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Royal Icing for Sugar Cookies
Royal Icing is a pure white icing that dries to a smooth, hard, matte finish. It is the perfect icing for decorating sugar cookies. Royal Icing is simply a mixture of confectioners’ sugar and raw egg whites with a bit of vanilla flavoring added. With food coloring added, royal icing can be used to create beautiful cookies for any occasion. Many people prefer to use meringue powder or powdered egg whites in place of the raw egg whites because of the risk of salmonella when using raw egg whites and also for its ease of use.     
Royal Icing made with Egg Whites
(Makes about 4 cups)

3 large egg whites
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the egg whites using the whisk attachment until frothy.  Gradually add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth.  Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff, shiny peaks form. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container.  Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

Royal Icing made with Meringue Powder
or Dried Egg Whites
(Makes about 3 cups)

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons meringue powder or dried egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons water

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder until combined.  Add the vanilla and water and beat on medium to high speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.  To get the right consistency, add more confectioners’ sugar or water.
Pastry Bags

There are 2 types of pastry bags: reusable and disposable.  They come in various sizes and can be made from a variety of materials.  If you plan on doing a lot of decorating, you may choose to invest in reusable bags that are made of washable polyester, plastic, lined cotton or canvas.  Disposable pastry bags are made out of clear plastic.  They are good for one time use and are thrown away when done decorating. 

Decorating tips fit on the bottom of reusable or disposable pastry bags. To decorate the cookies on this page, you will need a small (#1, 2, 3, or 4) plain or round tube. These tubes have a  smooth, round opening. They are used to outline details, fill in areas, print messages, and to make beads, dots, balls, stems, vines, and flower centers. There is a system of numbers that identify
the various tubes available.  Small round tubes are numbers 1-4; medium 5-12. 

Couplers are handy if you have multiple colors of icing and only 1 tip, and need to move the tip to the other bags of icing.
Food Coloring

Icing colors can be mixed to create beautiful customized shades.  Liquid, gel, paste, and soft gel food coloring may all be used to tint royal icing.  Gel and paste food colorings are very concentrated and create very vibrant colors without changing the consistency of the icing. They come in small jars and are doled out with a toothpick or skewer.  When properly stored they last for a very long time.

1. Bake the sugar cookies and allow them to cool.

2. Make one batch of the royal icing.  Divide the icing into small bowls or containers, one for each color you plan on mixing.  Add the food coloring to each bowl and stir in well so that no white streaks remain. Keep the icing covered as it will dry very quickly once exposed to air.

When piped the icing should hold a thin line with minimal to no spreading.  If the icing is too thick to easily pipe through a small (1/8-inch) hole, gradually add more water.

To draw a cookie border, stripes, zigzags, or any other form of line, first fill a pastry bag with royal icing and cut a hole in the tip of the bag (the bigger the hole the wider the outline) or insert a pastry tube.  Hold the pastry cone at a 45 degree angle to the cookie surface and apply consistent, gentle pressure while moving the cone in the direction that you want the icing to go.   Do not drag the tip of the cone in the icing.  Hold the tip about 1/8 inch above the cookie and allow the icing to fall into place.  If the icing breaks as you are drawing, you are probably moving too fast.  If the icing falls back on itself rather than in a straight line, you are probably moving the cone too slowly.

Flooding describes the process of ‘flooding’ a relatively thin royal icing into an area defined by a pre-existing outline. The outline creates the dam that prevents the icing from flowing off the cookie. To flood, fill a pastry cone with royal icing thinned to top-coating consistency.  Cut a hole in the tip of the bag or insert a small, round decorating tip.  Guide the icing around the interior of the outline until the area is completely filled.  For very small areas or to get into corners, use a toothpick to guide the icing.  If your outline color is different than your flooding color, be sure the outline is completely dry before flooding, otherwise the colors may bleed.
These Easter Chick Cookies are an example of the sugar cookies that are outlined and flooded. The eyes were added when the icing was still moist, so that they would adhere. The beaks were piped on when the icing was dry.

