Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Royal Icing Kit

If you like to decorate cookies with royal icing throughout the year for your loved ones, I recommend keeping a small Royal Icing Kit to help you stay organized.  This type of kit doesn't need much in it to assist you in creating & decorating beautiful cookies or even a cake (royal icing is generally used for fine decorative work on a cake, not for covering it entirely).  With just a handful of basics, you can make one-of-a-kind creations that your friends and family will enjoy receiving & eating. 

In my kitchen, I like dedicating a small area in a pantry cupboard with these types of tools, because I don't like hunting for anything at the last minute.  With a quick glance at my supplies I can note if I'm running short of something or if a tool needs to get replaced.  There are a number of suppliers and manufacturers of these simple essentials for such a kit, so pick what you can find from where you like to shop.  Have a look at what I do in my kitchen. 



Depending on the consistency of your icing & the piping tip you're using, one can create just about anything.


I know squeeze bottles are all the rage right now for decorating with royal icing, but I find it much easier to work with a piping bag & simple piping tips.  I have a couple of dozen tips here in various sizes (6 of each size) because I like using multiple colors whenever I decorate cookies.  Everything is kept in a piping tip case so that nothing gets lost or damaged.

The Piping Tips : Ateco (Wilton also makes these)
  • Ateco #2 ~ a very fine tip used for piping messages or making the tiniest of dots.  This is perfect for decorating petit fours.
  • Ateco #3 ~ a bit larger than a #2 tip.  Wonderful for larger dots and for piping fine borders around the perimeter of small cookies.
  • Ateco #4 ~ My go-to tip.  I use it for piping large dots and making borders on oversized cookies from my Martha by Mail cookie cutter collection.  It's also wonderful for flood work on a smaller cookie.
  • Ateco #5 ~ When you want to cover a large area with a single color of royal icing, put this tip on your bag & make quick work of flooding a cookie. 


My piping case gets a P-touch label placed on it so that no one makes the mistake of using these for buttercream.  It's essential to separate royal icing tips from buttercream icing tips.  The smallest amount of any type of fat will cause your royal icing to break down, which is why I keep a Royal Icing Kit exclusively.


Adapters are a must.  Buy several of these (they're inexpensive).  The adapter gets placed inside a piping bag while the threaded "nut" clamps the piping tip down.  Using these makes changing piping tips a snap.  One can pipe fine borders with a #3 or #4 tip and then switch to a #5 tip to flood the cookie.



Piping bags come in several sizes, from 10" to as big as 16" or more.  A 12" bag is just the right size for decorating with royal icing.  One can use a plastic coated canvas bag, which is reusable, but having clear, disposable bags is my preferred way to work.  I can see what colors I'm using at a glance & I don't run the risk of mistakenly using a piping bag that was used for buttercream.


Meringue powder is an essential ingredient if you don't want to use egg whites in your royal icing.  I highly recommend using this whenever decorating cookies for anyone who's immune system is compromised.  It can be found at any well-stocked supermarket or specialty food store.



Gel or paste food colors give you a wide range of choices when decorating.  I like getting these pots of colors from Country Kitchen Sweet Art.  Keep these in a cool, dark place and make sure they're well sealed whenever you're done using them. 


Sanding sugars are also wonderful whenever you want to add a bit of sparkle to a cookie.  Using either a fine or coarse textured sugar to flock a cookie is so simple.  Having a small, fine paint brush is just the tool to use whenever you need to remove any stray sugar crystals that haven't adhered to the royal icing.  Sanding sugars come in an array of colors, pick what you like, but always keep a bit of clear sugar to make your cookies special. 


Filled pastry bags like these get tied with either twist ties or rubber bands.  Do you see why I love using clear bags?  At a glance, I can pick whatever color I want to use and not have to guess. 


Decorating with royal icing should be fun & whimsical.  Let your imagination run wild!



A Royal Icing Kit is definitely a Good Thing.  Put one together if you want to decorate cookies with ease.

Enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. Hi David, I am needing to replace my icing bags and tips and your post was so handy. Now I know exactly what I need. I hope you are well. I read your orange curd post and seven minute frosting post which were both so informative. Thank you

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  2. I love it! I'm glad that information will serve you well. Things here in Pennsylvania are good at the moment. Spring is in the air & the bulbs are starting to come out! I hope you & your family are doing well in England.

    Always,
    David

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