January 30, 2012

Love is in the air - decorating with royal icing

It could be the newly acquired bling... or it could just be that I love making seasonal treats! Let's say in this case it's both!

I have seen a number of blogs and posts and ideas for decorating Valentine treats this week so I thought I would give it a go.

I must say I have never used royal icing quite like this before, but after a quick research in the plethora of decorating bibles I own along with some tips from the net,  I think my first attempt wasn't too shabby!







Royal Icing
Almost all recipes I looked at included meringue powder (rather than using egg whites). I couldn't find any (until AFTER I made them, so next time you are in the supermarket baking isle, have a look - quite inexpensive  unlike the specialty cake shop!) But if you want, use this one - it tastes lovely too. With this recipe I was able to make 4 flooding colours as well as the matching outlining/detailing icing.

1kg Icing Sugar
2 egg whites (slightly beaten)
squeeze of lemon juice

Put the icing sugar in an electric mixer. Slowly add the egg whites mixed with the lemon juice, a bit by bit. Mix for about 4 minutes and you should get a nice smooth but stiff consistency. Divide this into as many pots as colours you want and add gel colouring as you wish (white, pink, red, purple were my choices here).
*Gel colouring is best as it won't alter the consistency as much as the liquid ones will, and there is a larger range of colours as well - if you only have liquid colours then be very careful with amount you add.

I found that my having 4 colours I needed 4 piping bags - 8 to be really efficient but I ended up using plastic sandwich bags for the flooding bits.

There are 3 consistencies to the Royal icing:

1 - Stiff peak - use this as glue  (to glue on decorations etc)
2 - Soft peak - this will be your outline & detailing icing
3 - Ribbon like - this is to flood - not too thick but not runny either


For decorating the biscuits you will need the Soft Peak and Ribbon Like consistencies.
Once you have split your mixture into required number of bowls and coloured the icing, add a little bit of water to get a soft peak consistency. You can test it by holding the mixture on a spoon and turning upside down, if it doesn't fall off then it should be fine. It will need to be thin enough to pipe.
Use about 1/4 of the colours to fill your piping bag and use a number 2 nozzle and pipe outlines onto your biscuits - the sky is the limit as to how you decorate. I outlined all of my biscuits first ensuring enough of the Soft Peak icing of each colour was left in the bags for the decorating bit. Once all are outlined, mix some more water into the remaining colours to get the Ribbon like consistency.
Fill piping bags and use a number 3 nozzle.

Your outlines will have now had a chance to harden.
Flooding You don't need to fill in the entire cookie, just zig zag back and forth. The icing sets quick so Flood only 3-4 biscuits then using a toothpick help spread the icing out evenly. There are several good video tutorials on the web - search for flooding biscuits.

Once the flooding is done start on the first ones and add all of the details you want!

And that is it
Lace, dots, hearts and words


 A Saturday in the kitchen to me is magic... a little like these beauties! 

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