Each year I celebrate "Day with Aunt Steph" with my brothers' kids. I've learned that it isn't about fancy or expensive, its just about spending time together (and ditching the parents). Our tradition includes lunch and a chocolate fountain. This year I thought I'd combine our mutual love of Star Wars with our special day and did a Star Wars Palooza.
I've found tons of great Star Wars party ideas on Pinterest. I have been adding to my kitchen collection of Star Wars supplies for a while. From Williams-Sonoma, I have the cookie cutters, pancake molds and sandwich cutters. From Amazon, I found some silicone trays for ice cubes/chocolates (just do a search for Star Wars silicone tray). As for entertainment, I thought a pinata would be cool, as well as light-sabers and then an outdoor movie.
We started the day with Star Wars pancakes. Couple of things to make this go smoothly. First, if you have more than one person eating with you, start a bit earlier than when the kids are all sitting at the table waiting! I used Krusteaz pancake mix and made it just a little thinner than usual (not really thin, just a bit more pourable) and put it in a large water bottle with a squeeze cap. Preheat your griddle to around 250-300 degrees with the pancake molds sitting on the griddle (you want them to be hot too). Spray them very generously with non-stick spray. Squirt the batter into all the crevices. Careful--you don't want to fill more than 1/2 full otherwise the batter puffs up over the top of the mold and then things get really messy and stuck. Once the batter is fairly dry looking and bubbles have stopped, gently pull off the mold and then flip the pancake with a larger turner.
This day took some advance prep, so I started with making the cookies and froze them. Apparently I took no pictures of the process, but I modified this recipe by leaving out the espresso powder. I also did 1/2 batch for Darth Vader and the other 1/2 batch for Yoda (so, how do you get 1/2 an egg? you crack it open, scramble it and then divide it in half...since I was going to make two mini batches of cookie anyway, it worked out great). Also used this blog post and this one for help.
For Darth Vader, I used regular cocoa powder and black gel food coloring. Refrigerating the dough for 30 minutes before rolling out helped. You need to pop the tray of cookies in the freezer before you bake them for about 10 minutes (this helps keep them from getting too puffy and losing their details while baking).
For Yoda, I reduced the cocoa to 1 Tablespoon and a few drops of regular green food coloring, which made for the perfect Yoda green (one of the recipes used green tea powder, but I didn't want to)! I also chose to use lemon extract instead of vanilla on these cookies. Ditto on the refrigerating the dough and freezing the tray before baking.
I did think about making sandwich cookies out of these, but I suspected the kids would probably dunk them in the chocolate fountain anyway, so I didn't (no one cared that they had no frosting...come on, they look like Yoda and Darth Vader!)
Next on my prep list was the Star Wars chocolates. I bought the molds from Amazon.com They were each about $9. I will say that the X-wing and R2D2 molds were disappointing. They have such fine details and small parts that they did not unmold successfully. Han Solo in carbonite and Darth Vader worked really, really well (so did the large Millennium Falcon).
I started with a tray of melting chocolate (OK, this party was for kids under the age of 12, so I did not spring for expensive chocolate). I melted it up in the microwave right in its tray.
I got all the molds ready and pulled out a spoon and some skewers.
I made Light Sabers for each of the kids out of pool noodles. I used this tutorial:
http://www.jedibroadsquad.net/FoamSaber.html Which while keeping an eye on 8 kids (4 of them are 3 yrs old) I didn't get a chance to snap any clear pics of the Light Sabers, oh well).
I found the shiny silver duct tape at WalMart and used it for covering the handle (the tutorial used black). I used electrical tape to add the decorations around each handle. Super easy and the kids loved whacking stuff with them, including the pinata!
A pinata you say? Yup, a big "hit" to be sure. The easiest one I could think of was a Death Star. I got some punch ball balloons at WalMart because they are supposed to be round...but it was pretty oval shaped. Oh well. If I were to do it again, I'd hit the dollar store for an inflatable beach ball instead. The pinata took a whole day to make (luckily it was a sunny and windy day, so it dried quickly).
Mix up the glue; 2 c. water, 1 c. flour. Tear up some strips of newspaper and smooth them all around the balloon. I did this outside on the lawn in my work clothes, because this is messy. I had a large bowl to set the balloon in while I worked. I hung the pinata to dry from the punch balloon rubber band. When layer one was done, I did it again. Since most of the kids would be under 8, two layers was plenty, but if they were older, you'd probably want 4 layers.
I sprayed the dried pinata with gray primer since that is what I had in the garage. Once the paint was dry, I poked the balloon and let the air out. I used black electrical tape to make the equator and some shiny duct tape to add the decor and large round spot. I also used the duct tape to cover over the hole left at the top where I stuffed the candy.
I filled the pinata with some Star Wars chocolate coins that I found at WalMart at Christmas time and some other candy.
There are lots and lots of great ideas for Star Wars themed party food. My brother and his wife even gave me the Star Wars cook book for my birthday. I used the book for some of the food titles, some titles I found on other blogs and still others I just put together. I was loved the classic Star Wars detailing of the food labels over at Hello My Sweet so I used them as inspiration for mine. I even did water bottle labels that I printed and taped on Costco brand water. I'll be honest, I created LOTS more labels than I would have needed, and ended up trying to keep things simple. After the kids had been playing at the park and a stop at the grocery store for fruit for dipping, they were starved, so I had to hustle to get things set out. So, no fancy display table, but the kids didn't care one bit!
Wanna know the funniest? Of all the items on the table, which one do you think got eaten up first and had none left over? The broccoli from the veggie tray. Hilarious (and what good sisters-in-law I have for teaching their kids to enjoy vegetables!)
On the table:
Vader Veggies w/ Droid Dip
Light Sabers (fat pretzel sticks, plain. The kids dipped them in dip or chocolate fountain)
Yoda/Darth Vader Cookies
The Force Fruit
Chewbaca's Chocolate Fountain (Hershey's Syrup in a fountain I found at Ross for $15)