this royal-icing recipe; add flavors and colors to the icing to your liking, then pour the icing into squeeze bottles and label each with a flavor sticker.
• Sprinkles/candy/other cookie embellishments and paint palette trays
Plastic paint palettes are a clever way to neatly corral all your cookie embellishments in one place.
Tip: If you have young kids, you can pre-frost the cookies by flooding them with a layer of royal icing (above) and allowing them to set in advance. The kids can then use the icing bottles to “glue” on cookie decorations like sprinkles and candy.
Step 4: Set Up
Before everyone arrives:
• Cover your tabletop with a playful table linen that complements the overall party vibe. We used “Golden Triangle” by Cindy Lackey. Alternatively, you could cut rectangles of wrapping paper to make placemats (so easy to clean up, too!).
• Stack the pre-baked cookies on a tray in the center of the table.
• Set out individual cookie-decorating embellishments at each place setting (the paint palettes also work perfectly for mixing icing and sprinkles!)
• Set out a cookie cutter in each child’s initial. They make the perfect place marker and take-home gift for future baking adventures.
Click through to read the rest of our cookie-decorating party ideas…
Step 5: Decorate the Party Space
• We hung fabric chandeliers with lines reminiscent of Cupid’s arrows—the pattern feels festive for the party but remains chic after Valentine’s Day has passed.
• Splurge and cover a chair in heart-patterned statement fabric. Too much? Toss a graphic-print pillow on a chair for similar impact.
Step 6: Decorate Away!
Let your guests frost and sprinkle away!
Step 7: Package the Cookies
• Such a thoughtful touch: Display personalized closure stickers or labels in each guest’s names at their place setting, along with glassine bags for each child to wrap their sweet treats.
• A long-lasting memento? Give each guest a recipe booklet to take home that’s printed with cookie recipes, frosting flavors, and decorating ideas.
• Lastly, supply heart-shaped to-go boxes to pack up completed cookies; finish each box off with a personalized thank-you card from the host.
Helvetica shaped cookie cutters
Paint palette trays (for sprinkles)
Heart-shaped to-go cookie boxes
Thank-you cards (used with heart-shaped to-go boxes)
Cookie recipe booklets
Rectangle stickers (used on glassine bags)
Photos: Morgan Blake
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