Art Journal Every Day: Another One Bites the Dust
Sun-Printed Shamrock "Galaxy" Fabric

St. Patrick's Day Cookies

Some people love to watch dog videos.  Personally, I'm always up for a food video -- especially cookie and cake decorating!  There were two things that intrigued me in some recent videos and I wanted to give them a try: royal icing transfers and tipless piping.  I figured St. Patrick's Day was as good an excuse as any to make some cookies and do some experimenting!  (Although, do you really need an excuse to make cookies?!)

What are royal icing transfers?

Royal Icing is the most commonly used sugar cookie icing.  A royal icing "transfer" is basically where you create a shape out of royal icing and then transfer it to a cookie (or cake or cupcake) later.  They are often piped onto acetate or wax paper.  But piping is labor intensive and takes a long time, so I thought: Why not use a stencil?

I made a shamrock stencil from food-safe plastic

Then I mixed up some thick royal icing and dragged it across the stencil. When I removed the stencil, I had dozens of little shamrocks that needed to dry.  When I tried to remove them from the silpat in the morning, I discovered that I had made them too thin and many of them cracked when I tried to lift them up:

However, I was able to salvage enough of them to decorate my cookies!  And I learned something for the next time: thicker is better.  Now I know!

What is tipless piping?

When you pipe icing onto a cookie, you normally use a metal tip and a coupler:

For each color of icing you need a separate tip and coupler.

For each consistency of icing (i.e. outlining and flooding) you need a separate tip and coupler.

It's a lot of tips to buy and it's a pain to clean them all.

In tipless piping, you use a piping bag without a seam and you simply cut a hole in the end of the bag.  You also use just one consistency of icing for BOTH outlining and flooding. 

I watched a few YouTube videos.  I read a few threads online.  I ordered some seamless bags and filled them with icing that I was guessing was the right consistency.

I read a comment on reddit from someone who suggested using a royal icing consistency where the icing re-integrates after 8-15 seconds.  So that's what I went with!

Let me tell you, I will never go back to the old ways again.  Clean up was easy and the decorating was easy too.  I did have a few issues with icing consistency, but I can work on that.  Check out the finished cookies:

I love the way they turned out!  I also learned sooooo much!

  • Royal Icing consistency: Slightly thicker would have been better.  Maybe leaning towards 15 seconds rather than 8 for re-integration.
  • I need to color mix in smaller containers.  The yogurt containers I used were slightly too deep and my hand ended up covered in icing.
  • For more detailed work, a tip and coupler would be a good idea.  I wasn't able to do super detailed work with the tipless bags.  Although, I could try cutting an even smaller hole at the end?
  • Stenciled royal icing transfers need to be thicker -- especially if they're larger.
  • For royal icing transfers to have a glossy look, they need to be piped, not stenciled.
  • Be generous with the icing in order for the cookie to flood evenly.
  • Work on one cookie at a time.

The best part is that this art is edible!  Yay!  Wait until you see what I did with the cut-outs from the stencil...I'll be sharing that project tomorrow!

Thanks for stopping by!