It seems that this spring has been full of brand new babies amongst my friends!  I have been dying to do something as a little gift for the newly expanded families, but my crazy work schedule last month prevented me from getting it done.  I bought this cookie cutter online and knew immediately this was what I wanted to do.  As soon as I had some free time this month though, I got straight to work on these cookies.  I made one batch of my favorite sugar cookies for each family and decorated the cookies with the baby’s name, birth day, and other fun designs.  These cookies turned out just as cute as I had imagined, and were really so much fun to decorate.  I wanted to come up with a different design for each cookie in a set, so I had to get creative!   

I continue to improve on my royal icing skills the more I work with it.  The old adage “Practice makes perfect” really applies in this situation.  The more times I make and decorate with royal icing, the more I realize exactly what consistency is best for piping, flooding, etc.  I also picked up a few more tips along the way this time and thought I would share them in addition to my original guidelines.

  • I cannot stress enough, make sure you thin your icing enough so that it is easy to work with (for both piping and flooding).  If it seems too stiff, it probably is.  As a general rule now whenever I think I have the icing to the right consistency, I add a little bit more water just to be sure.  
  • I think a squeeze bottle is a hugely helpful tool for flooding.  You can find them in any arts and craft store or most kitchen stores.  They are inexpensive and you will be glad you have one.  (Bonus – I have also found many other uses for them since purchasing them for cookie decorating.)
  • I only have one of each round tip I like to use for piping the outlines and details.  Rather than buy lots of extra tips or wasting pastry bags, I use the same icing bags for piping the outline as I do for the detailing later.  Simply remove the outer piece of the coupler and the icing tip itself, and cover the remaining base with a small piece of plastic wrap.  Then when you are ready to pipe on the detailing, just add whatever tip you desire for decorating and replace the coupler. 
  • If you make large/wide designs of the piped icing in the detailing (for example, the hearts or butterfly in the first picture), it is usually not very pretty initially.  I found that using a small (clean!) paintbrush dipped lightly in water was able to smooth these designs out for a much more finished look.
  • One great thing about royal icing is that mistakes are easily fixable.  When piping on designs, if your hand slips or you just aren’t happy with the way your design turned out, lightly wipe off the area with the edge of a paper towel or a Q-tip.  It comes right off and you can try again!

I brought over much more than just sugar cookies to some of the new parents.  Stay tuned and soon I will be sharing my ideas on easy and delicious meals for families with new babies!