If we had to pick a favorite holiday tradition, without question it would be attending or hosting a cookie party. As with watching a holiday play or counting down to Christmas itself, the activity is a perfect way to spend time with family, friends, and the kiddos. In the quest to make this year’s cookie party our best yet, we asked Camille Styles, founder of her eponymous lifestyle website and author of Camille Styles Entertaining, to share some of her tips for planning a memorable cookie party with the kids. She even shared one of her favorite cookie recipes from her book, just for Pottery Barn Kids readers!
Prepare for a cookie party everyone will be talking about for months to come. Here, Camille shares her tips for organizing a cookie decorating party that is perfect for the season and low-stress for the parents, as well as her recipe for Jam Thumbprint Cookies.
Tip #1: Cover the table with paper for easy clean-up.
“I covered the kids’ height table in our playroom with kraft paper, then used a white paint pen to draw ‘place mats’ labeled with each kid’s name. Instant decorating stations — and at the end of the party, we simply rolled up the kraft paper and threw it away. Festive wrapping paper would work great, too!”
Tip #2: Muffin pans make great topping organizers.
“Sprinkles, crushed peppermint, and holiday candy are at the ready to deck out our cookies, and a holiday muffin pan is the perfect way to keep it all organized on the table and within easy reach.”
“Keep the finished cookies organized by laying out a piece of parchment paper and writing each child’s name on it. Place the parchment on cooling racks and as each child finishes decorating a cookie, place them in their designated spots.”
Tip #4: Know when to loosen the reigns.
“Because we eat really healthy at home most of the time, it can be slightly painful as parents to watch our preschoolers eating inordinate amounts of sugar. Before gatherings like this, I remind myself that it’s a party for goodness sake, and now’s a good time to let kids just let loose and have fun — even if that means consuming a lot more sugar than usual.”
Tip #5: Send them home with cookies “to go.”
“I usually plan for each kid to decorate 4 – 6 cookies. It’s fun for them to be able to take a few home with them and share with the rest of the family. After the kids are done decorating, let the icing set for 30 minutes, then pack up the cookies in cute “to go” boxes. It helps to use wax paper between layers so that the cookies don’t stick together.”
jam thumbprint cookies recipe
These are a holiday classic at our house, and I love that the flavors can be changed up depending on your mood. I’ve filled them with all kinds of jam, honey and nut butters, swapped out the almond extract for orange or peppermint and even drizzled the tops with a sugary glaze. It’s a great one to get kids involved in, since their little thumbs are perfect for stamping the dough.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup raw sugar
- Raspberry jam and apricot jam
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the almonds until finely ground. Add the baking powder and salt, and pulse to blend.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and both extracts, and beat for another minute until well combined. Add dry ingredients and mix on the slowest setting until just combined. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
- Place raw sugar on a plate. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, and use your hands to roll into a ball. Roll each ball in sugar, pressing gently to adhere. Place a couple inches apart on prepared baking sheets, then use your thumb to make a deep indentation into each ball of dough.
- Bake cookies until golden, about 12 minutes. Halfway through, rotate baking sheets so they cook evenly. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute, then transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.
- Use a small spoon to fill half of the cookies with raspberry jam, and the other half with apricot jam.
Head over to camillestyles.com to see more beautiful photos from her cookie party. We’d love to see your own kids cookie party in action! Share your snaps with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lovemypbk and tagging us @potterybarnkids. And make sure to follow Camille at @camillestyles for more recipes and fun party inspiration.
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