The holidays and birthdays have finally settled down, and I’m ready to get back on the blogging track. This first post back isn’t a recipe, but more to share my experience with royal icing cookies. If you don’t know what those are, they are the cookies that look really pretty in the store but don’t always taste good. I started reading more and more about them to see if I could make some that were cute and tasted good, or at least not like bricks. I also had a cat cookie cutter begging to be used:
I based the royal icing recipe off of Bake at 350’s recipe, and read all of her tips and tricks. They were immensely helpful, so I recommend reading those as well if this is your first time doing royal icing.
At first I wanted to make cat cookies that looked like the cats of all my friends. After realizing that would take way too many colors and effort, I scaled it back to two cats and one fun polka dot cat.
Overall, they were easier than expected and came out better than I expected. However, I have lots to improve upon. Here are the various things I learned:
1. The cookie base and icing are very important. I used this recipe for the cookies, which was highly rated. I increased the amount of sugar, per the numerous reviews, and this made a big difference. I also added in clear vanilla flavoring to the royal icing (link above), which you can get at most craft stores. I got mine at Jo Ann Fabrics. This really helped the icing taste more flavorful.
2. Make sure you have plenty of time and are super organized. I drew pictures of what I wanted before so I knew how much of each color I would need, and how to divide it out. I still made too much icing, but, live and learn! You also need a lot of time because the icing needs to fully dry before you can put them in a container or handle them.
3. The icing that I made for these cookies was juuust a little too stiff. This made the outline dry out a little faster and start to “flake” off the cookies before I could put in the flooding. I was able to fix this on some of them by thinning out the icing a little bit by adding 1/2 teaspoon amount of water to the icing, then applying the outline. I also learned that it’s best to outline around 5-6 cookies, then flood, then move on.
4. I read online that the cookies stay for a while since the icing acts as a kind of seal. I was really surprised to find that this was true. You could easily make them 3-4 days ahead of time, let them dry overnight, then place in a tupperware. The one thing you absolutely can’t do is put them in the fridge.
5. For the “flood” icing, you probably want it thinner than you think it should be. I was nervous about making it too thin and having it spill over the cookies, but you can go too far the other way and it’s hard to spread. Below was not quite thin enough, and resulted in a more “lumpy” look. You can also see that I didn’t get the flooding right up to the edges for some of them. Having the icing thinner definitely helps with that, as does making extra icing so you’re not worried that you’ll run out.
6. Experimenting with the cookies is really fun! I learned a lot by just jumping in, and I’ve made various types since then. I’m also planning on trying out a chalkboard technique in the next few weeks, so I promise to report back.
You didn’t think I’d forget about cat facts, did you? Well, did you know that a cat’s nose pad is ridged with a unique pattern, just like the fingerprint of a human? Crazy. It makes me picture a cat jail where they have to take nose prints instead of fingerprints. I’m sure that’s in a Disney movie somewhere.