Using squeeze bottles for royal icing at home has been something I've resisted because of my preference for piping bags. Piping bags have always been my inclination for cookie decorating projects throughout the years, but lately, with people reaching for those squeeze bottles in greater numbers, I thought I'd give them a try. I visited a local kitchenwares store that has so many wonderful products for baking, cooking, grilling, as well as entertaining, to buy my first bottles.
With a few options ranging from basic bottles with piping tips, to more elaborate accordion-style ones in vivid colors, I decided on the basic set. After getting them home and washing each bottle & component thoroughly, I set about making some sugar cookies. The Heirloom Sugar Cookies were perfect for cutting and baking some uniquely-shaped cookies. Then it was onto making some Perfect Royal Icing, which is such a great recipe created by, Janet; if you haven't tried either of those recipes you really should. She always uses squeeze bottles for icing her cookies so I partly blame her for my curiosity with these bottles.
I did have a conversation with her regarding the bottles after encountering a problem with them. What's that problem you ask? The plastic coupler that comes with each bottle. It is of such poor quality that the entire thing broke as soon as I threaded it around the piping tip and adapter. This happened to every single squeeze bottle! Luckily, I do have a Royal Icing Kit of sorts that I've made on my own which has several high-quality adapters.
These are the ones I ended up replacing the damaged ones with.
There were several things I did notice that were of value to a cookie decorator once I began to ice some cookies. Let me show you a few of them, because if you've never used squeeze bottles to pipe royal icing, but have been wanting to, it's good to know the whys & hows.
Here are the components to the squeeze bottles; the metal piping tips do not come with the sets. Each bottle comes with a plastic adapter, coupler and piping tip (the plastic ones). They also come with handy screw tops to cover up any remaining icing when you're done. This is very handy because if you need to hold your royal icing overnight to continue the next day, you can simply remove the piping tips & adapters (wash & dry them), and cap off the bottle.
I don't like to hold any royal icing overnight inside a piping bag with the tip attached.
The small bottles are pretty basic. They're squeezable and fit nicely in your hand. It's almost like holding a pen or pencil.
Once you place the piping tip and screw it down onto the adapter, you're ready to start piping.
At the time of this posting, I was out of disposable piping bags so I reached for some handy sandwich bags with zip tops. In the past I have successfully stored royal icing this way because it forms an airtight seal which prevents the icing from drying out. Moreover, sandwich bags are very inexpensive and work just as well, plus they have the added benefit of having a large opening which can be cuffed down; filling them with royal icing is easy and mess free. They also have the benefit of being pliable. If you notice any food coloring that didn't mix correctly or completely into the icing, massage it in the bag until it comes together. Simple!
When you're ready to fill the bottles, squeeze out the icing from the tip of your bag to expose it. With some scissors, snip it off.
Squeeze the icing into the bottle and seal it with your piping adapter. What could be easier?
Depending on what piping tip you use, lines, dots, squiggles or any number of shapes can easily be piped with a light squeeze from the bottle. It really does work.
Flood your work if that's what you're doing and continue piping. The most common tips for royal icing are Ateco #2, #3 and #4. I sometimes do use a #5 tip if I'm going to flood a large area with icing.
When you're done icing, remove the tips and wash them in hot soapy water. Dry them well and dry out the piping tips so that they don't rust. The bottles can be capped off tightly if there is any remaining icing you feel like using the next day. If you're done with your decorating project, wash the bottles thoroughly in hot soapy water and dry well.
Keep in mind that I am NOT replacing my use of piping bags for royal icing decorations because I like how they work. The bottles are convenient, it's true, but the bags are so simple to use and I'm so used to working with piping bags. I see these squeeze bottles as an extension to my cookie decorating which will help me when creating wonderful cookies. There is no reason why we can't adapt and add to our cookie decorating repertoire. I'm actually glad I have a few of these bottles in my pantry now because I think I'm going to be reaching for them quite frequently.
Have fun creating beautiful cookies!