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!
With both techniques, you need a very thick icing so that when you pipe it, it holds its exact form - too thick though, you’re going to give yourself carpel tunnel. If you find it too thick to pipe, just mix back in a tiny bit of water to it to get it more manageable. For fonts, think toothpaste consistency. Florals - a little bit thicker. There’s nothing worse than watching your lettering or florals spread and melt into each other shortly after piping. Like all icing consistencies, there is no exact science or measurements for creating the perfect type - with some practise though, you’ll find what works for you!
Writing consistency - thick but still has flexibility.
Floral consistency - thick with very little flexibility.
Once you have your icing ready, you will want to ensure you have the proper piping tips for your applications.
For writing, I love the PME #1.5 tip. Just a #1 can be too small, and a #2 is often to big. The 1.5 though... juuuuusssst right!
Writing is all about the pressure you apply while piping and when. For instance with script type fonts, you go slower and apply more pressure when piping downward, and lighter while releasing the pressure when piping up.
This my friends, takes time to get the hang of. I recommend when free-handing that you practise on a piece of paper prior to the actual cookie. I can’t tell you how many cookies I’ve messed up in my time - no complaints from my kids and husband, but frustrating none the least. Which brought me to buying my now favourite decorating tool, the Pico projector. If you do cookies professionally, I highly recommend this investment. Not only is it amazing for writing, but also for character and logo work. I can’t say enough about how it has helped me in my decorating. The projector and cables can be purchased on Amazon and I have all of this info highlighted on my Instagram stories section. You simply plug it into your phone or other electronic device, and it displays the image that's on your screen directly onto your cookie so that you can simply trace it. Cheating? Absolutely, and I love it!
Regardless of whether you freehand or use a pico to trace, I recommend going to www.dafont.com for fonts. They have a huge selection to choose from! This is where I get my font to project from my phone through my pico, but you can also print them off to practise on prior to freehanding.
The Pico projectore in action:
And now for florals!
I have to say, these intimidated me the most when I started decorating and took me awhile to actually try. Let me tell you though, there is nothing to fear! I love any excuse to do them, they always give the wow factor and really are quite easy with the right consistency and piping tips.
Again, your consistency for florals should be as thick as you can get while also being able to easily pipe out of your bag or bottle. If you use my royal icing recipe (see my first blog post), I recommend that you cut the amount of light corn syrup used in half. The corn syrup can weigh down your icing so it doesn’t hold its form as well. You do still want that half amount of corn syrup though, so that your florals don’t dry rock hard and are still soft to the bite.
Next, you want the right piping tips. Common ones are the petal / ruffle, stars and v shaped leaf tip. The video below shows how these tips are used. Again, it’s about the pressure you apply and when. Practise on a piece of paper first to get the hang of it, this will also show you if your consistency is going to hold. Play around with different tips, the Wilton master tip set is a great investment for any decorator that comes with a visual guide to what each tip can do!
Another alternative to doing floral designs with royal icing is buttercream! I have the American style crusting buttercream recipe that I use for florals on my Cupcake decorating blog.
I say it all the time, it’s all about practise, perseverance and a whole lot of patience. I get so many questions about how I got to where I am with decorating and trust me, it doesn't happen overnight! Like anything, it takes some time to get the hang of and much of it is personal preference. Best of luck and remember to tag me in your work, I LOVE seeing creations I have somehow helped with or inspired fellow bakers to do. That's why I am here with this blog, is to help and encourage others like so many have done for me!
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!