Marbling looks best when 3 or more colors of royal icing are used; one for the top coat and 2 or more that get applied to the top coat with a pastry bag. 

Begin by mixing all icing colors to top-coating consistency.  Transfer all the icings into separate pastry bags and cut a small hole in the tip of each bag or insert a small, round decorating tip. Apply the top coating or flooding coat and then quickly pipe lines or dots of the other icing colors on top.  Immediately draw a toothpick through all of the icings to create a marbled effect.  Countless patterns can be made by varying the way you pipe the icings onto the top coat and draw the toothpick through.
These Autumn Leaf Cookies are an example of sugar cookies with royal icing that has been marbled.  First the cookies were outlined. Then the yellow base coat was applied, then the orange and red (all while the icing was still wet) and a toothpick used to drag the colors into each other.

To make a bead, fill a pastry bag with royal icing and cut a hole of the desired
size in the tip or insert a small, round pastry tip.  Hold the pastry bag at a
90-degree angle to the cookie with the tip nearly on the cookie surface.  Apply
gentle pressure until the dot reaches the desired size.  Stop applying pressure
and pull the bag straight up.  To create a beaded border, pipe a series of dots
along the edge of the cookie outline.  Beadwork may also be applied on top of
flooded areas once they are completely dry.
These Christmas Tree Cookies are an example of sugar cookies with beading.  First the cookies are outlined, then flooded with green icing.  The icing must dry to a hard surface before the lines and beads are applied.  The icing was also dusted with candy sprinkles while the lines and beads were still moist so that they would adhere.

Allow decorated cookies to dry at room temperature for several hours until the icing is dry and hard. Place the cookies in an airtight container with wax paper or parchment paper between layers. Sugar cookies can be stored for several weeks at room temperature.
Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Many people prefer to use meringue powder or powdered egg whites in place of the raw egg whites because of the risk of salmonella when using raw egg whites and also for its ease of use. Meringue powder is a fine, white powder used to replace fresh egg whites and is made from dried egg whites and sometimes contains sugar, cornstarch and food gum. Powdered egg whites are 100% dried egg whites. 
When either product is beaten with water and confectioners sugar it has the same consistency as icing made with fresh egg whites.
Shop King Arthur Baking for all your baking needs!
The cookie cutters in this set range in size from approximately 3-1/4” to 3-3/4”
Made in the USA for over 30 years by the Clark family. Manufactured in America with certified food safe American steel.
Great as a pancake mold, sandwich cutter or for cutting cookie dough, fondant, soft fruits, bread, sandwiches, cheese, or craft clay in any class room.
Create and make fun shapes with cookie dough, fondant, biscuits, brownies, cakes, or craft clay.  Great for teaching someone how to count, or for birthdays and anniversaries.
Use your heart cookie cutters in lots of different ways:

POLENTA: Cut firm polenta and saute

BEETS:  Slice roasted beets and cut out hearts

FRENCH TOAST: Freeze the bread about 15 minutes before cutting out hearts

ICE CREAM SANDWICHES:  Use a butter cookie recipe; sandwich 2 cookies with ice cream

SCONES: Cut the dough before baking

CARROTS: Slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds while raw, then cut our hearts.  Add to soup and simmer until tender

BROWNIES: Cut the hearts after baking. Coat the cookies cutter with non-stick spray between cuts.  Brownie recipe
Bake Me A Wish!
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What is a Coupler?
A coupler is a two-part device that fits at the tip of a pastry bag that allows you to use different decorating tips with the same bag of icing.

The 2 parts of a coupler are the base and the ring.  The base goes into the piping bag and the tip of the bag is cut offf, allowing the end of the base to  extend outside of the bag.  Then a pastry tip is placed over the end of the base and the ring is screwed on to hold the tip in place. This allows you to switch pastry tips using the same color icing for different decorations.
A versatile mix that uses oat flour to make flavorful and sturdy sugar cookies.