Monday, February 10, 2014

Sweet Skills: Chocolate Icing Application

I recently wrote about using cocoa powder instead of food colorings to color royal icing. I first used the chocolate icing as the dark color to contrast against the white icing base. My next experiment was to do that in reverse... to try white on a chocolate base.  Another experiment I wanted to try was to see if I could ice a cookie in the base color more quickly and easily using a knife or spatula or spreader, as opposed to outlining and then flooding the base using a pastry bag. I thought that maybe skipping the step of filling a pastry bag and flooding the cookie with icing might be a step that I could skip and I could keep the pastry bag for the detailed parts. I got the icing to a good consistency and tried all three tools to spread the icing. It was a bit harder than I expected, mostly because to get the smooth effect I like, the icing tended to flow off the cookie. I put them on a cooling grid and let the extra icing drip off.  It worked pretty well, but I think that was only because it was chocolate icing on a chocolate cookie.  The colors of the cookie and icing were very close, so any drips on the side of the cookie and areas that I scraped icing away just blended in.  I think that technique would have been much sloppier looking if the cookie and the base icing were different colors.
 After the chocolate icing base dried, I did some detailed work in white icing.  Now that I look at these cookies in photos, I like them fairly well.  They certainly were delicious!  But I didn't like them at all at the time. The white icing looked like Elmers school glue to me, and I had a hard time thinking of anything else. Maybe it needed to be tinted a little bit so it wasn't so gluey white. Perhaps my white icing was a little too runny, so I didn't get the crisp lines and dots that I wanted. At least I like the graphic-ness of the dark and light colors.  I can see a lot of potential there.
 So this experiment was trying two new skills: 1. applying the icing base without a pastry bag and 2. doing a light on dark design cookie.  I think the first skill taught me that I really like doing the base icing with the bag, and it's actually not that much slower or more time consuming.  The end result of a flooded cookie base is far better than having to clean up drippy icing.  And the second skill is definitely something I will try again, maybe with a tinted color on top of the dark, or a finer tipped bag, or thicker icing. Overall, lots of sweet learning here!

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