A Cookie Decorating Party for Grown-Ups

Cookie Decorating Party for Grown Ups| Frankly Entertaining

I think there are lots of great reasons to throw a party. One of my reasons is that it forces me to clean my house, but it also gets me out of my comfort zone. Now that I’m in a new place, throwing a girls’ night is a great way to get to know people.

When I received a copy of Maggie Battista’s new book, Food Gift Love, I knew I had to do something that would combine ladies’ night with a food/gift component. I’ve followed Maggie’s Instagram forever, and I was so excited about her book. The pictures are gorgeous, and there are over 100 recipes, but I think my favorite part is the flow chart that helps you pick the perfect thing to give someone. She also lists the sources for her packaging ideas, which is a huge help.

Cookie Decorating Party with Food Gift Love | Frankly Entertaining

For the party I came up with the idea of Halloween cookie decorating for grown ups. I think you’ll agree that cookie decorating takes two forms: Super messy and less than sanitary decorating with kids, and the creative and somewhat cathartic decorating that comes when there are no kids around! I invited a few friends over for a completely stress free evening to decorate Halloween cookies. I did it at night, after all my kids were in bed, and my husband was out of town, so it was completely relaxed. I made all of the cookies and frosting ahead of time (I always use the recipe from Bake at 350, because there’s no point re-inventing the wheel!). I set up a decorating station for each guest with icing, sprinkles, bamboo skewers, napkins, and  to go boxes and filler.

Top 5 tips for throwing a cookie decorating party

For snacks, I kept it fairly low key. I didn’t have too much in the way of sweets since we had the cookies. It was mostly chips and nuts. I bought a bunch of fruit, but I had one guest show up early, and it threw me off my game a bit. I ended up forgetting the fruit in the fridge! I also had fun drinks like Martinelli’s and Orangina, which made things a little more festive.

Since no one was worried about kids making messes or having to clean up cookie dough and flour everyone was able to relax and enjoy evening. On the invite I told everyone the decorating would go from 7-9, just in case people needed to get home (no pressure), but everyone ended up staying until past 11, which may not seem like much to all my 21 year old readers, but for those of us with young kids it’s huge!

Royal Iceing and Sugar Cookies

Everyone went home with about 10 cookies (plus we ate some at the party) all packaged and ready to go. I also made some citrus sugar from Food Gift Love. I can’t even describe how amazing it smells!

Christmas will be here before you know it, and this is the kind of low key party that most everyone enjoys. Here are my top five tips for throwing a cookie decorating party (for grown ups):

A Party with Fodd Gift Love |Frankly Entertaining

  1. Make extra cookies. If you don’t end up using them all, your kids can decorate them the next day!
  2. Fill disposable frosting bags ahead of time. That’s probably the messiest part, and no one needs to see how clumsy you can be with royal icing!
  3. It takes more food coloring than you think: I’m always disturbed how much food coloring it takes to make a bat black! I always use Americolor Soft Gel Paste Food Color because it’s way richer color than liquid.
  4. Provide some no sugar snacks. You don’t want anyone going into sugar overload on your watch!
  5. Have a couple of examples made ahead of time, just in case some people are new to cookie decorating!

 

Frankly Photo Friday: Halloween Edition

Halloween

There’s not too much to say this week. We are now officially overloaded with candy and there is a definite sugar hangover being experienced at our house! With 5 kids trick or treating and hardly anyone coming to our house, we’ll be good for sugar for at least 6 months. How was Halloween at your house?

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting

Pumpkin Cookie | Frankly Entertaining

Last week Colleen posted a round up of 35 Halloween recipes, crafts and ideas from San Antonio bloggers. I went t for through the list and wondered what was wrong with my recipes that she didn’t choose one for her post. Then I realized, I haven’t posted any Halloween recipes this year! Sorry for my tardiness with the festive recipes. In my head I had a whole week devoted to all things autumnal, but apparently chocolate shops and parties got in the way!

cookie dough | frankly entertaining

Today I’m bringing you pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting. I’ve been making these cookies all season, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me to add frosting until this last time. I love these cookies on their own, but if you want a little something extra and decadent, add the frosting! These are great for a Halloween party or a Thanksgiving pot luck (if you use them for Thanksgiving, then this recipe is actually pretty early!).

Pumpkin Cookie | Frankly Entertaining

I can’t believe that Halloween is this Thursday. Time has been flying by more quickly than normal lately. I keep thinking that things are going to calm down soon, but I don’t think there will be calm until after the holidays, and even then I’m not sure. Are things seeming hectic for you, or am I the only one?!

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 c. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  • Recipe for Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and drop by spoonful on a lined cookie sheet.
  2. Bake at 350º for 12-15 minutes.
  3. Top cooled cookies with frosting.

