Happy Valentine’s Day!
For many years, I succumbed to the commercialism of this holiday, usually in the form of a depressed single woman with no date for the big day. One year, I realized that I didn’t need a special man in my life to make the day special. Instead, it dawned on me that surrounding myself with my beloved family and friends made for the perfect celebration of Valentine’s Day.
Even though I am now married and have that special man to celebrate with, I still think the essence of love is sharing time with others, especially on this particular day and especially sharing it with others who feel the pressure of this extremely commercialized holiday.
So today, I invited a handful of friends to my place for a sugar cookie decorating party. We had a blast. We learned some new skills. We bonded. We felt loved.
The basic details, in case anyone is interested:
- I used the Lemon Vanilla Bean recipe from Annie’s Eats. I quadrupled the cookie dough recipe.
- I made 6 batches of royal icing: 1/3 white, 1/3 red, and 1/3 pink.
- I filled 6 piping bags, 2 of each color, for outlining and design work. We used #2 & #3 sized tips for decorating and outlining.
- I also filled 3 large condiment containers with icing for flooding.
- I placed all decorating materials on a large baking sheet in the middle of the table, along with a small damp towel for each guest.
- I baked about 100 3-inch heart cookies (so start ahead of time and freeze them!) for four people.
- I bought aluminum cookie trays at Smart and Final so the guests could store their cookies on them and take them home. At the table, though, we used my flat cookie trays for decorating. Before guests arrived, I filled each cookie tray full of cookies.
- I collected images from google.com of sugar cookie heart designs, saved them on my laptop, and showed those to the guests for ideas. Then, I had traced the cookie cutter heart on paper for each guest and had them sketch out some designs before we began.
- The night before, I had flooded a dozen cookies of each color, so each guest started with 4 red, 4 pink, and 4 white cookies. On these, we began our first round of designing. Lots of laughter as our designs often failed, but it was the company and the learning that we cherished, not the final designs.
- It was time for a lunch break after all that decorating. I served a Southwestern Tomato Soup from Cafe Sucre Farine, Grilled Cheese Croutons from Food Network(smoked gruyere makes awesome sandwiches!), and salad. Later, for dessert, we had Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes baked in mason jars (from Simply Recipes) served with Raspberry Whipped Cream! To die for dessert, I tell ya.
- For round two of cookie decorating, we watch SweetAmbsCookies videos to learn how to marble using wet icing design.
All in all, the party lasted about 4-5 hours and was a lovely way to spend Valentine’s afternoon.
Now, off to stuff myself with sugar cookies!