Saturday, February 11, 2012

valentine's day sugar cookies - decorating tips & #5 of 7 days of sweets

It's the weekend before Valentine's Day so you have plenty of time to make your special someone something sweet. I know decorating sugar cookies may not be the easiest thing to make, but practice makes perfect and even I need to practice.

I make sugar cookies quite often, but today I thought I'd share my steps for decorating them.....

After all of my cookies have cooled completely, I place them on clean parchment lined baking sheets. 

Once I have filled my pastry bag with royal icing, I place it in a pint glass with a damp paper towel at the bottom of the glass. This helps the icing tip from drying out. I also fold over my filled pastry bag and clip it with a binder clip. That way nothing oozes out. 

Next, carefully outline all of your cookies. This outline is very important because you don't want your royal icing going everywhere. Let this dry for at least an hour.

I like to stack my baking sheets of cookies while the icing dries because frankly my kitchen isn't THAT big. Obviously don't stack the pans right on top of each other. Alternate long and short sides.

While the outline dries, I gather the rest of the things I need - tinted icing, toothpicks, and a damp paper towel. The icing used to fill-in the cookies needs to be thinned down with water. Too stiff and it will not dry smoothly. 

I keep my royal icing covered with a damp paper towel. Otherwise it will form a skin and dry out. If you're afraid of just "spooning" in the icing, you might want to consider using a piping bag to fill your cookies.

The toothpicks are used to "drag" the icing towards the outline. Super important that the outline is completely dry or else you'll end up with a mess. Wiping off the toothpick on the damp towel helps. If not, the icing builds up, gets crusty, and if you keep using it you'll end up with dried icing bits in and on your cookies. 

Using your original piping bag filled with icing, you can create your designs. I like to stick with easy designs like dots, stripes/plaid, marble/swirl and hearts.

To make a "heart" pattern, while the icing is still wet drop in a few dots. With the tip of your toothpick, start at the top of the dot and gently drag it downwards through the icing. If this doesn't work on your first try, no worries. Just take your toothpick and drag it through all of the dots. This will create a marble/swirl pattern.

If this doesn't scream Valentine's Day, I don't know what does.....

 Hugs and kisses??? Yes, please!!!

OK, if decorating cookies isn't your deal, you can head down to Park Delicatessen in Brooklyn where they are selling my cookies along with the cutest flower arrangements and gifts for Vday!!!

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