Monday, November 3, 2014

Skull and Crossbones Cookie Tutorial

Here's the tutorial for the skull and crossbone cookies as promised. I've been experimenting with a glaze (which has added corn syrup for more shine and a softer texture) instead of royal icing which can be a little dry and grainy for me. There are two icing consistencies that are used when decorating cookies, flood and piping. 

Flood icing aka 20 second icing is used to ice large areas of cookie and results in a smooth, even finish. Piping consistency is used for borders to keep flood icing in place and for details that need to keep their shape. 

When mixing colors I usually start with a medium consistency of icing, color it, then reserve a third of it to thicken for piping and thinning out the rest for flood. 

Piping icing should be the consistency of toothpaste and should be firm enough to hold it's shape, but not so firm that it breaks while piping. To get this consistency, I add powder sugar until the desired thickness is reached. 

Flood icing should have a honey-like consistency, thin enough so it easily smooths for an even finish but not so thin that it runs over. I add very small amounts of water (a few drops at a time) and mix until this consistency is reached. Another way to test for this is to draw a line in the icing with a spatula and count how many seconds it takes for it to smooth out again (as the names suggests, it should take about 20 seconds). 

Here are the step by step instructions for decorating the skull and crossbones sugar cookies as well as some other shots of the cookie decorating process. 

For the glaze icing 
2lbs powdered sugar 
1/4 c corn syrup 
1/4 c water 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (clear if you need bright white icing) 
1/2 teaspoon butter extract 

The icing will need to be thickened for fine details and thinned slightly for flooding

For the skull and crossbone cookies you will need: 
White piping and flood icing 
Black piping icing 
Red flood icing (or any color of your choice for the bandana) 
4 disposable piping bags 
4 icing couplers 
Two #3 and two #12 piping tips 

P.S. Read my post from earlier this week on the best icing tip ever

Here is a royal icing recipe which I thought was a little easier to start out decorating with.

1. Trace out eyes, nose, and bandana on each skull cookie using food safe markers

2. With piping icing, outline the skull, eyes, and nose onto the cookies. If you don't want to fill in the eyes with black icing, make sure to pipe on the insides of the lines otherwise the marker will show (hindsight is 20/20).

3. With the flood icing, pipe along the edge of the piping icing so that the two consistencies overlap slightly. Keep to the inner edges so that the flood icing doesn't run over the sides the skull. Allow to dry for at least a half hour. 

4. After the first layer has dried to the touch, use piping icing to make teeth. Starting with the top row, alternate teeth and allow to dry for a half hour. Repeat with the lower row of teeth and allow to dry for another half hour. While the teeth are drying you can skip to steps 6-8 to save time in between the drying of the teeth. 

5. Fill in the missing teeth by piping more ovals between the teeth that have already dried. 

6. Pipe bandana ouline onto top of skull cookie with the piping icing. If any marker is showing you can also fill in the eyes and nostrils with the piping icing. 

7. Flood bandana with your color of choice flood icing. Pipe outlines on the cross bones and let dry for 15 minutes.

8. Flood crossbones using the same method in step 1. Add any additional details you like to the bandanna using piping icing. 

9. Allow cookies to dry overnight. I actually find glaze to be more prone to damage in transfer as compared to royal icing, so be careful when transporting them. 

Here are some more images from my cookie decorating night including the ghosts and spider web cookies

Piped ghost pumpkin spice sugar cookies 

Finished ghosts

The cookie station 

Piped outline on spider cookies

Finished web cookies

Finished spider and web cookie set

Midway through skulls and ghosts

Complete Halloween set

Be sure to follow me on instagram @rocky092 for more cookie and baking posts