In my last blog I talked about my preparations for decorating Easter cookies. Then came the fun part; decorating them.
I made two batches of icing leaving one batch white and coloring the other batch in the six pastels I would need. The thing I was not sure of was if I’d made enough icing of each color. I usually over-compensate and make too much.. I’m sure if I decorated these cookies more than a few times a year I wouldn’t need to shoot from the hip as much…but I’ll get there.
I use Royal Icing based on a recipe I found on foodnetwork.com; Alton Brown royal icing. I don’t think royal icing is as tasty as buttercream but this recipe is okay and it is very simple to make. There are only three ingredients egg whites, vanilla, and confectionary sugar. This is the first time I used pasteurized egg whites from a carton instead of fresh eggs. Each time I toss the yolks after pulling the egg whites, it feels rather wasteful. The cost of the pasteurized egg whites in the carton are about the same price as two dozen eggs.
For each color used on the cookies, two icing consistencies are needed. The one used for outlining the cookies should be the consistency of toothpaste and the one used for filling or flooding the cookies should be about the consistency of shampoo.
For the flooding process, I purchased an 8-pack of plastic squeeze bottles from Walmart. These are the kind used for ketchup and mustard. They are perfect for the flooding portion of decorating as the icing is of a watery consistency. Putting this consistency in a decorating bag would be very messy and it would flow out too fast. Standing it upside down in a tall glass helps to keep the icing near the top, especially when the bottle is only half-full.
Since three of my designs had a white base, I did that color first. I should note that for the white icing I use clear vanilla as the regular vanilla can give the frosting a slightly off-white tint. I think I did okay with the flooding of the icing, not too many wavy parts. A good trick is to use a small paintbrush to help spread the frosting to the edges. But you need to take care to not wait too long as the frosting dries quickly and also, use a light touch and not spread it too thin,
After the whites were done, I did each of the other six colors. I could have kept the colors down to three or four and this may have expedited the decorating process but, well, it is Easter and all these colors seemed to fit the theme.
I did run out of icing near the end. As it was getting late I made an executive decision; the chick’s and the rabbit’s eyes were purple, not black which was my original plan. I think they look fine, though.
Below are the finished products. There are approximately four dozen finished Easter cookies.
I think I did pretty good in keeping with my sketched designs and feel that definitely this was a huge help.
You may have noticed that there are no churches or dog bones in my final product. The church was probably the most complicated design and so was saved to the end. As time and icing ran out, the church was sacrificed. My husband didn’t mind, though, he enjoyed them without the additional decorations. The dog bones are in the freezer and will be decorated another day.
Three things I will go forward with in my next sugar cookie decorating adventure will be splitting up the baking and decorating, pre-planning my designs and, most definitely, using the saran wrap method for filling the icing bags.
I just got through putting each cookie into its own little cookie bag. This serves two purposes; it prevents them being handled when people are choosing what they want and allows my guests to take some home without them becoming mussed up. These bags and ties I bought at Michael’s. They are not expensive and are well worth the cost and additional effort.
Thanks for joining me in my Easter cookie decorating adventure. I’m not a professional for sure and my cookies will never win an award but I have fun with it and folks seem to appreciate it…and they taste pretty darn good!