Christmas Cookies 2: Marbled Royal Icing
Drip, drip, drip. Royal icing had squeezed out of the top of the piping bag and was oozing onto the floor. Chai had been sleeping peacefully on the futon but at that point made his way into the kitchen and decided to sample the blue puddle before I could stop him. Thankfully he didn’t seem to like it. There was icing on the table and the counter as well, and some was even smeared on my laptop. And my nose.
I like the idea of baking and icing cut-out cookies, but the actual process always turns out to be more mess than I bargain for. It is probably because I try to cram it all into too little time. Making elaborate cookies after work for work the next day (this time for our Christmas party) isn’t a very good idea. The next time I do something like this I will make the cookies one day and ice them the next, and preferably on a day off!
I haven’t done much with royal icing before, but I was intrigued by the marbled frosting on the gingerbread cookies featured in this month’s Chatelaine. I had just found my candy cane cookie cutter at my parents’ house and brought it with me, and it seemed like the ideal shape for the technique.
And actually, once the cookies and icing are made, the actual decorating is quite simple.
I also made two sizes of stars.
(makes about 4 cups)
2 egg whites*
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar
water to thin
*Because the eggs will be consumed raw, I recommend either using pasteurized egg whites (available in a carton) or placing your eggs in very hot tap water (140 °F) for 3 1/2 minutes, which should kill any bacteria on the shell of the egg, preventing the eggs from being contaminated when you crack them (although technically this method isn’t endorsed by any food safety organization– so follow at your own risk.)
As for the actual marbling technique, I am going to direct you to two videos. There is one by Chatelaine and there is another by Marian of Sweetopia. The Sweetopia link also includes step-by-step photos. Sweetopia also has basic tips on decorating cookies with royal icing (on which I relied heavily the first time I tried it!)
Do you make/like Christmas cut-out cookies?