Posts Tagged 'royal icing'

How To Manipulate Royal Icing

So I have been dying to show you how easy these are to decorate. I am actually delighted that I get to tell you. Imagine how much fun this could add to your life! Minus the somewhat finicky prep work, the actual cookie decorating process is so great. And easy. And aesthetically rewarding. I saw the technique here. It was love.

First, pipe your outline of undiluted royal frosting. You can find the recipe and tutorial for royal icing and flood icing here. Remember not to overbeat your frosting, or you will end up with pit marks and weirdness.

Fill in your outline with flood icing and spread into the corners (or arc segments, in this case) with a toothpick or fondue stick or whatever you happen to have on hand.

Next, dot a different color of flood icing onto the fill. You can use a piping bag or a squeeze bottle for less mess. I used the end of a metal kabob and a toothpick. Hey…

Now comes the fun part. Using a toothpick (or the tines of a plastic fork—can I do nothing correctly?), swirl around the dots however you would like. You can make all sorts of pretty patterns. To make a heart, draw a single line straight through the middle of a dot.

Be careful not to press too far into the icing. You could get divets like the above, or the frosting colors might mix too much.

It’s a little work, but a lot of impressiveness. Winner.

Luck,

L

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Pipe Dream #78: To Make Manly Treats – Heart Sugar Cookies

The unicorn sugar cookies (click here for the recipe!) were such a smashing success that I was eager to try them again. I hadn’t meant to make them so girly, but the colors didn’t turn out, basically because I wasn’t willing to really commit and use a lot of food coloring. My bad. Plus, once I discovered that I could make hearts, I just couldn’t stop. They were too for cute.

It was so fun. Every cookie was different. Pardon the edges; I know they don’t look awesome. If I had really been professional, I would have used a piping tip or a squeeze bottle to pipe the royal icing. Anyway, I wasn’t being professional, so I snipped off the end of a piping bag. Hence the untidy squiggles. It was an experiment.

Here are some more pictures. Stay tuned for the flood icing tutorial coming up!

Heart,

L

How To Frost Sugar Cookies – Classic Royal Icing

Hokay so. I just cannot get over the cuteness of these cookies. I would take these to market. I was super nervous about decorating them, but luckily, the real cookie-decorating pros like Bridget over at Bake At 350 know what they are doing. Girl is a marvel.

If I can do this, you can do this. I think I made a couple mistakes along the way, but I will point them out to you, and then you will be even better, deal? Deal.

 

Royal icing is basically egg whites and sugar beaten together–a cinch. Bridget uses meringue powder because you can get a more consistent result not worrying about how large your eggs are or getting a bit of yolk in your whites that will cause them to remain flat, lifeless and useless except for supposedly heart-healthy lunch omelets. For more on how to give your egg whites life to the full, please read this post.

The key to a great royal icing is to beat them just right. That is, you shouldn’t beat them too much, as I did. It led to problems.

Once beaten, you can separate your icing into bowls and color it however you want. Once colored, you can put it into a pastry bag with a piping tip as I did, or put it into those cool little squeeze bottles, of which I wish I was the proud owner. They’re durn useful in unicorn sugar cookie situations.

But wait! There’s more!

In addition to your stiff royal icing, you need to make what is called flood icing. I divided my recipe in half and made half of the stiff stuff into the thinner flood icing. I did this by stirring in one teaspoon of water at a time until the frosting was the consistency of syrup. If you lift a little out of the mixing bowl and let it fall, the icing should take about 2-3 seconds to reabsorb into the rest of the icing. Kinda tricky, but there has to be a bit of leeway if I got it on the first try. You can put your flood icing into a piping bag, but I think in this case, a squeeze bottle would definitely work better.

So now you are ready to frost your unicorn cookies and bring smiles to the faces of women at baby showers everywhere. Begin by piping an outline of your cookie with the stiff royal icing. You hafta make it all the way around with no breaks in the icing. Mine had a break on the right side that I had to go back and fill in. Also, if you want to stick anything into the icing like the little dragees I used on the tip of the horn, make sure to stick them in right away. I was working with about four cookies at a time, but I did press in a dragee after piping each one.

And see how this icing looks a bit strung out and pitted? Yeah, that is because I over-beat it. It could also possibly be that my icing technique is less than super quality, but I’d like to think that is not true.

Then, you fill in the piped outline with flood icing. The flood icing should not be thin enough that it flows into the corners by itself. You kind of have to maneuver it around with a toothpick to get it into all the corners. (In my case, I used the end of a metal skewer that I found in the back of a drawer. It was sufficient, if not perfectly kosher.)

In retrospect, I should have doubled the frosting recipe. I frosted around 36 cookies and this batch of frosting was just enough–not a lotta room for mistakes.

Saweeto! Once the base frosting was dry, I gave the unicorns a purple royal icing swirl for a mane and used an edible marker to make little eyes.

You want to wait a good few hours or overnight before packaging the cookies so the frosting doesn’t mess up. I was worried that they would dry out, but I found out that royal icing is like sparkly lip gloss. It looks pretty, and it provides a moisture seal so the cookies don’t dry out as quickly as an unfrosted cookie. Yeah? :]

I couldn’t resist using my baker’s twine. Most of the time I can’t resist cute things, so no surprise there.

