Decorating cookies is a cherished holiday tradition for many. Whether you’re frosting for family fun or making them to share with others, sugar cookie decorating is a delicious canvas to create with. You don’t have to be a professional baker or decorator to create charming cookies. If you’re wondering how to decorate cookies with royal icing, you’re in luck. All it takes is a little bit of practice and a few tips from the cookie specialists at Frost Artisan Bakery.
Cookie Decorating Tips
1. Get Basic Tools
If you’ve ever seen perfectly decorated cookies, you probably think it takes a bunch of different expensive tools to create them. However, the opposite is true. There are four tools you’ll want to have for decorating, and some of them only cost a couple of dollars.
Instead of piping bags and metal tips, an old-school plastic bag with a zip-locked top is one of the easiest ways to flood or pipe icing on cookies. All you need to do is put your royal icing into bags and snip one of the bottom corners.
If you’re decorating cookies, you probably aren’t just decorating the standard circle (although you totally can make those look cool too). Grab whatever themed cookie cutters you want so you can shape your dough before baking.
Gel Food Coloring
While you can use liquid food coloring, gel food coloring is better for decorating. It’s more concentrated, so you only need a little bit of gel to get the color you want.
One of the secrets to perfecting royal icing decorations is smoothing out bumps or filling in holes with a toothpick.
2. Know Your Icings
Decorating sugar cookies with royal icing is really trendy right now. The end result is sleek, glossy, and beautiful. You can get a lot of details in your cookies using royal icing in two different consistencies.
Piping Royal Icing
This is thicker, more stable royal icing. Use this for outlining your designs, piping fine lines, or topping off your creations with details.
Flooding Royal Icing
Ever wondered how to flood a cookie? This is the icing you need to fill in empty spaces and sections on cookies. It’s much thinner than piping royal icing and comes out very flat and glossy.
3. Practice Your Piping
Decorating sugar cookies with royal icing does take a little practice. But once you have a handle on the basics, you’ll be ready to make your own yummy pieces of art.
Step 1: Outlining
Use piping royal icing to outline the edges of your cookies. This will help your flooding royal icing stay on your cookie without running off later on. When piping straight lines, hold your piping back roughly an inch above the cookie. For curves or angles, dip the tip of the bag down close to the surface of the cookie. Once the turn is complete, bring the tip of the bag back up to the normal one-inch position.
Step 2: Flooding
To flood a cookie, hold the tip of your bag filled with flood royal icing close to the surface of the cookie. Fill in the borders of your outline quickly; the icing dries fast. Use a toothpick while the icing is wet to smooth out unevenness, air bubbles, or other imperfections.
Step 3: Add the Details
Once your flood royal icing has dried, use your piping royal icing to add details and additional lines on top.
Wet on Wet Technique
If you want to have a marbling effect or have your colors blend together smoothly, flood your cookie and then use another color to flood small dots, lines, and other shapes onto your cookie. Use a toothpick to pull the icing into your desired effect.
4. Have Fun
Decorating cookies should be fun! Experiment with different designs, colors, and techniques. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Don’t stress about your results; even the best bakers make mistakes.
Start with Cookie Kits From Frost
Want to try your hand at decorating? Frost Artisan Bakery makes cookie decorating kits for the holidays, including Christmas and Halloween. Whether you want to try some cookies at the shop, talk cookie decorating ideas, or place a custom cookie order, we can’t wait to hear from you. Get in touch with us today to talk dessert!