Getting Along with Royal Icing

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Butterfly Sugar Cookies


Ciao! It’s about Royal Icing now. I promised myself I’d try again. Last weekend, I took time to practice making and doing art with Royal Icing, and finally, FINALLY(!), I did it right on my cookies. I can totally recall how MESSY (and HAGGARD I’ve been) my first time has become. Yep, I’ve been there and first time didn’t work out fine. The Royal Icing on my sugar cookies did not dry up. If this happens to you, you’ll know how I feel. Literally, your face will be like a sad-faced emoticon or something just staring at the cookies with running RI on the sides. You see I had them air-drying for almost 2 days and it just didn’t work. I’ve got a big HUMIDITY problem. It is normally humid in my country. I ended my cookies up in the trash because they weren’t good for taste testing anyway. HMFFF, how sad right? More on, I had used almond extract on my sugar cookies and from then on I realized I couldn’t be a fan of a cookie or more or less anything with almond extract on it 😦 Maybe I put too much? But I would like to add that it’s just too strong and just not my type of extract. I said I’ll give it another try next time but I doubted I will be able to do it successfully if there are concerns like humidity. And last week, as I have come to check on blogs showing sugar cookie decorations, I felt like giving it another go. But before anything else, I researched thoroughly on how to handle RI in a humid weather condition and gladly found good techniques on how to dry them up on a weather that my country, Philippines, has. I’ll write down some tips I’ve found as you read further πŸ™‚

What inspired me to do another trial with sugar cookies and Royal Icing was the blog of Marian, creator of Sweetopia. She just does cookie decorating so well that I thought, hey, I can do that. She has a great site for cookie decorating tutorials so do check it out here. Her recipes are very good – easy to follow and tastes really classic. I tried her Sugar Cookie and Royal Icing recipes, the latter she sourced out from Antonia74’s Royal Icing, and they are just divine. Just a note on the RI recipe, cream of tartar was used. I believe that cream of tartar may be discarded but in my research, people say that it helps dry up the decorated RI well on sugar cookies especially in a humid situation. So anyway, Marian uses the 10-second (or 10-count as others call it) consistency on her Royal Icing when decorating. It’s a consistency where when you run a bread knife on the surface, the line formed disappears in not more than 10 seconds. It’s one of the preferred consistencies in cookie decorating. Others are the 24-second or making it more complex, starting with a different consistency first in outlining and a runnier consistency for flooding (or filling in) the icing. I’ve tried the latter – takes a lot of TIME. Anyway, the 10-second consistency works fine for me.

Oh, check out her . It’s a very cute illustrated recipe but there’s also an instructional version if you click on the link at the bottom.
Moving on to my cookie and RI experience, to be honest, the cookies became difficult to handle. I had the dough rested for a day and the time I got back from work, as I removed it from the fridge and was about to roll it out and cut shapes to bake, they easily became soft just after taking them out of the fridge. Problems with humidity again but I’ll get used to that. You know where first times could bring you. Maybe next time, I’ll do the cutting while my dough is rolled out and rested in the fridge πŸ™‚ Oh and also a note, I got so excited that I thought my cookies were done but some were actually still soft and crumbly. You won’t be able to use these for decorating. Just follow the recipe and take note of baking the cookies “until they are brown on the edges.” That will assure you of cookies not breaking apart πŸ™‚

Moving on to decorating, yes, it gets me excited, I tried following piping techniques of Marian such as lifting the piping bag a little away from the cookie as soon as you’ve started piping. It helps to make your outlining nicer. Check out her site, it will amaze you. Wet-on-wet techniques, marbling, getting the right consistency and piping tips for your royal icing are some tips you can follow… You’d just wanna try. Actually, my only purpose of trying out her recipe is to prove to myself that I can make sugar cookies with RI (that’s dried up) in MY COUNTRY! Even though you know, humidity is a big fuss. And as I proved myself right, I furthered on by decorating, using her techniques as guide. Royal Icing dried up well on my cookies πŸ™‚ For those wondering how I did it, I simply placed them inside the oven with only the light and fan on and the door slightly open, overnight. I didn’t mention any heat, ayt? πŸ™‚ The light from the oven will provide enough heat to help dry your RI on cookies. In fact, some say that the oven light itself (with no fan) will simply help. I will compile all the ideas that I’ve gathered and post it here ASA-they’re organized. But basically, just that mentioned will help you if you’ve got humidity problems like I do.

20130305-140840.jpgMarbled Hearts on Sugar Cookie

Also do check out SweetAmb’s. She has a whole new idea of cookie decorating – Vintage. Amazing. Must love.

So hey, I’m ready for my next sugar cookie decorating experience. Are you? Happy Baking!

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