Ta,

Lauren

Royal Icing

Adapted from Bake At 350

4 tablespoons meringue powder
scant 1/2 c. water
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp light corn syrup
a few drops clear extract (optional)

Combine the meringue powder and water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until foamy. Sift in your powdered sugar, and beat on low speed to combine. If you want, add the corn syrup to keep your icing shiny and any extracts you want to flavor your icing.

Beat on medium/high speed until stiff, shiny peaks form (see picture above) and peaks do not fall when jiggled. Do not overbeat or your icing will get crackED.

Use immediately or cover icing with plastic wrap until ready to use.

To make flood icing to fill piped outlines, stir in water with a rubber spatula one teaspoonful at a time until icing is the consistency of syrup. According to Bridget, you should be able to spoon up a little icing and let it fall back into the bowl. If it takes 2-3 seconds to disappear back into the rest of the frosting, you’re golden.

Pipe Dream #75: To Believe They Exist – Unicorn Sugar Cookies

Ok. Do I even need to write anything?

Yes, I suppose I do. But aren’t you even freaking out about how cute these are? I mean, I know I am not really normal sometimes, but seriously. I was freaking out.

I was especially flippin’ because I had never tried this recipe or icing technique before. Never been a cookie decorator have I. Plus, I don’t exactly have a set of cookie cutters with which to cut cookies for decoration and consumption. This one was lent to me for the occasion.

In the past, I have skipped over the traditionally frosted sugar cookies, like the ones you get on a cookie plate at Christmas? They are cute, but they always seem super thin and overbaked. Overall, not worth the calories that could be spent on peanut butter blossoms or gingersnaps or something.

These are special though. I took care to roll these out a little thicker. The result was a slightly soft sugar cookie with a bit of snap left. Far better than the sugar cookies I’ve eaten in the past.

In honor of these cookies, I have slightly adapted a quote from my dear aunt:

“Really excellent sugar cookies are like unicorns. They sound really great, and you’d really like to believe that they exist, but you’ve never actually seen one.”

Well, you’ve thought about them, hoped after them, and now you have finally seen them, folks. The ultimate sugar cookie.

Never fear, the icing tutorial is coming later this week. Then you will know. :] :] :] Gosh, these cookies are so fun.

Wishin’ and hopin,’

L

Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies

From Bake At 350

3 c unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 c sugar (I use sugar that I’ve stored vanilla beans in)
2 sticks (salted) butter, cold
1 egg
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure almond extract

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.

The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.

Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets (Bridget recommends freezing the cut out shape on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking, but I didn’t do it.) and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Pipe Dream #22: To Make Uncrusty Frostings – Maple Pecan Cupcakes

I worked at Pier One Imports for a year in high school. Ah, Pier One. Those were happy days. I got to spend my time organizing glass into straight rows and chatting up customers about whether the Patchouli reed diffuser was too 1995 for their new home. In all cases, it was too 1995, but some people still bought them. It was a great job to have at that stage in life. I learned a little about interior decorating, a lot about sales and perhaps too much about the importance of being careful with box cutters…nostalg over.

I think my romance with cupcakes began there. I used to look through the above book when I was supposed to be dusting when I was on break. It is full of beautiful photos and interesting flavor ideas for cupcakes. I was inspired.

These are my 2009 interpretation of the pistachio cupcakes on the cover. And by “interpretation” I mean “attempt to copy exactly.” That failed, obviously. But they are still cute, methinks.

Psych! I’m not going to give you the pistachio cake recipe; these cakes are like the Woman Folly– enticing on the surface, but full of noise and ignorance on the inside. Or in this case, a crusty royal icing on the outside and a dry crumb on the inside. Not what you want to be making.

When I first started baking cupcakes, this one was my favorite. It rully were.  The sugar is half replaced by maple syrup, making for the most moisty, buttery cupcake you ever did see. And there are pecans. Have I ever told you about me and pecans? Ok. Sometime I will. And then you will know.

The frosting is an old-fashioned buttercream that leaves something to be desired–it gets crusty pretty quick. But that doesn’t usually matter in my case. Ahem. I can’t even make these anymore because they get eaten too quickly. Plus, I’m trying to get away from crusty frostings. If you were really cool (me, not), you could caramelize 12 pecans to decorate with, but I didn’t want to fuss. We all know I’ve only made good caramel once.

Please enjoy these in my name,

L

Maple and Pecan Cupcakes

Adapted from Cupcakes by Susannah Blake

For the cupcakes:

1 stick butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 eggs

1 cup self-rising flour

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

For the frosting:

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a muffin pan with paper liners.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until creamy, then beat in the maple syrup. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then dump in the flour and fold in. Fold in the nuts and spoon the mixture into muffin cups. Bake for about 17 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the frosting, beat the butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar together until pale and fluffy. Spread the mixture over the cupcakes and top with a pecan, or a caramelized one.


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