When I started decorating cookies, the single most frustrating thing for me (and I knew I was not alone) was royal icing consistency. I was known as The Bald Baker because Royal Icing Consistency made me pull my hair out every time I made it. When I grew my hair back I changed my name to The Bearfoot Baker. I looked and looked for videos and tutorials but there were not any so I began to play. I made batch after batch until I got it right. Here is “my” way of doing it. I want this to be a starting point for you because what works for me, may not work for you.
I grew up watching TV shows like “The Beverly Hillbillies.” I am kinda like them as far as keeping things simple. So, I will start with what I call my “Fancy Icing.” You know, like how the Clampetts called the dining room table ”The Fancy Eaten Table!” I don’t know the proper name of this icing and I don’t want to. It is thick and makes my cookies beautiful or “Fancy”. Good enough for me!
Royal Icing Consistency:
This icing is straight from the mixer. I didn’t thin it down. As a matter of fact, I used this recipe and removed 1 1/2 TBLS of water so it would be thicker.
When you squeeze this icing onto a cookie it should hold it’s shape. This consistency is used for flowers, ribbon roses, shell borders and other techniques to fancy up your cookies. Remember my penguins? I used this icing for their hats. I will show you more things you can do with this icing soon.
How do you know the difference between your icing? Well, it is easy. You cut it with a knife and see how long it takes for the cut to disappear. The number of seconds it takes to disappear will tell you what consistency it is. I will show you.
Just so you know, I NEVER use a stopwatch to time my icing! I just count but people count at different speeds so this is my way of showing you the difference. A picture is worth a thousand words right?
I was a little surprised to see my outline icing was 30 second icing. I do like it a little thick but that seemed a little long. So, I put it in a bag and it was just the way I liked it. When I used it for piping, it came out of the bag very easy but held its shape.
This is my flood icing. The line disappeared after 5.9 seconds. So lets call it 6 Second Flood. I like it like this because I can flood a lot of cookies really fast and it makes the surface of the cookies smooth and ready for the detail work.
Fifteen Second Icing:
Why do we need Fifteen Second Icing? I am glad you asked. Let me show you.
When Outline and Flood Get Together:
In these pictures you will notice 2 bags. One is for outlining and one for flooding. I use outline and flood most of the time when I decorate. I love outline icing for detail work because I feel like it gives me the control I need. It is like a well behaved dog. It knows how to sit and stay! I put it where I want it and will stay all day.
“Remember Tom Cruise in “Top Gun?” Well, that is how flood icing makes me feel. To quote Maverick, “I feel the need…the need for speed!” I can flat out make some cookies with this icing! I squeeze and it just knows what to do. It fills every hole and dries with no bumps or craters. Love this icing! When you put them together they look good and dry with an edge, kinda like Maverick and Goose.
The downfall to using outline and flood icings is, I have to mix two consistencies of icing, use 2 bags or bottles, use 2 couplers, use 2 tips and have double clean up! Yes, I will spend more time preparing the icing and more time during clean up. Not really fun but sometimes you need to do it.
Fifteen Second Icing:
Fifteen Second Icing is wonderful. You only need one bag to outline and flood. One bag, one coupler, one tip so it will cut your prep and clean up time in half. And when it dries, it is smooth and has a nice round edge with no outline. This icing consistency reminds me of being a mom in Nike’s! Yes you heard me, a mom in Nike’s. It gets the job done without wasting time! Just do it!
Well, there you have it. I use 4 consistencies of Royal Icing. I hope you start playing and experimenting until you find what works for you. Don’t give up because you will get it! I promise!!!
Everyone needs to find what works best for them but it is good to have a few people show you how they do it. So head over to these blogs and see how these amazing ladies like their icing. I wish there were around when I started decorating.
Here is the way my friend LilaLoa likes her icing.
Here is the way my friend SweetSugarBelle likes her icing.
Here is the way my friend Sweetopia likes her icing.