Never would I have imagined that something as simple as decorating a cookie could come with so many challenges. Not many start off with decorating by reading everything that can go wrong and find out later on, icing all over their kitchen, not able to figure out why their red icing is still pink and wondering why they ever thought this was something they should try... but if you are a little crazy like me, you keep going and make it your mission to figure out this whole world of royal icing - the 8th wonder of the world.
My first experience with edible images came when I received a request for ‘LOL doll’ Paint Your Own cookies. Now being a mom of two boys, I was like “LOL what??”... I mean if it doesn’t have to do with ninja turtles or hockey I just don’t know. And once I googled what they were, the panic set in with how on earth I could cookie-fy these freaky little things...
Nothing quite adds that pop to a cookie than some airbrushing! At first you’ll go back and forth on if you REALLY need an airbrush system, you’ll walk by the one at your local craft store thinking, “Nope not today, but soon. Soon I’ll do it!”... Then, one day after you’ve scrolled hundreds of airbrushed cookie pictures and watched countless videos, you finally say “SCREW IT, can’t be that hard!”... you go buy it and the box then sits for a few weeks at home, receipt stashed away so your husband doesn’t find it until you finally cave and decide it’s go time. You go open up the box. Look at it for a bit. And put it away for a few more weeks.
No? Just me? Well, regardless of how you decided to take the plunge into the world of airbrushed cookies, I’m here to offer you my first hand tips and advice for making the most out of your airbrushing adventures!
If you are new to cookies, these two words can be intimidating. By popular request, I’m going to share my tips for piping fonts & beautiful florals onto your cookies. The most important factor? Icing consistency! *Que eye roll*... but just like every other part of cookie decorating, it’s all about that darn icing!
One of THE best party and holiday favours or activities is definitely the Paint Your Own cookie kit (PYO for short). If you have the right tools and a side of patience, these cookies are a great addition to your business - or just something fun for your family and friends!
Although I’m known mainly for my cookies, I also dabble in cupcakes from time to time. My youngest son actually much prefers them to the over saturation of cookies in our house... Cookier kid problems! When I originally started my business, I offered cupcakes regularly as well. But as the cookie side exploded, I shifted my focus mainly to them and now do cupcakes mostly just for holidays. And if you’re wondering if I do cakes, the answer is no. Just no. Give me all the royal icing in the world, just don’t ask me to bake you cake!
If you’ve followed my work, you know that I am a huge fan of watercolour... like I might actually have a problem. “What? I’m fully booked and you want watercoloured cookies? Ok!”... it’s happened a few times because I just can’t pass up an opportunity. But when I don’t have to mix a million and one colours and can paint on a beautiful white canvas, I’m sold. Exploit me if you will...
I don’t think any of us said as I child “when I grow up, I’m going to be a cookie decorator”. But here we are! Decorated cookies are exploding right now on the baking scene and there is SO much amazing talent that is being showcased through them. For me personally, I don’t consider myself a baker. It’s just this weird and unexpected niche that I’ve fallen into as a way of expressing my creative side. And the greatest thing of all is this huge cookie tribe across the world who has joined forces on social media outlets to share their work and support each other. This community of bakers and artists is like no other I’ve personally experienced. You rarely see professions like realtors for example, who are liking and commenting on each others work saying “yassss queen, you slayed that home sale!” And yet there’s this group of like minded cookiers following one another on instagram, commending each other and sharing ideas, trials and tribulations in the Facebook chat groups and coming together at different classes and events like the much sought after golden ticketed Cookie Con. We love connecting and sharing the new things we’ve learned with each other. Which brings me to this blog post, and I’ve got some shit to say - because I love you all and it’s time we get real about this business that we’re in. So finish up mixing that bowl of perfect Tiffany blue icing and sending that last email to the client who just added an extra 3 dozen to their order due tomorrow, heat up that coffee or tea and let’s do this.
Now that we have the royal icing out of the way in my last post, it’s time to give you what I know about baking the perfect sugar cookies! But here’s the thing - I don’t share my recipe... Why? Because I am still running a business and although I share a lot, it’s the one thing I choose to keep sacred. So how am I going to teach you about making cookies without a recipe you ask? Well, i’m a firm believer that it’s not just the recipe but HOW you prep and bake your dough - and I will link some popular recipes at the end for you to try out!
So you’ve looked up some royal icing recipes and instructions and your head hurts from all this talk of consistencies, piping, flooding, does and don’ts and you’re thinking “what in the world, it’s just icing so how hard can it really be?” And trust me, I was that person and thought the same too until I sat in front of cookies with icing running off the sides and designs that looked like my 5 year old could have done better. Well friends, royal icing is an animal of it’s own and does take time to master, BUT with some practise, patience and the ability to overcome wanting to throw all of your messed up cookies to the dog, you WILL get it and find what works for you!
Corianne Froese is the owner and operator of Corianne's Custom Cookies in Chestermere AB, Canada. When life as a wife and mom of two young boys allows, she loves to create and share her love of decorated cookies with others. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook for her most up to date work!