I think this year, N’s 9th birthday, will probably be the last year of birthday parties. Not that he really has ‘parties’ but more a few friends together. But it’s more likely he’ll want to do activities with just a few friends in future, and go further afield. And maybe ending up going at some other time in Spring or Summer, if he wants to do outdoor activities. January is a pants time of year for birthdays really.
This year he wanted to go to the revamped bowling alley in town. The old place was grubby, smelly, had poor food, and really wasn’t a nice place to visit. The new place is clean (apart from the entrance stairs), has great lighting and atmosphere, and the food is better. Well, at least the pizzas we chose and that’s a start.
I’d said he could have 5 people go, so they had a full lane, and we did the in lane 2 hour party time package. I knew 1 hour wouldn’t be long enough bowling because I wanted them to get a full 2 games. Why do bowling alleys always insist you can get 2 full games done in an hour. We went with 4 boys a couple of years ago, and their 2 games took longer, and this time the 2 hours let them play 2 games and 3-4 goes each in the 3rd. They did have food at the lane so had a short breather in the middle, but they were still bowling without too much delay and sitting out.
Because the bowling alley sorted out the food, I didn’t worry too much about themed food. We decided on pizzas, plus sides of chips and garlic bread. They had unlimited squash (rather than the fizzy drinks in the package), and a milkshake each.
With only inviting a few children, most people do invites via text or whatsapp nowadays. So we didn’t need the invites the bowling place could provide. If I’d have done invites, I would probably have created them myself using canva or powerpoint, then just printed them off.
I wanted do some bowling themed party bag gifts, but that’s not as easy as you might think. N had asked for a Victoria sponge cake so that wasn’t themed at all. I decided to make some bowling ball biscuits to add to the bags. They looked great, and were fun to do, although the icing wasn’t really set enough. Flooding icing was new to me and there were a couple of tips (which I didn’t necessarily follow) – to put the iced biscuits back in the oven on low to set the icing, and the different thickness of icing for different methods. Find a simple recipe below.
We just opted for a couple of puzzle items for the party bags – a trip to The Works for some fun jigsaw puzzles in a little cube box, and a Rubik’s snake style twisty toy. I always add a glow stick bracelet, and then a piece of cake as well. The bowling alley gave us a voucher for each child attending for a free game of bowling.
What I had really wanted was bowling pin shaped holders to put sweets or chocolates in. But I couldn’t track down what I wanted in the UK – the shipping and import costs were prohibitive from the US, but if you’re based there you can get bowling pin shaped bottles and containers, perfect for birthday party favours.
Bowling ball iced biscuits recipe
Given this was my first try at making iced biscuits with flood icing (ie all filled in), we kept them simple. If I’d been more organised than doing them the day before, I’d have tried making bowling pin cookies too. We decided bowling balls were fine.
Our icing was a little rough around the edges, and I made the mistake of not putting the iced biscuits in the oven on low to set the icing. Note to self, don’t ignore recipes when you don’t really know what you’re doing! If you need more advice on icing, the Biscuiteers website has tips.
But the biscuits tasted really good, and looked ok. In future, we’ll try similar again and I’m sure they’ll be more pro.
Iced bowling ball biscuits
- 100 g unsalted butter softened
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1 medium egg lightly beaten
- 275 g plain flour
- 400 g icing sugar
- 3-4 tbsp water or lemon juice if you want a lemon hint
- 3-4 drops food colouring colours of choice
Preheat oven to 190C / GM 5 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
Cream the butter and sugar together until well combined
Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, a little at a time,
Stir in the flour until the mixture becomes a dough. Chill for a bit in the fridge if it's hot in your kitchen.
Lightly flour the work surface, roll out the dough to 1cm thick
Cut shapes out using a round cookie cutter and put each biscuit on the baking tray
Bake for 8-10 minutes until light golden brown, then set aside for 5 minutes to harden, then put on a wire rack to totally cool down.
To make the icing, put the icing sugar into a bowl, then add some of the water gradually, beating until smooth and fairly thick.
Divide into bowls of however many colours you are using. Add a few drops of colouring to each bowl and mix to colour the icing.
Put some into a piping bag with a very small round nozzle and pipe an outline 'wall' just inside the edge of the biscuits. Make sure it's a complete circle to avoid the flood icing escaping.
Thin out the remaining icing in the bowls with an extra teaspoon of water. This will be used for the flooding. You can either spoon on or pipe the runnier icing onto the biscuits inside the wall. Use a toothpick to smooth it over and fill in the gaps right up to the borders.
Once all the biscuits are iced, put them back on the baking tray and into the oven on as low as possible for up to 30 minutes to set the icing hard.
For the black 'holes' int he bowling balls either draw on using edible pen, or make some black thicker icing and pipe dots onto the icing. If you want the dots to be flat, add them with a bit of space between before the flooded icing is totally set.
Useful equipment for baking biscuits
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