We had our first twitter bake along last week and it was so much fun that we’ll be doing it all over again in a week and you’re welcome to join in!
Tuesday 12th Nov – 9pm GMT share your pics on facebook & twitter (#TWGBBO) to enter our Bake Off! There are loads of imaginary prizes up for grabs for the most imaginative entries.
The theme is “loaf cakes” so get creative with your flavours, decorate it beautifully and don’t – whatever you do – get a soggy bottom!
We decided on a Halloween Biscuit theme for last time and so I chose to go with a Mexican Day of the Dead sugar skull cookie for my contribution.
It was a fun idea, but not easy – especially for a novice to icing! I have iced biscuits with ready made tubes of icing before, but I have never made my own and properly piped it. I’ve only ever used a piping bag once before in fact, so this was all a bit trial and error.
With that in mind, I thought rather than sharing the sugar cookie recipe (any will do and there are lots online), I would share the things I learned while trying to ice like a professional, despite being a complete novice:
Tips for Better Icing
– You have two choices when piping – squeeze the bag gently and move slowly or squeeze hard and move fast. I kept falling between these two posts and my line wouldn’t come out smooth. So either be brave or take your time, just don’t get stuck in the middle.
– Royal icing is easy to make by whisking an egg white til foamy, adding 200g icing sugar and then a tablespoon (ish) of water and beating it til it’s thick. This can then be used in your piping bag to make neat lines. I made one batch and used it as the base for three different colours. Also, online it said to use 190g sugar, but I found this too thin and the line then went a bit thick for my liking.
– For detailed icing patterns, the smaller your nozzle the better
– Use smaller amounts of icing in your bag – I found as it warmed up it went a bit blobby, so it was better to put half the amount in and then put the second half in when needed.
– Don’t press the nozzle against the surface – once your line is begun lift the nozzle up and away and let the line fall onto the biscuit.
– It is much easier to ice onto other icing – I only used white fondant on one of my cookies as I was running out of time, but that cookie was the easiest to ice by far as the nozzle was piping onto a lovely smooth surface. In the future I would roll out fondant icing for each cookie, or use the flood technique with royal icing first. Smoother lines, more professional results.
– Be ready for a lot of mess!
– Put your piping bag into a cup and roll it down over the sides in order to fill it – so much easier than trying to hold it.
– Gel/paste food colouring gets much better colour results than liquid and doesn’t dilute the icing.
– Plan your design in advance… winging it can lead to some crazy end results… like these!
– Have fun and don’t be too hard on yourself about the results. Practice makes perfect…I hope!
So, here are the pics of the best of my efforts:
Hope you’ve enjoyed my Dia De Los Muertos creations and my tips on getting better results as a newcomer to royal icing. This is something I’m looking forward to exploring more in the future, so watch this space!