 

sarahsig

 

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting
Ingredients
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 c. canned pumpkin (
  • not
  • pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  • Recipe for Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients and drop by spoonful on a lined cookie sheet.
  2. Bake at 350º for 12-15 minutes.
  3. Top cooled cookies with frosting.

Eye Ball Cookies

Happy Halloween everyone! I know you’re probably not looking for any sugary goodness today, but sometimes I like to have a cookie because it seems to offer a bit more substance than a Pixie Stick!

Many moons ago when I worked for the big mouse in Orlando we had an eye ball cookie night. If you can imagine an apartment complex full of 18-25 year olds from all around the world, and then imagine little old me! I pretty much lived off of Kraft Dinner and Eggo’s back then; I didn’t have a car, but Walgreen’s was within walking distance!

Anyway, one day I found an eye ball cookie making kit on clearance and decided to throw an eye ball cookie party (I’ve always been an “any excuse for a party” kind of girl!). Those cookies were basically a sugar cookie dough with white icing and gel coloring.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that Wilton makes candy eye balls, and I thought that revisiting eye ball cookie night seemed like a good idea.

Since I already had the candy, I just needed the right shaped cookie. I decided to go with a jam thumb print cookie because, well honestly it’s because I love a jam thumb print! I got the recipe from a Southern Living cookie book, but I made a few modifications.

If you don’t want to run out and get the candy eye balls, you could put a chocolate chip in a mini marshmallow for the same effect. I love the way these turned out. I’m considering this a Halloween success.

Have fun trick-or-treating tonight, and be safe!

p.s. Those cookies are like the Mona Lisa … they’re always looking at you!

Eye Ball Cookies

adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. sweetened coconut
  • strawberry jam (or whatever flavor you like)

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg yolks and almond, and beat until well mixed,
  3. Add flour and salt and mix until a soft dough forms.
  4. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  5. Shape dough into 1 inch balls (a mini scoop works well for this).
  6. Dip each ball into egg white and then roll into the coconut.
  7. Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  8. Press your thumb into each cookie to make a dent.
  9. Bake in a 350º oven for 12-15 minutes.
  10. Place on wire rachs to cool and repress your thumbs into the dents and add a 1/2 tsp of jam and and eye ball (candy)!

 

 

 

 

 

Eye Ball Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Eye Ball Cookies adapted from Southern Living
Ingredients
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 c. flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. sweetened coconut
  • strawberry jam (or whatever flavor you like)
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg yolks and almond, and beat until well mixed,
  3. Add flour and salt and mix until a soft dough forms.
  4. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  5. Shape dough into 1 inch balls (a mini scoop works well for this).
  6. Dip each ball into egg white and then roll into the coconut.
  7. Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  8. Press your thumb into each cookie to make a dent.
  9. Bake in a 350º oven for 12-15 minutes.
  10. Place on wire rachs to cool and repress your thumbs into the dents and add a ½ tsp of jam and and eye ball (candy)!

The Pumpkin Patch at Sweet Berry Farm

This week-end we decided to take the kids to the Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls. We’ve been here before to pick strawberries, but this was the first time we’ve gone in the Fall.

Saturday was the perfect day for this little adventure. There was a nice chill in the air, so it all felt seasonally appropriate. There’s nothing worse than going to the pumpkin patch and being drenched in sweat because it’s still 90º!

Marble Falls is about an hour and a half from where we live. There are definitely closer pumpkin patches, but this one had everything you could want (with the exception of homemade apple cider donuts!), and  their space is huge, so even when there are lots of people, it never feels crowded.

As far as activities go, Sweet Berry farm had a big bounce field, scarecrow making, face painting, sand art, tons of pumpkins, a train ride, make your own scarecrow, hay rides, two corn mazes (one for kids and one for the really adventurous), there was a huge field of zinnias that you could pick for $3/cup (definitely the best value, considering how long it took my kids to fill the cup!), and my personal favorite, the goats! There was goat food for 25 cents a container, plus they had over 75 baby goats born last week. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever!

There’s a little gift shop and a food counter, if you get hungry. We didn’t do everything there, and my kids were a little upset that we didn’t let them stuff a scarecrow, but it was definitely worth the drive. I think Sweet Berry Farm is a great adventure for the whole family. It’s my favorite place to go strawberry picking because the employees are so friendly.

The pumpkin patch continues through November 11, and I bet there won’t be too much in the way of crowds after Halloween. Keep in mind Sweet Berry is always closed on Wednesdays. If you make it up there, I’d love to hear what you think.

Do you have a favorite pumpkin patch?

 

 

 

 

Halloween Leftovers

Yesterday we got rid of the last of the Halloween candy. Doug took it into work and never looked back. Before that, we had a week of crazy candy overload. I would quietly get rid of all the super sugary treats that only taste so-so, and try to not gorge myself on the treats that I love! The kids could take a treat to school with their lunch, and then they had a couple when they got home from school. At the rate we were going, we would still have had Halloween candy laying around at Easter!

