Last night I took a royal icing class at my local baking supply store, Pila’s Kitchen. I was so excited to learn some new tips and have hands on experience. Unfortunately, I came away a little bored and underwhelmed.
We were given premade cookies that were hard as a rock and not tasty at all. I would never suggest using their recipes. Also, the base royal icing was never beat to stiff peaks, so it started out runny. Since my biggest issue so far is icing consistency, this was disappointing. I really wanted to see in person the correct look of the different levels of icings: piping, flood, and 20 second. Lastly, the tools we were set up with to use were beginner level. Our (overly watered down) flood icing was placed in piping bags instead of bottles, which is a mess and all the piping bags had number 4 tips. Number 4!! I have never used anything larger than a number 2 or 3 and those are still way too big for the pretty detailing I want to learn to do.
In any case, I played along… and tried not to correct the teacher as much as possible. We all worked together to try different “technics,” but without the proper tools they really didn’t turn out well. After the first couple cookies, we were told to finish the others using what was left. I got bored at that point and just finished so I could leave. Don’t judge the cookies to hard.
The biggest take away was… I’m pretty good! Given a little more practice, I think I will be on par with the experts. Yippy! Maybe I can teach classes in the future.
This week will be very exciting as I start making cookies for the baby shower I am throwing. Stay tuned.Read More
My very first “official” cookies! I am really excited how they turned out. I am getting great reviews from my office on the taste and texture.
I used Sugarbelle’s recipe for both the cookie and the royal icing. I also took some notes from her on how to decorate and color. These are pretty easy. My only issue would be that I noticed a day after the cookies were bagged, the darker pumpkins ended up getting blotchy. From what I can read on the blogs, it looks like I need to do a few things.
- Run a fan or heater on the cookies while they are drying. This will speed up the drying time and also make the cookies turn more shinny.
- Let the colors develop for at least an hour before applying. I am not very patient so sitting and waiting is not really a great idea for me, but a blotchy cookie is even worse. Something to remember is that as royal icing sits it develops the color into deeper shades, so when choosing colors keep that in mind or your brown will turn black.
- Change the meringue powder brand. I bought Americolors, but all roads lead me to believe that in the future I should use CK brand meringue powder or Henry and Henry brand (same brand, just different packaging).
One last bit of news. California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a Cottage Food Law named AB1616 on September 21, 2012. In essence, there is now a way to bake and sell my cookies legally from my home kitchen. There are still a few requirements, but nothing like having to work out of a commercial kitchen. It just adds to the fire in my belly to get better and better at this. You can read about the new law here.
What do you think about my cookies? Wouldn’t they make a great addition on your Thanksgiving table?Read More
So just like I promised, this last weekend I started my piping practice. My girlfriend at the office came up with a great idea for me. Buy a couple coloring books and try to color within the lines. What a great idea.
I have to say, I was really worried after my first try at decorating. I thought I just wouldn’t be able to do this. Making straight lines with icing just doesn’t come that easily. So, I looked up YouTube videos for piping tutorials and studied their techniques. There are a lot of videos available and I found some real inspirations. Check out these fun videos. The first is from www.sweetopia.net and is the most helpful tutorial I found on the entire process of outlining and filling cookies with Royal Icing. The Second is from www.sweetambs.com. She is such an artist! Wow.
Oh, check it out! Remember how I said that Royal Icing could last up to a month if stored properly? Look at this… it’s over two weeks old and still as good as can be.
Anyhow, I stapled parchment paper on my coloring book sheets, made my icing (a little too thin) and got to piping.
The biggest learning points were:
- You have to pipe backwards. What I mean is, color in anything that would be further away first, and then color in whatever is in the front last. For example, on a flower, you would do the stem, then the leaves, then the petals and then the center of the flower.
- Icing consistency is key. I need to go slower with adding the water because it ended up spreading out on the cookie and I couldn’t keep good details.
- Do not move half wet iced sheets around. You will end up with ugly cracks all over the place.
So, what do you think? I’m very excited that it turned out as good as it did!Read More
Today I am enjoying a glass of wine. Why you ask? Well in celebration that TheCookieMaster.com is back up and running. The last 4 days have been spent going back and forth with HostGator. I am still not a hundred percent sure why my website was taken down by them multiple times, but it was. All in all, I think I will still to practicing my cookie skills and leave technology advice to the experts.
If you read this two years from now… DO NOT do what I did. I failed. I had to live chat with a techy to get it fixed.
I was able to get a Facebook page and my business cards ordered. Excited to “friend” all the cookie people!
Follow me at www.facebook.com/thecookiemasterblog
Here are my new business cards. And, I had matching stickers made for the back of the cookie bags, to be used as advertisement.Read More