Royal icing & flooding

I’m not crazy about icing. I like a cookie jam packed with filling to make up for the lack of icing. However, I am crazy for amazingly decorated cookies with which I can impress my friends and family.

My mum and I made sugar cookies yesterday and wanted to try flooding them for decoration. Have you heard about flooding? If you haven’t, you’d probably recognize cookies decorated in that way. The flat, glossy icing that fills a substantial area of the cookie. Or maybe you’ve seen that BuzzFeed video on Facebook where they make it look so easy to pipe an outline, fill in with a runnier icing, add a few drops of a second colour of icing and magically turn those dots into cute little hearts? I saw it. I was expecting greatness. And ease. The results were…a learning process.

So yes, the whole idea is to start with your standard royal icing. We used a Food Network recipe, which can be found HERE. We made Valentine’s day themed cookies, cut into hearts, so naturally went with a nice red colouring for the icing. We also separated some of the un-coloured royal icing, for some white detailing to be done later.

Having added a small amount of the icing to a bag with a really thin tip, we attempted to pipe a thin outline near the edge of the cookies. It was tough. At first, I thought I had low blood sugar because the lines were so damn scraggly. Then, when I put the cookies at eye level, it was easier for some reason. I just kneeled beside the table and iced from that angle. To each their own.

For the flooding, we just added a few drops of water until it had the consistency of syrup, added that to another bag to pipe with a larger tip, as this part did not require the same kind of precision. Then, tried to colour in the lines. We used the back of a spoon to push the icing to its cookie borders with mixed results.

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A couple of lessons that we learned:

  • Flood one cookie at a time. That icing hardens quickly and that sheen disappears if you have to break the icing to spread it when it’s too far gone.
  • If you attempt to make those little hearts, add the second colour as fast as possible to the base. It seemed that the two icings had to be the same consistency for the hearts to turn out “heart-like”.

However, they turned out great…for the most part. We’ll be attempting easter eggs next month to improve on our skills.

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