So, I devised a genius plan to make cookies using the leftover Halloween candy. I used my basic chocolate chip recipe, and then substituted two cups of chopped candy bars for the two cups of chocolate chips. I used Twix, M&Ms, Milky Way, Crunch, and Kit Kats. Because we have a peanut allergy at our house we left out all of the other candy bars. I can only imagine that these cookies would have been pretty tasty with the addition of a Snickers!

How have you been getting rid of your Halloween candy?

Trick-or-Treat + A Frankly Field Trip

Well, the big day is finally here! My little ninjas had a trial run on Friday night at the church Trunk-or-Treat. It was complete mayhem, but the kids loved it! There was supposed to be a chili cook-off, but there didn’t end up being a contest, just a lot of chili and corn bread to eat. It’s too bad, really, because Doug’s chili was completely gone by the end of the night. He wasn’t in the mood for any help from me, which is probably good since I’m not much of a chili expert. My sole contribution was the smoked chili powder, and after that our philosophies diverged!

Hopefully you’ve had some fun with Orange October.  Happy Halloween everyone!

If you’re still looking for some fun ideas for today, here are some links you might enjoy:

1. (image from bhg.com)

  1. I’m doing these for lunch today.
  2. Free Halloween Printables from Design. Wash. Rinse. Repeat
  3. Awesome Halloween hot cocoa!

FFwD: Stuffed Pumpkin

I was so excited when I saw this recipe on the list for October. What a perfect way to end the week! I actually made this recipe for a luncheon, and I wasn’t too keen on using one big pumpkin, though. I thought I’d be able to do this with tiny pumpkins, but because the really tiny ones don’t have a lot of meat, I went with the pie pumpkins. I actually ended up with way too much food, but better too much than too little!

I made the pumpkin with rice instead of bread. In my head it seems a little healthier that way!! I also added spinach to the mix. Dorie wasn’t kidding when she said it would come out like risotto. The only thing that I would do differently next time is to taste the mixture before I stuff the pumpkins. The whole thing could have used a bit more salt, but I think that depends on the type of cheese and other fillings you use.

I think this stuffed pumpkin would make a perfect Halloween dinner. I would definitely make it in one big pumpkin so that you don’t have to clean out three. After the pumpkin and the cornish hen, I think I’m done with gutting for a couple of weeks!

This week was a success! Stay tuned for Monday when I’ll share the results of tonight’s chili cook-off! Have a great week-end everyone!

*What is French Fridays with Dorie? An online cooking group dedicated to working our way through Dorie Greenspan’s newest book, Around My French Table. We try a new recipe each week and post about it on Fridays. If you’re interested you can pick up a copy of the book and follow along with us here.

Packages of Halloween Fun

I don’t know about you, but I love getting packages in the mail. It’s like a little bit of love delivered right to your house. I can’t even tell you what Amazon has done for my self esteem!! A couple of years ago I got a wonderful idea from Inchmark about sending a yellow themed package to people who were still experiencing Winter well into Spring. It was one of the funnest things I ever got to mail. They were just little treats to show people that we were thinking about them.

Flash forward a couple of years, and I thought it might be fun for some of the kids’ cousins to receive packages of Halloween goodness! It’s nothing too fancy, just stuff that I know that my children love! I’ve had this stuff ready to go forever, but I got stuck between not wanting it to come too early, and not wanting it to arrive after Halloween. Hopefully the timing will work out just right! If you’re looking for some other inspiration, you need to check out Giver’s Log. This blog has a whole section devoted to mailing things 13 oz. and under. She really does come up with some genius ideas. Don’t think I’m copying Design Mom either, I totally wrote about Giver’s Log on my facebook page before Design Mom mentioned her!!

Candy Corn Bark

Does my title even make sense today, or does it seem like I’m saying the candy corn is barking? Clearly I’ve been staring at this screen for too long! Well, we had a crazy week-end at my house. My oldest child turned 8 on Friday, so there were donuts in the classroom, a date night with Mom and Dad, plus the first official viewing of Star Wars! Then on Saturday we had the Ninja party (More on that later), which included a KitKat birthday cake. Okay, now I don’t feel so bad for being tired right now!

I feel like this week is going to be just as crazy. There are parent teacher conferences and appointments plus dinners, and we’re thinking about doing family pictures. Maybe this doesn’t seem like a lot, but it feels like a lot to me!

In my head I had today’s post all planned out, but then my afternoon nap got in the way of what I had planned! So instead, you’re getting a very quick, but very cute Halloween idea. Halloween Bark (Yup, I still think it sounds like I’m giving a command to a dog!). This is basically a layer of candy corn on top of a layer of orange candy melts on top of a layer of chocolate. You break it up just like you would peppermint bark, and it makes a perfect hostess gift of teacher gift, or snack while you’re watching The Good Wife! The greatest thing about it: it takes about 5 mintues to put together!

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