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 so start slow and figure out what feels right! If you find it too thick to pipe, just toss it back in the bowl and mix back in a tiny bit of water to get it more manageable. For fonts, think toothpaste consistency. Florals - a 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. You can also use tipless bags. Total preference!
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 on of my now favourite decorating tools, 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 fonts to project from my phone through to 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. I also recommend mixing your icing on high just a little longer to incorporate more air - this makes the icing easier to pipe with it being so thick.
Some decorators prefer to use buttercream instead for their florals and it definitely a great alternative depending on your own preference. I have two recipes available on my Cupcake Decorating blog post.
You want the right piping tips depending on the look you are trying to achieve. 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!
And yes, you can go tipless for some florals! You can cut a petal and leaf tip into your tipless bags as shown in the image below.
There ARE alternatives if you don’t love piping florals as many just aren’t confident to do onto the actual cookie sometimes. Here are two other methods:
1. Make royal icing transfer flowers, using a flower nail and small piece of parchment paper. Simply “glue” the parchment paper with a little icing to the nail and pipe the flower onto the paper. Remove and lay flat to dry for 8-12 hours. You should be able remove from the parchment with ease and no sticking when they are full dry. You can then glue with icing to the cookie when ready. These transfers can be stored for months in a container no problem and are great to just have on hand!
2. Use a silicone mould and fondant to create flower moulds. You can get a variety of moulds from various baking suppliers and even just use store bought fondant. Place the fondant in the mould and scrape away ang excess. Once dry, pop it out and you are ready to glue to your cookie just like a transfer. You can also store these for months in a sealed container.
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!