Thursday, December 28, 2017

Consistency Is Key

The greatest challenge for me as a novice cookie decorator is icing consistency.
I'm trying to be patient, I can still remember when buttercream icing consistency was a challenge and now I can make it in my sleep .
I tried quite a few Royal icing recipes and found Semi Sweet Mike's Royal Icing recipe to be the best tasting and easiest to work with.
In my quest for knowledge I kept seeing 5 second icing, 10 second icing, 20 second icing ....even with a visual that just didn't make sense to me. I judge my icing consistency by how it pours into the bottle. If it pours in easily it's too thin. If it gets stuck and clogs the bottle opening, it's too thick.
Today I created a quick YouTube tutorial that shows how to mix the icing and how thick and thin royal icing should be to decorate cookies.
I use the same consistency for both outlining and flooding and a thicker consistency for small details and writing.
You can use bottles or tipless bags. Both work great, it's just a matter of preference.


  • Icing gets the dreaded air bubbles once it's on the cookie. -  Let it sit overnight before using.  For the random bubble pop with a scriber needle tool.
  • Icing is running over the side of your cookie. - It's too thin. Add more confectioners sugar and re-mix.
  • Icing has bumps and dimples. - It is too thick, add water . The best way is to use a spray bottle and mix after each spray.
  • Details are running together. The border of the first color is not dry enough. Allow each color / detail to dry at least 1 full hour or more before adding the next .
  • Icing won't come out of bottle. - Bottles get air bubbles. Remove the top and tap the bottle on the table until the bubble reaches the top and pops. Also check the tip for clogs.
My advice for beginners is just to be patient and if it doesn't come out right the first time, keep trying. It took me at least 10 batches of icing before I figured out the consistency that works for me.


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Hey Cookie !

For years I marveled at the beautifully decorated sugar cookies I ordered for my son's birthday party.
I admired the artistry and wished I could make them.
Last year I started to gather supplies and watch tutorials , I decided to give them a try.
Christmas cookies were my first endeavor. I thought they came out great...looking back , they were just ok.
I have struggled with icing consistency and a steady hand. I knew they would be difficult, I just had no idea how difficult.
This year I made my second set of Christmas cookies, and although they are still nowhere near perfect, I was thrilled with how they turned out. I have tried numerous recipes over the past year and found this one , as long as the dough is very cold, holds it shape and doesn't spread while baking. It's delicious too with the crisp outside and soft inside.

The first set of designs I made using cutters and templates from Semisweet Designs.  I printed the templates in the snowman tutorial and used an edible marker to draw the lines on my cookies.
I used his royal icing recipe to decorate with.
~I will be posting some tutorials on basic decorating techniques soon. ~

This is my end result.  I gave Santa a wink, I feel like he looks a little jollier that way.

For my second design set I used another favorite set by Sweet Sugarbelle . These were done using her North Pole set that I purchased from Flour Box Bakery .
Her sets come with stencils and instruction cards which have been an invaluable tool as a new cookie decorator. I use an edible marker to mark the stencil and then I color in the lines with royal icing.
If you are looking to get started with cookies, I highly recommend starting with a Sweet Sugarbelle cutter set.
I named this set ' The Santa Express' and used a stencil from WestcoastStencils to create the postage stamp. I used royal icing for the stencil and will be posting my royal icing stencil technique soon as well.

I have really enjoyed my cookie journey, although challenging, it allows me more freedom than cakes do. I can leave cookies to dry in between steps and work on other projects. Cookies also stay fresh for quite some time heat sealed in cello bags so I can make then a week in advance without any freshness issues. The best part is I can easily ship them to friends and family.
I still enjoy making cakes and will continue making cakes and cupcakes...but you will see a lot more cookies coming out of my kitchen.