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Simply Entertaining: Cookie Decorating Contest

By Lauren Holstein

There’s nothing as comforting as the smell of freshly baked cookies. Except for maybe the sugar high that comes immediately after eating them. But, before we get there, let’s have some fun decorating them first! This Valentine’s Day try throwing a Cookie Decorating Contest! I have suggestions for decorating options that will allow your guests to put unique spins on a classic cookie. Once everyone has completed their designs, you can compare, taste test, pick a winner, and even take some home – if there are more than just crumbs remaining.

Here are the supplies you’ll need to get started:

  • Sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, or other cut-out cookies (Quantity and cookie preference is up to you!)
  • Piping bags or squeeze bottles
  • Icing (in multiple colors) or icing and food coloring
  • A variety of sprinkles
  • Knives, spoons, and mini spatulas

Now, let’s get decorating!

  1. First, set up a spacious cookie-decorating station on the counter or table. This will allow for guests to decorate a handful of cookies at once. Also, set up a secondary counter or table so that there's an undisturbed place to put the decorated cookies as they settle.

Thin and flat cut-out cookies (such as sugar cookies or gingerbread cookie) come highly recommended as they are sturdy and provide a flat area for decorating. They also won’t crumble as you work! If you do decide to make the cookies fresh, let them cool down before decorating to ensure the icing doesn’t melt as you design.

  1. Next, prepare decorating kits! Space out tools such as the knives, spoons, and mini spatulas across the workstation. You’ll want everything accessible, no matter where someone is sitting. This also includes setting out the icing and sprinkles. I recommend adding food coloring to the icing and placing it into squeeze bottles before everyone arrives. This is a cleaner option for the host. Bottles also allow for optimal dexterity. However, making the icing can be part of the fun! In that case, let guests mix and match the food coloring with icing in little bowls so that they can create their own colors.
  1. Have design inspiration on display – whether this is premade cookies, cookbooks, or printouts. Seasonally themed creative suggestions can include snowman faces, snowflakes, and heart-shaped designs. To make the snowman, use the squeeze bottles and different colored icing to create scarves, hats, and a carrot nose. A snowflake cookie can come to life by using different sprinkles on top of white frosting to create the reflection of the sun. For Valentine’s Day, create a batch of Sweetheart candy-themed messages and personalize the cookies for a loved one.
  1. Have the group place their votes on who won the cookie decorating contest. I suggest everyone writes down their votes on a piece of paper and whoever has the most votes is the winner. Prizes are always encouraged! Perhaps something salty after a day of eating sweets.
  1. Once the cookies are dry, either enjoy the cookies right away or stick them into the refrigerator on a baking sheet to help set the icing.

Hopefully, you discovered skills when creating these cookies, or at least ended up with a delicious treat. Either way, happy decorating!