Monday, March 25, 2013

FOOD: Bunny Butt Cookie Pops (and some tips for working with royal icing)

I got up the courage to work with royal icing again. The first time I tried it was when I recently spent 4 hours baking and frosting sunburst cookies for Haley's 4th birthday party and my frosting muscles ached for 2 days afterwards. Yes, there is such a thing as frosting muscles. If you've ever used royal icing before, you know what I mean.

Decorating with royal icing is kind of like having a baby. The whole process is long and painful and halfway through you're pretty sure you can't do it anymore. But you power through anyway, and then it's finally over and you have this beautiful creation that you're so proud of.

Yep, I just compared royal icing to childbirth.

Ok ok, it's not like childbirth at all, but the end result is really pretty and professional looking if you do it right. However, I wouldn't suggest attempting to frost 60 cookies in one sitting like I did for my daughter's party. Probably not my best idea. This time around, I kept it simple and made about 20 bunny butt cookies with cute little pink tails for my daughter's preschool class.

Wanna make some too?

SUPPLIES: sugar cookie mix and supplies for mix (or homemade recipe, but I wanted to keep it simple), lollipop or cookie pop sticks, royal icing recipe, Wilton gel food coloring, cookie cutter, ribbon, frosting bags (or freezer bags), #2 icing tip, coupler.


ONE: first, make your sugar cookies according to the instructions and cut out with your cookie cutter. Place your cookies on the greased cookie sheet and press your lollipop sticks into the cookies. Press some extra dough on top of the sticks to stabilize your cookies and smooth it down as well as possible.
TWO: bake and cool your cookies according to the instructions on the mix. Eat any cracked ones ;)


ONE: make sure you have a good royal icing recipe. I really love Bridget's at Bake at 350. It has a nice flavor and consistency (and I did add the almond extract to amp up the flavor a little.) The icing you use to outline needs to be very thick! If it's too thick, just use a little water to thin it out.
TWO: if you plan on coloring some of the icing, separate some into a bowl and add a small amount of gel food coloring. As you can see, it really doesn't take much to achieve a bright color.
THREE:  you can use decorating bags for your frosting, but I really like using plastic freezer bags. They're strong, more affordable, and they zip closed so you don't have frosting overflowing out of the top as you decorate. Don't try using sandwich bags, they're too flimsy.
FOUR: just snip one of the corners of the freezer bag, insert the coupler, then screw on the icing tip. Then, fill with frosting and zip closed. No messy frosting coming out of the top of the bag!


ONE: first we'll make the tail. Keep a firm grip on the bag and begin to pipe your frosting on slowly. Try not to touch the icing tip to the cookie or you'll get broken or rough lines.
TWO: allow your outline to dry some, then add water to your frosting until it has the consistency of syrup and flood the inside of your outline.
THREE: repeat steps 1 and 2 for the rest of the bunny. Allow cookies to dry overnight (very important!) These need a lot of dry time to set up or you'll end up with smudged frosting.

To finish, tie some ribbon onto your lollipop or cookie sticks and enjoy!

General Tips: 
  • Make sure you're sitting somewhere you're comfortable being awhile. Frosting with royal icing take time! Choose a nice high table or counter that is well-lit and at a good height to rest your elbows while you decorate. 
  • As much as you might want to power through, take it slow as you begin to pipe on the outline so you can get nice, clean lines. If you go too fast, you'll end up with uneven, broken lines.
  • Use a #1 or #2 tip for frosting. I used a #3 and it doesn't blend as nicely with the flooded icing.
  • Practice, practice! I still need a lot of work, but it's been fun trying something I'm unfamiliar with. I know I'll get better with time (and hopefully I'll be able to cut down the amount of time it takes me to frost the cookies too :)

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