Graduation Cookies

It’s that time of year!

Graduation is less than a week away and there’s so much to do and so little time! One of my daughters suggested that I not bake cap and diploma cookies but, hon, how could I throw a graduation party and ignore those cookie cutters?! They were  calling my name!

These sugar cookies can be baked ahead of time, frozen, then defrosted and decorated or the decorated cookies can be frozen. Tip: Store decorated cookies, with wax paper in between the layers, in a airtight container.

Happy baking, hon!

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe 

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I used margarine to make recipe non-dairy)

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

2-3 teaspoons flavoring such as vanilla or almond

2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cream together softened butter and confectioner’s sugar.
  3. Crack egg into a separate bowl and add flavoring. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until egg is thoroughly incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, then add the dry mixture, little by little, to the butter/sugar mixture. (Tip-a paddle attachment works well. Dough will by sticky.)
  5. If the dough is too sticky, refrigerate until it stiffens.
  6. Roll out on parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick, using flour for dusting as necessary. Cut and bake for 7 – 8 minutes.

Yield: 2 – 2 1/2 dozen cookies. The recipe doubled will yield approximately 4 -5 dozen.

Notes:  Baking times are approximate so watch the cookies. If they are browning, they’ve been in a little too long.

Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients

3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar

3 Tablespoons of meringue or dried egg white powder

6 Tablespoons warm water

Beat about 4 minutes by hand. Thin icing, if needed with extra tablespoons of warm water.

Add color in small amounts. (Tip–it’s easier to darken a color than lighten it.)

Related posts: DIY Graduation Party (Party Prep Step-by-Step)American Flag-Inspired Cupcakes and Cookies, Melted Snowman Cookies, Cookie Crazy, DIY Party Favors, Character Driven Gingerbread Cookies

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DIY Graduation Party, Mason Jar Centerpieces

Mason jar centerpieces.
Mason jar centerpieces.

I admit it. I love mason jars!

I’ve decorated mason jars in the past and will use them again in the future. I collected centerpiece ideas on Pinterest, then Grad #1 and I put ours together.

Graduation Party Mason Jar Centerpieces How-To

  1. Figure out how many mason to use, and use your own or purchase jars at a craft store.
  2. Measure diameter of jars to figure out how much burlap, or other trim, will be needed. I decided to use a wide burlap ribbon on a tall mason jar to balance the size of the pennants.
  3. Design pennants and print out on card stock. My in-house graphic design guy, aka Hubby, used Adobe Illustrator. There are also sites that offer free, downloadable graduation designs. We found a variety of graduation designs on the site Lil Sprout (Greetings).Cut out pennants.
  4. Hot-glue dowels to back of pennants. Trim pennants to desired height with garden clippers.
  5. Decide on additional decorations. Red Gerber Daisies were a must for our centerpieces, and we added foam graduation sticker-decorated dowels. (Tip: I ran out of dowels but created new ones by hot-gluing craft sticks together. Call me resourceful!)
  6. Weight the mason jars and anchor the pennants with glass marbles. (Tip: I added a small amount of water to each jar so the Gerber Daisies wouldn’t wilt.)
  7. Set tables and enjoy!
Pennants printed on card stock and dowels.
Pennants printed on card stock and dowels.
Decide on which width ribbon works on what size jar.
Choose ribbon based on size of jars.
Measure and cut burlap ribbon.
Measure and cut burlap ribbon.

 

Wrap burlap ribbon around jar and hot glue ends together.
Wrap burlap ribbon around jar and hot glue ends together.

DIY Graduation Party, Cookie Favors

Fun favors!
Favors ready to hand out. I tied (so punny!) the black and white check theme to the cookie colors and ribbon.
Graduation Hats.
Graduation Hats.
Diplomas.
Diplomas.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fun Favors! 

Throwing a party? You might think favors would be last on the list of things to take care of, but if you plan on handing out cookies, make them in advance. They’re a lot of work, but worth it. Trust me!

Sugar cookies can be baked ahead of time and frozen, then defrosted and decorated OR the finished cookies can be frozen. Either way, set aside time if you are going to bag and wrap them.

Shout out to Michele Schonhorn, who showed me how to make the icing smoother and outline the design. Her sugar cookie recipe is slightly different than mine so I’m listing it here. Shout out also to my assistant baker, none other than Graduate #1.

Happy baking, hon!

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe 

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I used margarine to make recipe non-dairy)

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

2-3 teaspoons flavoring such as vanilla or almond

2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cream together softened butter and confectioner’s sugar.
  3. Crack egg into a separate bowl and add flavoring. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until egg is thoroughly incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, then add the dry mixture, little by little, to the butter/sugar mixture. (Tip-a paddle attachment works well. Dough will by sticky.)
  5. Roll out on parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick, using flour for dusting as necessary. Cut and bake for 7 – 8 minutes.

Yield: 2 – 2 1/2 dozen cookies. The recipe doubled will yield approximately 4 -5 dozen.

Notes:  The dough DOES not need to be refrigerated, but it does need to rest a little after mixing. It will firm up a bit after a minute or two. Baking times are approximate so watch the cookies. If they are browning, they’ve been in a little too long.

Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients

3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar

3 Tablespoons of meringue or dried egg white powder

6 Tablespoons warm water

Beat about 4 minutes by hand. Thin icing, if needed with extra tablespoons of warm water.

Add color in small amounts. (Tip–it’s easier to darken a color than lighten it.)

Related posts: DIY Graduation Party (Party Prep Step-by-Step)American Flag-Inspired Cupcakes and Cookies, Melted Snowman Cookies, Cookie Crazy, DIY Party Favors, Character Driven Gingerbread Cookies

DIY Graduation Party, Step-by-Step Prep

The church bells rang as I took this picture!
Church bells rang in celebration!
Handsome son and Hubby.
Handsome in dress blues!

Woohoo! Yay! Congrats! 

Two of my kids and their friends celebrated graduating at a backyard barbecue. Hon, you know how I love a theme? What was I to do when their school colors clashed? I wanted to throw a dinner party with a theme and/or colors that said “graduation, bbq, and dressy casual.” When I stopped at a party rental store for inspiration, black and white check linens caught my eye. Using burlap as an accent, I was off and running!

This will be a week of How-To’s, but first here’s what the overall Party Plan looked like.

Menu: sliders, hot dogs, chicken, cole slaw, baked beans, salad, french fry bar (french fries with a variety of dipping sauces), s’mores, cookies, fruit salad, candy bar

Linens: alternating black and white tablecloths, black and white check napkins

Tables and Chairs: this goes hand-in-hand with linens, how many and what size tables being used determines how many and what sized tablecloths are needed, we supplemented our own tables and chairs with rentals

Centerpieces: mason jars trimmed in burlap, school pennants, red Gerber Daisies

Game, Activities: Polaroid-inspired Selfie Station, Words-of-Wisdom box

Favors: graduation hat and diploma cookies

Decorations: banner,Tiki torches, party lights, balloons

Invitations: Evites (I usually prefer paper invitations, but it was much easier to collect, send out and track a large amount of graduates’ email addresses rather than street addresses, especially since most students were in transit between school and home.)

Great advice for graduates (and me)!
Great advice for graduates (and me)!