As promised, this is our second feature in our How to Make Cookies series of articles. If you missed the first one be sure to check out How to Make The Perfect Cut Out Cookie (recipe and step by step photo instructions)
We thought it would be fun to share some of our tricks and tips we have learned along the way. If you have any advice you would like to share please comment here or on our Facebook page! And of course we would love to see pictures of your creations!
1. Plan ahead! It usually takes 3 days to bake and decorate cookies. Bake your cookies on day one, outline and “flood” them on the second day and decorate and add embellishments on the third day. Making cookies, especially with kids running around, is so much more enjoyable when you spread it out like this.
2. If you are in rush and can’t space it out over several days, allow at least an hour for your cookies to cool down before you start decorating and at least 4 hours for the flood icing to dry out before adding more embellishments.
3. Do not store your cookies in the refrigerator. Condensation will impact your cookie design. Keep them in a cool and dry place out of the reach of little hands.
4. If you want to roll your dough evenly to perfect thickness, buy rolling pin rings (see below). Neither Silviya nor I have felt the need to use these as it is pretty easy to get an even enough roll out of your dough.
5. Your dough MUST be cold. I leave mine for at least an hour in the fridge. Once you have your cookies cut-out, put them in the fridge for another 10-15 min before you put them in the oven.
Royal Icing Tips:
1. First and most important: Make sure the bowl you use for mixing your icing is free of oil and grease.
2. Royal Icing recipe and consistency are keys to cookie decorating. There are a number of RI recipes on-line. I used the C&K recipe you can find on their Fluffy Meringue Powder box and I’m very happy with it. For a basic Royal Icing recipe click here
3. If you decide to flavor your icing make sure you use clear flavors otherwise your white icing will have a “vintage” look
4. For a more “shiny look, add a few drops of glycerin or light corn syrup
5. Color your icing. That’s right for super white color, use Americolor white. There is a difference, trust me. I will take pictures next time and post them to show you the difference.
6. Use different consistency and tips when you outline and flood your cookies. I use Wilton’s tips #2 for outlines and 3 to flood the cookies. When it comes to decorating, best details are created with the smallest tips (Wilton’s smallest tip is #1, but Ateco has finer tips. I believe the smallest one is #000)
7. If you have lumps in your Royal Icing I would highly recommend that you straining it through knee-high hose before you fill up your piping bags or bottles
8. When you color your icing be sure to color enough to create your thinner icing for flooding and thicker icing for outlining and decorating. Once it is mixed thoroughly with your color separate out the portion you will thin for the flooding. This way you are sure to have matching shades of your colors.
If you buy one thing it should be the Kuhn Rikon Cook's Tools 16-pc. Cookie and Cupcake Decorating Set or a similar set. Decorating and flooding using these bottles makes it so much easier and less messy to decorate. I own one of these and am thinking of purchasing a second set to have on hand when I am decorating with a lot of different colors. Also, it makes it easy to store your frosting in the fridge overnight as these bottles all have caps on them.