Are you a cookie freak? Do you spend hours on end perfecting your cookie decorating skills? Do you study cookie blogs, often late into the night, hoping to learn some new and inspiring technique? I personally would never
admit to do such a thing. That is crazy. You are crazy. This post is perfect for you!
A lot of decorators like to use a thicker icing to outline, and then a thinner (flood) icing to fill in, and this works really well for simple designs that don’t need a lot of detail. However, in tight spaces this method can be frustrating, trying to get the flood icing to cooperate and fill in properly, without cratering.
-not my best work
Here is a great way to show pretty intricate detail without bothering with different icing consistencies!
I always begin with a sketch so I can plan out exactly how I want to execute the decoration. This is especially necessary with character cookies, because they need to be pretty accurate to be recognizable, but mainly, because the details often need to be majorly stripped down and simplified, in order to be executed with icing on a little one- to two- inch scale.
Here is what Optimus, Bumblebee, and Megatron really look like:
And here is the artwork I submitted to my client:
See how much simpler the detail is? Let’s be real- that’s about as intricate as a cookie can feasibly get.
From the artwork I create a template using an x-acto knife and some heavy cardstock. I then trace around the template onto the cookie, using a food-coloring marker.
Now here’s where the 3-d effect comes in. Look at your artwork and decide which elements are background, mid-ground, and foreground. It can be a little strange and tweaky trying to start with the background and work your way forward, but that is the key.
Flood the background first, and any elements of the design that you want to recede.
At this point you have to leave your cookie (I know it’s hard to tear yourself away), and let the icing dry. The time will vary based on a lot of factors. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours. You’ll know when it’s ready because it will lose it’s sheen and get matte and velvety looking.
Once it gets that dry crust on top you can add your mid-ground elements. They should overlap the background elements ever-so-slightly.
Never let wet icing touch wet icing with this technique! You will lose the 3-dimension-ality (I think I just made up a new word, right?) or maybe I should say poufiness.
Let it dry again, and keep working in stages, building up, until you reach the foreground.
Little details like the lines on Optimus’ mask (?) or mouthguard (?), and pointy forehead antennae thingy (?) should go on very last.
isn’t he just so adorable?
…and Bumblebee is ready for his closeup:
these Transformers, so cuddly-wuddly!
As you can see, the cookie decorating process can be very time-consuming. I like to mix some more basic cookies with design elements that compliment the characters into the mix, to make it easier, and also to give some nice variety and help convey the overall theme.
If you enjoyed learning about how to get intricate detail into decorated cookies with royal icing, check out a few of my other posts on decorated cookies:
My Latest Project/Obsession
Happy Fathers Day!
Raspberry Lemon Sugar Cookies
Triple Chocolate Cookies, Decorating Basics, and a Peek Inside my Photography Studio
How to Make French Macarons, and other Halloween Treats
…and be sure to have a look at my flickr page too! I make a lot of cookies (I have over 20 sets now!) but I don’t put most of them on this blog because I know not everyone is a cookie freak (like me)!
But if you are (crazy), and you just can’t get enough, here are links to some of my favorite cookie blogs, from whom I’ve learned most of what I now know:
Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and if you have any questions please leave me a comment and I will be sure to answer as best I can!