Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Icing Prep. . . .Works For Me Wednesday

My fear (one of them) when making cookies is that I'll forget to make icing in a color I need. I'll be halfway into decorating, only to realize...PINK, I NEEDED PINK!

To prevent that...here's the system that works for me...


First, I make a list of the cookies I'm making and what colors I'll need for each. Each color is marked "O" for outline or "F" for fill. (This night I was making 24 mustaches, 8 spiderwebs and 22 coffins.)


{If it's a new design, I'll sketch out the cookie first, labeling each area with a color. Like this.}



Now, I simply cut the list and place each strip in a bowl. (Big bowls for large amounts of icing, smaller for smaller...I guess that kinda goes without saying.) :)


Next, I make my royal icing. There...perfect.



I divide it first, covering each bowl with plastic wrap, pressing down into the icing to prevent drying and cracking. (Here, I knew I needed lots of black for outlining and filling. I divided all the icing for the other colors into bowls, then mixed the black into the remaining icing. This I put in two separate containers because I knew I needed a lot. Since I tinted it all in the big bowl, it was all the same shade. Does that make sense?)


Finally, the tinting is finished (I use AmeriColor Food Coloring which is available in bakery supply stores, online and brick & mortar, and also in my Amazon shop.)

From here, the icing is ready to use or refrigerate for later.

AND, I haven't forgotten a color! Yay!

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31 comments:

  1. Wow! You're SO organized, which is a good thing. No wonder it takes me hours to get my act together for decorating cookies. Oh, the wonders of proper planning!

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  2. You are much more organized then I am when doing cookies. I am impressed. I wing it. I need to try this.

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  3. Inspiring organizational skills! I'm definitely going to try this method.

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  4. Hi there! Thanks for your tutorials. They are very helpful. I have a few questions for you, I hope you don't mind. How can I make just enough icing without wasting any. How do I know how much icing I need for each color? What number tip is most suitable for outlining? I also noticed that you planned how many cookies you would be making beforehand. But how do you know that it will come out to that number? Thanks so much!

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  5. I'm really loving your step by steps. It's so great to see how other bloggers keep organized in the kitchen. Lord knows no one would want to see me. I'm usually the person who "knows" she has something in her fridge until she goes to grab it and it's not there. I then usually send the other half out to get what I need.

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  6. Thanks for the tip Bridget....it is really usefull. But there is one thing that really bugs me, how can one calculate the amount of icing required to decorate say 40 , big cookies (3,5 in)... I never seem to get it right. Sometimes I have to squeeze the bottle up to the last drop of icing, and sometimes I hace icing to decorate millions of cookies!!!! I suppose it just takes practise, but a hint would help.

    Thanks

    B

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  7. Upsss... I am sorry, I just saw that Corynn asked the same question :-((((

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  8. Corynn & Bea...it is tricky and I mess it up sometimes, too. I always try to err on the side of TOO MUCH. I think 1 batch (using 1 lb of sugar) covers about 3 dozen, 2 color (3.5 in.) cookies. Of course, it also depends on how detailed your cookies are going to be and how many colors you are using. For this batch of cookies, I made a double batch of icing.

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  9. Corynn...I made my cookies first this time so that's how I knew the exact amount. If I make my icing first, I have a general idea of how many cookies I'm making and may be off by a few.

    For outlining, I use a plain #2 tip the most. #3 is good, too for a thicker line. I use a #1 for detailing and writing.

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  10. GREAT tip!! sounds SO like something I would do LOL! I've only done cookies with 2 colors (other than my easter ones and those didn't matter what colors were used where)
    I'm always afraid I'm not going to have enough of a color for what I need - but some how it always works out!

    You've given me confidence to try several colors!

    Thanks Bridget!

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  11. wow great tips cousin ;) You ARE VERY ORGANIZED!! I love the spider web tutorial also~

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  12. Great tips! Now I just need to buy more icing bags...I only have 2! :-P

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  13. Great tips!! I go through a similar process before decorating cookies. It makes the whole process much more enjoyable and less stressful. There's nothing more aggravating than being halfway through your cookies and realizing you forgot a color. :)

    One question; how long can you refrigerate the icing before using? We've never had much luck with mixing and storing for later; the icing tends to separate. Any tips are MUCH appreciated!

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  14. So, you know I am new to making decorated sugar cookies. EEEK!!! After reading your blog I realized I am using the wrong attachment. I have been using my flat beater that I mix the dough with also to make royal icing. I have not been using my whip!!! I am actually making RI tonight for pumpkin cookies so I am going to use my whip!!! I am so glad I read this blog! I feel silly!!! Thank you for the "how to" they really help beginners like me!!!

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  15. OH, I thought of something! I was reading your Royal Icing recipe and you said beat on "low" while sifting in powdered sugar. Is that the "stir" on your kitchen aid or 1 or 1??!?! Also, after all is combined you said beat on "high" what # do you use. I think mine goes all the way up to 10.... It would be much simpler if it said low/medium/high instead of stir -10... LOL - I think I make things harder than they should be!

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  16. Love the way you prepare your stuff. Super organized and minimizes the mess.

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  17. Thanks so much, I really appreciate it!

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  18. My question...how long will the frosting last for???

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  19. Christy...I usually only do it a day ahead. It looses a little stiffness, but works fine.

    Jennifer...I have seen some people recommend the paddle attachment, but I've always used the whisk. For the speed...I start on the first "click." For high, I never really look. I probably start about 7 or so and then crank it up to 10. :)

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  20. Danielle...I really only ever refrigerate it for a day or two if I make it ahead. I've been told a week, but I've never tried it.

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  21. That's good to know! Thank you!

    I am making a couple dozen cookies for my sis in laws baby shower as favors, so didn't know how far in advance I could make the frosting!!!

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  22. Thanks Bridget! I also did not know you can put Royal Icing in the fridge, good to know! I also like that you can bake your cookies ahead of time and freeze them!

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  23. You are so awesome. What a great tip! Thanks. My biggest problem is the time it takes to do multiple colors, since each "layer" has to dry first. It seems like it would take me DAYS to do the detailed cookies you do. I swear by the time I got all the details on, the cookies would be inedible. So I haven't figured that out yet.

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  24. Shondra...each layer doesn't have to be totally dry before moving on the next. Just give it time to firm up a bit. Only if you are adding food coloring pen work or luster dust does it require drying overnight.

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  25. Wow, I am absolutely storing these tips away! Thank you. You make it all look so easy. ;)

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  26. Thanks Bridget!
    You're such a great help!

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  27. Question about piping the fence. Do you use a tip or you just cut the bag ? and what diameter should the hole be. Thanks for all the awesome tips !! I hope to make some good looking cookies for Christmas

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  28. In your Royal Icing 102 blog you specify to use the "paddle" attachment, but in these photos you show you are using the whisk. Which one is better? I've tried both and I'm not sure....HELP!

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  29. In your Royal Icing 102 blog you specify to use the "paddle" attachment, but in these photos you show you are using the whisk. Which one is better? I've tried both and I'm not sure....HELP!

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