Cookie Decorating = Big Mess!!! How Do You Do It??

Baking By sweetcravings Updated 23 Jun 2008 , 11:51pm by gottabakenow

sweetcravings Posted 22 May 2008 , 8:07pm
post #1 of 12

Ok..so i was making decorated cookies today and i have come to a conclusion...it's a messy job! HOw do those of you decorate cookies without messing up every piping bag you have, and every counter space. It was crazy. I made teddy bears, balloons, ice cream cones, flowers and suns. I tried to stay with similar colors on them. Is there an easier way to do it? I had some piping bags with thickened glaze for detailing, thinned glaze for flooding etc.. I actually ended up putting some in ziploc bags with the corner cut out because i ran out of bags to use. Do you all have the colors already mixed up and stored in containers? With different consistencies? HOnestly i spent sooo much time coloring glaze, thinning glaze etc..by the end i just said to myself.."screw the details, if i have to mix another color and find something to put it in.". So tell me, what is your secret? What do you do to make the process faster, easier? I enjoy decorating cookies but i don't want to spend hours preping the glaze and tinting it. HELP!

11 replies
MichelleM77 Posted 22 May 2008 , 8:31pm
post #2 of 12

That's when I started using fondant as my base and only doing RI for details. I also limit my designs to three colors. I think more than that can look too busy. If a customer wants more than that, then they can pay me extra for that. I haven't had anyone ask yet though.

Also, get yourself some kind of rack for your cookies to dry. My dad made me a rack that holds 18x26 bun trays and it has been a godsend. I used to have cookies drying all over the place and it was a nightmare. You can see a picture of the rack in my gallery. I think he said he spent about $30 making it. I didn't have the money or the space for a commercial/restaurant bun rack.

It will get easier, no matter what method you choose to decorate. I promise! icon_smile.gif

bakinccc Posted 23 May 2008 , 1:08am
post #3 of 12

Well, you DO have to tint and thin all your colors to the consistencies you want...that's the yuck icon_cry.gif part, but there are things that make the process more bearable icon_redface.gif . When I first started I'd mix a color and get so excited icon_surprised.gif to put that color on the cookie right away. Then I'd mix the next color and put it on. Well, that's a time waster thumbsdown.gif . Now I look ahead and write down the colors of outline and fill needed and the number of cookies I need each one for thumbs_up.gif . Then I mix them all at once (most of the time). Then when you sit down to decorate, and I recommend finding a stool or chair that's the perfect height for you, you don't have to jump up all the time to mix the next color. I use shallow bowls to put the frosting bags in so the tip and the twisted end are higher than the middle so no frosting leaks out all over the place. If a bag of fill is really full I put a twist tie on it to keep it closed thumbs_up.gif . I keep a clean, wet washcloth by my decorating area to clean off tips and a metal wire cake tester with me to unclog tips thumbs_up.gif . Toothpicks are too big for the smaller tips. I could spread out all over the counters but keep all my frosting tasks within a four foot length of counter. I have it down to a science..at least in my own space I do. icon_lol.gif

I hope that helps a bit. Sorry about all the "emoticons"...they were just too cute to resist!! Good luck!

indydebi Posted 23 May 2008 , 1:42am
post #4 of 12

Do you do all of one color or do you do one cookie at a time? Meaning, if I were making the cookies you listed, I'd do all the suns and get them out of the way; then I'd do all the blue balloons; then all the red balloons, etc. If you set everything up as a mini assembly line, it helps a lot.

And a box of 100 disposable decorating bags is a godsend when you are just doing a little of a bunch of different colors. thumbs_up.gif

shanasweets Posted 23 May 2008 , 1:51am
post #5 of 12

well couple of hints, I started using bottle, that you can add a tip to when I was flooding. But then I found this web site for Karens Cookies. And the last couple times I have been using my off set spatula to apply the flooding, worked great and much faster. Now this won't work for real detail cookies but it is nice. I also found easier to not do to many "different" cookies at once. The bottles work great for thinned consistancy, think I got them from Kitchen Gifts. I can't remember the name well, but they sell coppor cutters to. They also have tutorals on there website. I also bought the how to cards from Karen's Cookies, best thing I have ever bought, hope she will make more soon.

kneadacookie Posted 23 May 2008 , 2:07am
post #6 of 12

bakinccc...i think we were seperated at birth or something. that sounds exactly like what i do. then when all your colors are made up, you can just concentrate on the decorating. i can't wait until i'm big enough to have someone make all my colors and bags for me. i think at this point, i own somewhere around 30 bags and maybe 50 squeeze bottles.
debi, I like the production line. i usually have all the cookies(that will fit) on 1 tray....do all the red, do all the blue, do all the green, etc., etc. then go back and fill all the red, all the blue...... i'm sure it does save time, but also when you start finishing cookies, they all seem to get finished so quickly.

bonniebakes Posted 23 May 2008 , 12:27pm
post #7 of 12

Ditto to what kneadacookie and bakinccc said. I sort of do it like an assembly line, too. If I'm doing all solid colors, I do them one color at a time. I mix all the colors and consistencies I need at one time and let them sit in tupperware until I'm ready to use them.

