Wednesday, 20 April 2011

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again...

As promised, my attempt to create pretty cookies. There's something very professional about Royal Icing & piping and that has always put me off. But now I am going to embrace it & see where it takes me :)

Icing in so many pretty colours

So I've got my cookies or biscuits which by now have cooled down. I made the Royal Icing about a week ago, covered it and left it in the fridge. When I took it out today, there was a thin film on the top & I debated as to whether to remove it before colouring the icing but figured as it was a test run it's the best time to try the lazy options to see whether it has any impact on the overall quality.

Get my equipment

Separate the icing into bowls for the different colours.

I dug out as many colours as I could find, then realised that I had other things to do so decided on about 8 colours (how many colours do I have???). I use the Sugarpaste colours as I find the food colouring you get in the shops to be pretty rubbish. Actually, they are OK for colours like yellow & pink but for anything else it's not great. 
This is an amazing colour - Eucalyptus
You just need a little

Give it a whirl

Et voila!
 I repeated this process for all of the colours that I used. I must say when you want to get dark colours like red & black it can take ages. With red you end up with various shades of pink, and in fact I would go as far to say that it's not worth buying pink colouring at all as you go through all the shades when you use red colouring. With the black you end up with grey so you really have to persevere. I don't always have the patience & I'm usually trying to squeeze my baking into ridiculous timeframes so wherever I can (like for Sugarpaste or Flower Paste icing) I buy the black or red icing already coloured.

Below is an example of what I mean 

So this is Ruby Red colouring

Pale pink after the first addition of colouring

Add more colour
Another shade of pink

You get my point!

To make the icing I used a standard recipe, I think 900g icing sugar & 4 egg whites. 

Actually, it looks quite red now, I repeated the above steps, plus it darkens over time :)

I am an equipment fiend/addict. In the same way some people are into the latest electronic gadgets or clothes and shoes, I like kitchen equipment and cleaning products. It's really sad I know but what can I say? To assist on my adventure I picked up this cookie decorator set from Gill Wing in Islington, London by Kuhn Rikon. 

As you can see I was trying to be economical with the icing and barely put any in the bottles... Big mistake. It made the icing process a nightmare as it all got trapped inside the grooves so I couldn't get a smooth line. If you want to pipe a small amount of icing, use a small piping bag.

I repeat, fill the tubes with icing... those lines are not happening!

I used piping bags for the flooding icing and the squeezy tubes for the line icing. Ideally it should have been the other way around.

Another tip is to use smooth fresh icing NOT last week's leftovers!

Not convinced that was meant to happen

Overall that was not bad for a first attempt but I'm no Biscuiteer  (not yet anyway ).

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