Updated: Apr 4
Decorating flower sugar cookies with royal icing can be tricky, but they are totally doable when you know a few key tips to help them turn out just right.
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1. Create Flower Decorated Cookies with Thick Consistency Royal Icing
- You want to make sure your icing has stiff peaks so that it will show the detail of the petal tip you're using. If there's any "flow" at all in your icing, those petals are going to run together and you wont get those beautiful distinct petals we all love. It may be a bit more difficult to squeeze from the piping bag, but it is worth it! If you're using my royal icing recipe, you'll want to grab it right out of the mixer without adding any water for perfect consistency.
For an in depth master class in royal icing consistency, check out the Consistency Confidence Free online course! It walks you through exactly how I make my icing and mix it to the right consistency for flowers, flooding, and writing on decorated sugar cookies!
Tools that may be helpful :
2. Make sure your royal icing is super fresh-
This is not the time to make icing in advance! The fresher the icing , the fluffier and more realistic the flowers will be! If its been more than an hour since you made the icing, put it back in the mixer with the paddle attachment, and give it a buzz to revive it for those beautiful blooms. I'm all for saving icing and using it later. You can do this by placing it into the fridge for a couple of days or the freezer for up to a month. Stored icing is perfect for flooding and other cookie tasks. It just isn't optimal for making amazing flowers.
I personally love this kitchen aid mixer bowl lid for keeping icing fresh right inside the mixing bowl to mix back up later.
3. Try a curved petal tip-
a curved petal tip helps create gorgeous lacy petals with relatively little effort. Hold the tip parallel with the cookie, curve facing up, and pipe petals by turning your wrist in an arc, and giving a little back and forth wiggle for an extra beautiful lacy petal. I love this set of extra large petal tips from Amazon! However, for smaller flowers you'll definitely want smaller tips-like these.
4. Work with odd numbers-
I learned this one from my college geology professor who was once a landscape artist. This one really did apply to my future, Dr. Webb! The human eye is drawn to odd numbered groupings. Flowers also tend to have odd numbered petals stamen and leaves in nature, so it makes them look more realistic and natural when you pipe in groups of either 1, 3 or 5. Now, this step is a bit extra, I know, but it really does seem to make a difference to me! It takes a bit of practice to get used to piping the shapes in this way.
5. Use two different tones and shapes for leaves-
I like to do a couple different shades of green for leaves, again this makes it look more natural. I also like to mix different ratios of yellow and black together to make these shades of green. Mixing custom colors rather than using a ready-made food coloring shade is really helpful for achieving a natural and unique look. It's a small step that makes a big difference! Sometimes the ready-made shade of green can give a bit of a candy like vibe and that isn't what we're going for!
While painting with my granny as a child, she would make the most beautiful realistic greens by mixing yellow and black paint with varying ratios of each color to change the brightness/darkness.
I love gel colors by Americolor, you can find a great set of bulk gel colors for icing here.
*Just a quick note, if you're new to cookie decorating, you'll want to be sure to use gel colors rather than the traditional food coloring you might find in the grocery store. Gel is thicker and won't cause your beautiful, thick icing to become thin and unusable for flower cookies.
These tips will certainly put you on your way to making fabulous flower sugar cookies with royal icing, but if you're looking to master this and even more royal icing cookie decorating techniques and become a pro-level cookier, then the Cookie Classroom is for you!
Also, Check out the video below for more on piping flowers!