I've no doubt each of these subjects have been covered before, I am mentally and emotionally fried from cookie decorating so bear with me and blessings to your baking soul if you get through this and twentyfold if you can help me.
I am determined in my lifetime to get this down pat. I like the look of the RBC or the MMF on a cookie but can never get it thin enough to the way I want and also prefer a soft cookie icing. Royal is great for decorating but too hard for my edible liking and Antonia's I like but I cannot stand meringue powder. Soo, I like to use glacé. Yet, I cannot. Today there has been a small breakthrough in that I think I finally have the outlining consistency down. I look at some of the cookies on here, there are so many talented people and I just cannot get it. Gemini, I've talked with you so many times but I just don't know how you do it--getting nice, thin, clean straight lines.
I flooded and it didn't seem thin enough--either it's too much and takes way too long to dry or it's too thin and leaves "gaps" of color (I was using red). When it dries, it looses its shine completely.
I'm trying to write on the cookie and I made it thick, it's a struggle to get it out and it's leaving a "trail"--does that make sense? anyone know what I mean?--when I try to pull up the tip to end the letter. I thinned it--even with a #2 then a #1 tip, my lettering is not clean.
If anyone knows where I can get those small squeeze bottles, please send a link. I have a set I bought years ago that allow you to take the tip attachment off and put on a decorating/cake tip. I feel I have better control with the bottle than a bag but the bottle itself is too big, it's probably about 5" or more tall. I never fill the whole thing and I wind up with mostly air.
Speaking of the bottles, HOW do you fill those buggers without it getting all over? I'm muttering obscenities under my breath so my daughter doesn't hear me because it's just leaking allllll over. I hold it up as high as I can, try to do thin streams, it eventually comes rushing out. I've tried a funnel before and it doesn't flow well into the funnel and I wind up losing about 1/4 of the icing stuck to the funnel.
I love doing cookies--eh, let me rephrase that, I "would" love to do cookies--but just cannot. It's sooo frustrating for me. I would pay good money if one of you fine ladies was close enough to me to teach me. I'd love to do the monthly cookie club, even now and then but it never seems worth the aggravation I get from trying. The cookies I am doing now are for my friend but also my new boss and I would like them to look nice. They are due Tuesday morning so they have to be finished tomorrow night. I baked today, iced and let them dry a bit and am doing the lettering now. She does not want them bagged, which is good for me, but I am wondering if they will be dry enough to box up tomorrow evening and also not be drying out.
UGH I am so frustrated. I don't know whether to cry or be angry (although the tee'd off part definitely outweighs any fragile tendencies at this point. . . .).
Hence, my signature. . . .
Don't give up on the cookies yet. When you said that it leaves a tail, if it is what I am thinking you have too much corn syrup (in my opinion). If I put too much corn syrup it makes it too stringy. I use Carmie00 glaze for my cookies.
I don't flood my cookies with those little bottles. I use my kids take and toss spoons. They seem to be the right size and I just put some icing on them and then spread it out.
I haven't seen any pictures of your cookies, but your cakes look great.
Well I don't know much about decorating cookies, but I might have an idea on how to fill the bottles. How about you use a small funnel to fill the bottles. Would that work? And in order to get RBC or MMF thin enough, how about using a pasta machine. I use one to get my gumpast thin for flowers. I don't know if that's any help, but I'm sure the ladies who do cookies will come to your rescue.
I'm sorry that glace is frustrating you and I wish I had some pat answers that would solve all your problems. However, I'm really starting to understand that with glace, the key is in practice, practice, practice. Check Country Kitchen Sweet Art for those bottles. I know I got mine at my local cake decorating store. They really do make a huge difference. Filling them takes a bit of practice too, but I'm finding that now I can control the flow out of the container and into the bottle pretty well.
As to the small lines, I've recently hit upon what I think may be the answer. I was having a terrible time using the VERY small 0 and 00 tips. I read somewhere that someone suggested straining your glace through a knee high stocking. So I tried it. Worked like a miracle!!!! No more jamming up the tip, and it flowed like a dream, and those tips are TINY!
I'm by no means an expert... but I hope I might have helped a little.
Thanks for your replies, ladies.
awatterson: I don't know how else to thin it out, though, shouldn't I use corn syrup and not milk? It makes sense, though, too much goopy syrup. I don't mind flooding with the bottles, I squirt a bit in and then move it around to the corners and where it's needed with a cake-only paintbrush dipped in a bit of water. Thank you for your compliment, now you know why there are limited cookies in my album!
thatslifeca: Yes, I tried a funnel. . . not working for me. The pasta machine is a great idea but I don't have one. . . I was just looking at a KA in Lowe's yesterday and thinking I would like the pasta attachment with the next mixer. I'm not keen on the MMF but the RBC isn't too bad, if I could get it thin. It gives a much cleaner look.
