Culinary and Home Entertaining Expert Zoe Rogers brings you something sweet!
Ladies, take a breather from thinking about men, and pause to focus on your gratitude for the great gal pals you have in your life! In the spirit of friendship, this Valentine's Day, or before, hostess a fun and easy Valentine's Day Cookie Decorating Party! It's fast to set up, inexpensive to do and the bonus is you get to join the party! I coined this celebration "Gal-entine's Day" just for you and your gal pals—no guys allowed!
This step-by-step guide provides the entertaining essentials and special touches that will make your girlfriends' get- together memorable:
Invitations: Digital invitations can be slick, but why not make it more personal? Call each member of your girl gang—just the mention of the theme will get their sweet tooth tickled. Depending on the time of day you want to have your gala, you can ask them each to bring a beverage and snack foods or appetizer. Certainly dessert is taken care of with the cookies galore.
3 days before: Order several dozen plain (un-frosted and not decorated) heart-shaped sugar cookies. Figure on 5 to 10 cookies per gal pal, just do the math and you'll know how many dozen to order. Typically, a gal can decorate 5 to 7 cookies per hour, so each gal will probably decorate up to 14 cookies in a 2-hour-long party. Alternatively, you can wing it, and pick up some from your local supermarket bakery, or get this: make them homemade!
2 days before—Buy and gather your supplies: Pick up your heart-shaped, plain sugar cookies at the bakery and buy the following items at your local gourmet shop, or supermarket:
- A vanilla sugar cookie frosting (white in color) and food color or food color paste to make red and pink frosting, so that you have white, red and pink frosting for the gals to choose from. Make sure you have enough frosting for the number of cookies you have. Alternatively, you can make your own favorite frosting recipe and the recipe will state how many dozen cookies it frosts. Also, some bakeries will sell you frosting in any colors you want...just call ahead and order it.
- Cookie decorations of your choice, such as chocolate candies, colored sugars, Valentine-themed candies...whichever you choose! It's all love at first bite!
- Cookie containers for your female friends to take any leftover cookies home. Why not try food gift bags with a Valentine's Day theme? If you want to save some more money, see what your local dollar store has—often these shops sell decorative food containers. 9 Clever And Unique Valentine's Day Ideas That Your Honey Will LOVE
- Food and Drinks: I recommend simple finger foods and go-with beverages, and guests will of course, nibble on some of the cookies for dessert!
- Serving items and Décor. To save money, I always recommend that people repurpose what they already have. You'd be surprised at what you already own....then all you have to do is add a dash of creativity. In the case of this theme, your colorful cookie decorations double as a tablescape, fill decorative bowls of different shapes and sizes with each of the colorful candies you purchased. It will be reminiscent of a candy shop.
- You will need a tablecloth for the decorating area to collect any spills. Don't own a tablecloth? No problem! Get an inexpensive fabric remnant from a cloth or craft shop. You'll probably even be able to find fabric near Valentine's Day with a heart pattern, too! Since the fabric sides will not be sewn to look 'finished'—you can create the illusion—gather each of the 4 corners and tie each with a ribbon and knot it in a bow, and no one will notice your tablecloth is homespun. In fact, your friends will applaud you.
- Lastly, you need plates, cutlery (if serving appetizers or any other savory items), glasses and napkins. I am sure you own all those items already, although I do recommend paper napkins in this instance since the colored frosting tends to stain cloth napkins.
Now, are you worried about decorations? If you want to decorate the room where you are entertaining, a fast and thrifty idea is to hang heart-shaped cookie cutters on ribbons from fixtures in the room. Another idea is to pepper the room with pink, red and white candles, in keeping with the cookie frosting color theme. Of course, flowers are always lovely. Buy them potted from a nursery or wholesale flower market to save money, rather than cut flowers, since near Valentine's Day cut flowers are more expensive.
Think mood too! Besides playing music, maybe you want to rent a romantic movie and play the DVD on your television in the background with the volume low so your gal pals can still chat while the movie is running. If you want to be frugal, borrow the DVD from your local library. The Best Valentine's Day Date Movies
Day of, 2 hours before party: Decorate your party area.
Day of, 1 hour before party: Make easy DIY Decorating Bags. Have ready new, freezer-weight, zip-top plastic baggies (one for each color of decorating frosting). Fill each baggie halfway with a colored icing, twist the baggie so that air is expelled and then tightly close shut with a twist-tie. Using scissors, snip off a tiny corner of the baggie and set gently into a bowl. There you have it...DIY Decorating bags! If you want to get fancy, you can fit each baggie with a store-bought cake or cookie decorator's tip before filling with the frosting.
Now, just set and decorate your table with tablecloth, the Valentine Cookies and decorating supplies. Arrange your appetizers, drinks and utensils at your serving table. Turn on some upbeat music and you're ready to party! Happy Valentine's Day from me to you!
By Zoe Rogers, a leading Culinary and Home Entertaining Expert, Author of 9 Cookbooks, and a Culinary Judge for Cooking and Baking Contests. Zoe Rogers is an Award-Winning Author of food and beverage articles. Zoe Rogers writes about the connections between food, drink, love, and friendship, and she is Founder of Gal PalGreet.com where you can find Articles, Videos, Crafts, DIY Projects, Food and Beverage Recipes, Party Ideas and Party Themes, Entertainment and More! Zoe Rogers is on Twitter @ZoeInspiresYou