If I have a really big batch of different designs, I try to do the colors that will go the differnt shaped cookies in a way that lets me use the same colors at the same times, esppecially if I need to layer colors. (When I did the fish cookies, I needed several batches of icing, so I did the fish with the same colors at the same time).

The key, for me, is thinking about what I'm going to do and planning ahead. I also have like 6 jelly roll pans that I suse to store them while they are drying and a rack that holds 4 of the pans at once.

Most importantly, try to keep my husband out of my kitchen for a few days so he doesn't have heart failure... icon_lol.gif

ALVARGA Posted 23 May 2008 , 12:37pm
post #8 of 12

I limit it to 3 colors. Get the book Cookie Craft by Valerie Peterson and Janice Fryer. They have a color chart that suggest 2-3 colors for various cookies. There sugar recipe is the best, it is the only one I use. You have to limit yourself to no more than 3 colors or your kitchen will be a mess. Also I only use the disposable bags for royal icing. Like that I only have the tips to clean. I also bought a set of small galss bowls with lids and like that I can make icing and store it if I don't use it all at once.
The book also has royal icing recipes for a small batch and large batch of cookies. It is really a great book. Hope this helps. icon_biggrin.gif

sweetcravings Posted 23 May 2008 , 1:07pm
post #9 of 12

Thanks so much everyone. You've offerred some helpful tips. I think i know now why i have been swallowing up lots of time doing the cookies...I mix the colors as i need them, not at the beginning. I also thin the icing as i need it. It's always, stop and go with doing my cookies. I think i also need to go invest in some more piping bags and disposible bags. Right now i only have around 4, so i have to constantly be washing the bags out as i need them. I was using sooo many ziploc mini bags as piping bags, its getting expensive. Plus i can never get nice lines when i do it that way because I either snip the end too much or too little.
Thanks again for your help. I won't give up on them yet..i have sooo many cutters.

GeminiRJ Posted 23 May 2008 , 5:14pm
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ALVARGA

Also I only use the disposable bags for royal icing. Like that I only have the tips to clean.icon_biggrin.gif




I received a whole roll of 100 disposable bags as a freebie at a cake show and love then for cookie icing. My only problem is that I can't seem to throw them out when I'm done with that color icing. I clean them and re-use them. Then after a while they blow out and I have icing everywhere! But I'm still too cheap to throw them out after only one decorating session.

chqtpi Posted 21 Jun 2008 , 2:11am
post #11 of 12

oh y'all are going to think I'm nuts icon_smile.gif

When i get a cookie order i pull out my "spreadsheet"....this is a godsend..its a sheet i made up of all the cookies i will be making...what cutter to use (ex..small blue plastic circle or large wedding cake) then the page number in my big idea book that i have. THEN...(lol) i have a column to list all of the colors I need to make and how many of each cookie uses that color..so i know how much to mix (ive had orders taht use as many as 17 colors)..i then mix all of the glaze and royal icing at one time...using disposable bags for the royal and squeeze bottles for the glaze. MY grandfather built me a stand that holds drying racks (simliar to yours Michelle..but a smaller tabletop versionicon_smile.gif) he also built me a stand to hold 24 pastry bags while i am using them..this may seem like a lot of work..but i SWEAR its organized icon_smile.gif after all the mixing and baking..the rest (decorating) is cake..or should i say cookie?! lolicon_smile.gif sorrry...too much sugar...

gottabakenow Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 11:51pm
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by chqtpi

oh y'all are going to think I'm nuts icon_smile.gif

When i get a cookie order i pull out my "spreadsheet"....this is a godsend..its a sheet i made up of all the cookies i will be making...what cutter to use (ex..small blue plastic circle or large wedding cake) then the page number in my big idea book that i have. THEN...(lol) i have a column to list all of the colors I need to make and how many of each cookie uses that color..so i know how much to mix (ive had orders taht use as many as 17 colors)..i then mix all of the glaze and royal icing at one time...using disposable bags for the royal and squeeze bottles for the glaze. MY grandfather built me a stand that holds drying racks (simliar to yours Michelle..but a smaller tabletop versionicon_smile.gif) he also built me a stand to hold 24 pastry bags while i am using them..this may seem like a lot of work..but i SWEAR its organized icon_smile.gif after all the mixing and baking..the rest (decorating) is cake..or should i say cookie?! lolicon_smile.gif sorrry...too much sugar...




yes, that sounds organized to me. icon_surprised.gif

I'm organized, but i don't think I could pull that off. icon_eek.gif

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