DsLady614: CK is where I buy the bulk of my supplies, I will look for them next order, which is coming up soon. I don't know if the tip is jammed, it's just not flowing out well enough. I have heard that about the knee highs, I don' t even know if I have any around, it would have to be a side project to look for any unused ones at this hour.
I have tried with the 2, 1 and o tips and the white just doesn't look good, either. . .I have to get them done. Can I just put royal on the glacé or will it slide off?
Oh, Zamode, I wish I was able to be there to help! I know more by feel than anything else when I've got the right consistency for writing and outlining, which doesn't do you much good right now. All I can say is that it is slow, tedious work. It's why I would never be able to make a living from cookie decorating...takes too much time!
You should be able to use RI on top of the glace. You can also use Americolor markers to do almost any writing, instead of using icing.
P.S.- Do you know about the "Cookie Camp" later this month that is being held in Tennessee? Kneadacookie will be there, and she's a very gifted glace decorator who would be able a wonderful resource. All the information on the camp is on flickr.com, or you could PM kneadacookie.
Susan, I wish you were here, too! You nailed it, too and I am not a fraction of as great as you are--slow, tediouos work. My husband said I should charge by the hour and if they don't want to pay it, oh well. It took up most of my day. I've been wanting those Americolor markers, will have to add that to the list as well. I have the sub-par Wilton ones but I can't even use those as the icing isn't completely dry. I caved in and went with royal just to get it done.
Sadly, I would not be able to attend the cookie camp but it certainly is what I need. I have the WeeOne here, I live in NJ and am about to start a job. I really wish I could be better at it, maybe in time. . . discouraging.
Hi Zamode: I well understand what you are going through. After purchasing Toba Garrett's book on cookies I thought, no problem here, but that wasn't the case. When I use her glace thickened as an outline and then thined and flooded I could see the outline.
Tried to Royal icing using the 3-5 second rule and outline and flooded in one operation - much better. However I find the hardened royal to be beautiful but hard as a rock. So no matter how moist the cookie is the icing stinks.
Just a few days ago I found these videos on using buttercream as an icing with many variations in its application. Take a few minutes, this lady has many videos on her website and I think this will help you quite a bit.
Best of luck on your cookie endeavours!
I had to use a knee-high stocking for the first time last week. The only new one I had was a reinforced toe type so I made quite a mess straining it (I don't understand enough how to use it in the bag/over the tip or whatever, so I strained it into a bowl and then put it into a piping bag).
I tried using a funnel last week to get Royal into a bottle, too. Didn't work. Well, it didn't work nearly fast enough. I grabbed a clean disposal water bottle (18 oz. or so size), cut it down, and used that. It was perfect! I filled my "funnel," lifted it a bit to get air in there, and it ran smooth and fast into my squeeze bottle with no mess.
Zamode, it is a mixture of corn syrup AND milk! I didn't even see your cookies before. I just looked at the first page. Your cookies look good too. Just keep practicing and having a good time!
Zamode, It's easy to say "don't get discouraged" because I've been there. Your cakes are so beautiful and the cookies are quite good. The one thing that I found was I was getting overwhelmed when I was trying to do everything in one or two days. Now I try to mix the cookie dough 2 to 3 days ahead of baking. Then I cut them all out freeze them overnight, bake the next day and I find using RBC works best for me. It's easy and everyone loves the taste. I get so many compliments on how it looks too. It's easy to texturize and you can add royal icing details. Don't get down on yourself you are very talented.
Zamode, don't despair! Have you seen Karen's Cookies videos? Just in case you haven't, here's the link.
I use her cool flooding & decorating techniques all the time...it's the only way I'll do cookies anymore!
I know you said you don't like meringue powder.............. I didn't either until I tried her meringue buttercream recipe-- it makes a great glaze when thinned with a little water and corn syrup . It sets up nicely but doesn't get rock hard like RI...it has a nice texture to bite into and tastes yummy! I just made 300 Greek letter cookies for my son's fraternity, and they loved them!
Oh, and when I fill the bottles, I put the icing in a zip lock bag, cut a corner, then squeeze it into the bottle...couldn't be easier or neater!!
ETA: Oops, I just noticed someone else posted the link to Karen's cookies...didn't mean to duplicate! But you will like those videos!!!!!!!!!!!
Zamode, too bad we couldn't get together when I'm out in Boston at the end of October for a four day visit (we'll be attending the Patriots/Vikings game on Halloween!) It's probably the closest I'll ever get to NJ! If you're ever in Nebraska, please let me know.
Enjoy Gillette Stadium. It's awesome but it could be quite cold! You never know around here though it is New England!
