Friday, June 3, 2011

Sugar Cookies Decorated with Royal Icing

I've gotten a few emails about the decorated sugar cookies that I've been making so I thought I would do a post pointing you to some sites of people who are truly a pro at this, since I'm just starting out. First, I'm going to give some tips for those of you who want to venture into decorating sugar cookies with royal icing. The best advice that I read is that when you are just starting out, start off with a simple shape and limit your icing color to just one or two colors so that you see how the process works and so that you won't get discouraged early on, thinking that this is just too complicated. My first go around, my simple design was making round happy face cookies with using yellow and black royal icing. I did have a "woops" moment while making those cookies when I underestimated how much yellow royal icing I would need and didn't make enough. When I went to make a small second batch, the shade of yellow didn't match the color of my first batch so I had two smiley face cookies that were extra cheery because of the brighter royal icing color : ) You will learn as you go.
Before you set out make these cookies, print off tutorial pages found on cookie making sites {I will list some at the bottom of this post} and use those tutorial pages as your guide. Go through them in advance and highlight the things that you really want to stick out to you to ensure that you don't miss those important steps. Also, watching youtube videos can be helpful so that you can actually see how someone else decorates and become familiar with the process in advance. Also, to get a visual of just the basics of how to fill a piping bag!

I don't have a fancy mixer. It's on my Christmas list though ; ) For now, I use a good 'ol handheld cheapy mixer and it does the job just fine.
I get my cookie cutters from Hobby Lobby and Sur La Table {they have SO many, and all at just $1, whether they are big cutters, or mini's; you can order them online if you don't have a store in your area}. There are also many online sites where you can get cutters but I haven't gone that route yet.
To dye my royal icing, I use Americolor gels. I get them at Hobby Lobby - I believe Michael's carries them too. The colors dry in true, deep shades and there is no bitter aftertaste - and a little goes a long way.
Aside from just decorating your cookies with icing, have some fun and throw in some sprinkles or colored sugar....
Know in advance that there are lots of steps that go into making pretty decorated sugar cookies, and usually it's a 2 -3 day process {depending on how intricate you get} because of the piping/flooding process...going from one step to the next...and also because the cookies HAVE to be COMPLETELY dry before they are put in airtight containers or packaged. It took me approximately 5 hours to make the ice-cream cone cookies that I posted last week {I did an entire batch}. These cupcake cookies took about 2 1/2 from start to finish {I did half a batch}. If you are wanting to get into making sugar cookies decorated with royal icing, these cookie sites will be extremely helpful and give you lots of inspiration, tutorials, and advice:

Sweetopia - My fav! I have personally written to Marian with questions, and she responded nearly immediately! She is super "sweet" and takes the time to go through her readers comments and responds to nearly each and every question that is asked! Sometimes there are hundreds! I use her Sugar Cookie recipe, which you can find here. You can also go here to see her FABULOUS decorating tutorial, where you can also find her royal icing recipe. PRINT THOSE PAGES!!}.

You can also find inspiration from these women:
University of Cookie
Ali Bee's Bake Shop
Bake at 350
Flour and Sugar

There are TONS of cookie makers out there. If you want more, just use good 'ol google : )

You can also spend hours perusing through decorated sugar cookies on Flickr. If you'd like to do so, go here.

Hope all this info helps! Happy cookie decorating!!


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