Thursday, November 29, 2012
Sugar Cookie Fun - Working with Royal Icing
I love making sugar cookies and working with royal icing. Royal icing is SO EASY, but before I ever made it / used it, I was scared to death of it. I have no clue why. Royal icing is made my mixing four ingredients together, and one of those ingredients is water. Once it's mixed up, the possibilities are endless. It is easily tinted, tastes yummy, and creates a beautiful, smooth finish on cookies that cannot be beat.
I wanted to show you a step by step on how I work with royal to make my sugar cookies.
These are some elephants I recently made. I made my royal icing using the following recipe:
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together for 7-10 minutes until icing stiffens. If icing appears too stiff add more water 1 teaspoon at a time. Icing should be thin enough that you can pipe it easily.
I divided it into three batches; a large batch which I tinted grey, and two small batches, one tinted pink and one tinted black. I then divided my large batch of grey in half. Half is kept stiff for piping, and to the other half I added about 2 teaspoons of additional water to make it more of a liquid consistency. You don't want it too thin, but a good test it to pick some up with a spoon and if it easily drips off the spoon then it is thin enough, The thinner royal icing is used for what is called "flooding", or filling in the surface area of the cookie.
Here I used my stiff royal icing (this icing should NOT easily drip off of a spoon, it should be firm but easily pipable) to trace the outline of the elephant cookie. For this, I used a #3 piping tip in a disposable piping bag.
Once I outlined my cookie, I switched to my thinner "flood" icing to fill in the cookie. I like to use a squeeze bottle for my flood icing because I find it easier to work with, but you can use either a squeeze bottle or another piping bag. When flooding a cookie, you don't need to completely cover it with the flood icing. Instead, you should fill about 75% of the surface area, and then use a tooth pick to drag the icing into the uncovered areas. When the surface area is completely covered, it will look like this:
Next, after waiting at least an hour until the surface it completely dry, I switched back to my stiff grey royal icing and I piped on the details. I re-outlined my cookie to make the outline more pronounced, I added in the outline for ears, and I made three little lines on the elephant trunk.
Finally, I used my pink and black royal icing to add the finishing touches. The pink was used on the inside of the ears and the black for making a smile and little details to the trunk. I stuck googly sugar eyes on to the elephant, which I purchased at Michaels Craft Store.
Cute, easy, and oh so impressive! Royal icing is super fun! As Christmas cookie season approaches, consider giving royal icing a try! Stay tuned for a Christmas cookie decorating post coming soon!