Thank you all very much. . . just the encouragement and replies are great.
Cookie4: See, that's how I think, too--yes, they should look good but they need to taste good first and foremost to me as well. Toba's didn't work well for me, either, despite the fact that hers have such a beautiful shine, I cannot get that. They dry so dull. I use the Wilton cookie icing recipe, very similar but no better luck. Thank you for the link, I have Karen's page bookmarked from years ago but only saw one video so I looked at a few last night, her method may very well be worth trying.
Cheatize Excellent idea with the water bottle, thanks! I suppose I will have to try the stocking trick, I do have the 0 and 00 tips. . .
awatterson Oh yes, I am using both the milk and the syrup but was under the impression that you just use the syrup to thin--am I wrong on that? I have to say it's hard to have a good time decorating the little buggers when it's tough for me!
Redsoxbaker Thank you so much! I suppose it's just something I have to put the time into, it won't happen magically. I think if I get that pasta attachment I might feel better about how my RBC cookies look, often they are too thick despite my best efforts. I do like being able to texturize, also. That's the approach I make with cakes, prep ahead of time, even days. Certainly makes sense with cookies.
cakeythings1961 Another great idea with the bag, thanks! Do you have any set recipe by chance of the thinning? It's the consistency that gets me and that takes huge amounts of time for me. . . try it, too thin, add more sugar . . . too thick, add more syrup. . .filling bags and bottles, it's a nuisance.
Gemini Oh Susan, I would be eternally grateful!! LOL Too bad, I like Boston, too, have not been up there in years. We will be in Florida the end of October anyhoo but I do appreciate your offer. You don't want to be teaching Cookies 101 when you are there to have a good time!
I don't have a photo but I wound up putting royal on for the lettering and the paw print (dog bones) just to get them done. I didn't like the color, am just disgusted overall but they are done. I hope she likes them. I hate to charge what I said for them ($1.25 a cookie, the cookie isn't that big but I also wanted to give her a break for this time). Then I think of all the work I put into them. . . most of my day, literally. Not her fault but they aren't done in a jiffy, either.
Thanks gals! <3
It's also the "principle" of it, too. . . kind of the same as when someone tells you you can't do something, you want to prove them wrong. So far. . . not so good!
Glacé: HIgh positive number that is undetermined
Oh, Zamode - I'm so sorry!
I wish I'd seen this post sooner, but I haven't been on in a few days. I'm in MD... not too far... if you ever want some hands on help, we can plan a meeting - I so desperately want to make a convert out of you and cure your phobia!!
I usually use a modified version of Antonia74's RI (with some corn syrup added), but I have used glace too. In fact, I did a little experiment a few months ago and compared the two. I posted the results, but they probably won't help you now. I wonder how the RI recipe would turn out without the meringue powder, or a lot less of it at least, since you mentioned you don't like that ingredient. I'll try to do another experiment later this week if I have time and see how that goes.
oh - as far as getting it into the bottles, I do have a suggestion for you. I don't' use bottles (they just don't work for me), but I bet you'd have less mess if you spoon the icing into a plastic ziplock bag, seal it, and cut a hole in one corner, then squeeze the icing from the plastic bag into the opening in the plastic bottle. It is more "waste", but likely less mess....
You are sweet, Bonnie--if you can cure my phobia then you should be given some kind of medal! I'm getting to the point where I think only instruction from someone will help as opposed to practice. I rarely use meringue powder in regular royal anyway but I just can't stand the smell of it. I'd also take the bag idea, as someone else suggested, too, and have the bit of waste becasue the amount that spills over the bottle top is probably the same amount. It's big on the aggravation factor.
It keeps me from doing cookies because it takes me soooo long.
they do take a long time,. but the more you do them, the more you get into a "rhythm" and it goes much more smoothly!
You're welcome to come on down any time and we can practice together!
i can't imagine not using bottles to decorate. i do however only use the bottles for the fill icing. i use the bags and tips for outlining only.
yes the consistency you need to outline and detail with is very thick(hence the carpal tunnel). as for your "trail", you can't really pull up on your lines to stop. you need to run back over your design. does that make sense? once i get to the end of the line, i just backtrack a little back into the line. i hope that helps a little bit.
as far as getting it into the bottles, you just have to find your own rhythm. i start it out with the smallest of streams and then slowly increase the flow watching the bottl etip the whole time. you'll get it. and every once in awhile i get the occasional overflow with the accompanying obscenities.
p.s. you teach me how to make t hose gorgeous bc roses and i'll teach you anything you want to know about glace
Bonnie be careful or I am I-95 bound, lol
Knead, that's a deal! Thank you, too. . .if not for the roses, I got nuttin'!
I'll try it again just to try and not when something is due. . . you gals are great