My favorite part of Christmas, aside from being with family, is the cookie baking madness that comes with it! Every year I make batches upon batches of different cookies to give away as presents, and even though I’m bone tired at the end, I enjoy every second of it. Usually I make different types of cookies from chocolate chip, to fudge, to Italian florentines, to alfajores, etc. (If you keep up with my blog, you’ll see I’m often making alfajores, it comes with being Peruvian! ) This year I actually didn’t do that, and just kept with the alfajores, since I had a few orders for them.
By the way, it might be a tad late now, but if you have a Walmart near you, these containers are about $3.00 for 3 of them. Not a bad deal, and they’re pretty sturdy and cute, in case you want to stock up for next year.
The rest of my time, aside from participating in the last-minute gift purchasing frenzy that is known as Christmas Eve Eve, was spent practicing my icing skills. I really want to get better at handling a piping bag, so any excuse to ice some cookies, I’ll take! I’ve made a mini tutorial on icing, and once I get a better handle on it, will offer up a more in-depth tutorial. I will say, though, that if you want a good step by step tutorial, to visit Brown Eye Baker. It was really helpful for me, especially when I first attempted to ice, and am now able to make modifications and give you my own tips as to what works for me.
Just so we’re on the same page, this quick tutorial is for royal icing. You can use icing out of a can or make buttercream to frost your cookies as well. But I find, and many will tell you, that the finish you get with royal icing definitely better. And honestly, it’s not hard once you practice a few times.
The first thing I’m going to say about trying this is that you have to be organized! Prepping is very important here, this can get messy real quickly. Gather all your tools: piping bags, tips and couplers, bowls for the different colored icing, etc.
Here’s what I used:
Also, if you’re in a pinch and can’t find piping bags, ziplock bags work just fine.
I did it when I worked on these . Use the bigger, sturdier ones though, they don’t tear which the smaller ones do.
Royal Icing Quick Tutorial
1) Bake a batch of sugar cookies using your favorite recipe. I used a recipe that yielded about 25 cookies, but my cookie cutters were also big characters. Make sure you let the cool off completely before frosting.
2) Make Royal Icing. Note: The recipe I’m listing here was just enough for my 25 cookies, so I would double it if you are making more. Also, the amount of icing you’ll need will depend on how many different colors you need. Better to make more than enough, even if you have some left over which you can just save for later.
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon Wilton’s Meringue Powder
3 tablespoons water
Note: If you can’t find Meringue Powder, you can use egg whites instead. Meringue powder is actually used in place of egg whites. I’m not sure of the conversion, since I’ve not tried this myself yet, but just a heads up in case you guys wanted to look into that.
Combine all ingredients, beat for 7-10 minutes or until mixture loses it’s glossiness.
3) Separate into the bowls and color them to your liking. Lay out your cookies to where you can reach each one.
4) Scoop your main color into a bag, this is what you’re going to use to outline the cookie. In my case it was green for the Christmas trees and brown for the gingerbread men. Take your time outlining, you want to do it in one continuous motion.
5) Allow them to dry before you fill or “flood” them. I usually check by gently placing my finger on it and seeing if it’s not sticky and is hard. Once dried, thin out the rest of that icing color by adding a few drops of water, a little bit at a time. You want it to get to a more liquid consistency. Brown Eyed Baker suggests to thin it out until the icing pours off a spoon in 10 seconds, which I think is a good measure.
6) If you have squeeze bottles, you can pour the thinned icing into it and squeeze it out onto your cookies. However, I like just scooping some icing into a bowl, thinning it out, and using a spoon to pour it over the cookie. In this way you don’t have to go out and get bottles, and I also feel it goes faster and you have more control. It’s up to you. You can also use toothpicks to spread the icing to the edges and seal the whole top.
7) Let the cookies dry either overnight or for at least 3 hours. Once that’s done the rest is just having fun! The hard part is covering the whole cookie, but when you have that done you can ice more and put decorations on it. Just remember that whatever you ice, to let it dry before doing anything else so it doesn’t smudge.
Feel free to comment or ask questions about anything! Like I said, I quickly put this together just to get it up before Christmas, but I do want to put a thorough tutorial up in the future.
And now my cookie reel:
Happy holidays to everyone, merry Christmas! Much love to all!
Love & Sweets,