Flood Frosting Sugar Cookies

Day 3 of the Holiday Sugar Cookie Series

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I’m going to preface today’s post, a happy conclusion to the Holiday Sugar Cookie Series, by saying that it would not have been possible for me to even attempt any of this without Ree’s inspiration and the amazing cookies over at the Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. So I’m going to to say this now — check out their blogs!! I mean seriously they are inspirational._MG_1258

There isn’t any recipes involved with today’s post, just some ideas. To help you slackers that haven’t made your cookies yet, here are a few tips for the cookie baking process.

As far as your equipment is concerned, this is what I used. A lot of these things I had laying around or could be repurposed — although I did use this as an excuse to buy more tips, couplers, and some squeeze bottles.

Now I know some of you have been following since day 1. So gather your cut-out sugar cookies, and get the following set up. Everyone else, come back a day after you’ve made your cookies and right after you’ve made your royal frosting. Or keep reading for the fun of it.

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Start by arranging all of your equipment. Line cups with paper towels, fit couplers to piping bags, and arrange pipping bags so that they are inverted into cups and are held up.

Outline icing

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Start by filling a two-cup measuring cup with some of your fresh royal frosting. Add the color of your desire, and mix. If you’re using a mister, mist two or three times, otherwise add around 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of water to the icing and mix to combine. Repeat this process until your frosting is like toothpaste.

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Do not get impatient and add more motor or else your icing will fall apart. Once it reaches the toothpaste consistency, take about 1/2 cup to a 3/4 cup of icing out and add it to a pipping bag. Tie with a pipping bag tie or rubber band.

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Flood Icing

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Continuing in the same mixing cup, continue to thin out the icing using 2-3 mists at a time (no more than 1 tsp) of water until it reaches the thickness of shower gel. If you draw a ribbon, it should be able to fall back onto itself in two seconds. Take this, and fill it into your squeeze bottles for easy squeezing. This should be thinner, but not thin enough to the point where it will just ooze all over the cookie.

Decorating Time

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Now its time for the fun part. Outline your cookies with your outline frosting and let it set for a few minutes, until they are just sett. Then, fill your cooking with your flood icing. Don’t worry about reaching all the edges. When you have most of the center filled, use a toothpick to help you along.

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You’re done!

Yay! Flood-icing sugar cookies, with just a little patience and a little more practice, can produce stunning results that really is a lot more effortless than they may appear. To get you started with a few cookie ideas, I’m sharing two of my designs with you. As I mentioned in my cut-out sugar cookie post, these cookies started out as party favors. I wanted to make snow-globe-like cookies, one more fitting for Christmas, and the other for the new year.

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For the Christmas snow globe cookie, I made my cut-outs utilizing a round cookie cutter. When the cookies came out of the oven, I gently outlined a Christmas tree onto the cookie using a tree shaped cookie cutter. When the cookie cooled down, I simply traced with my outline frosting and then filled with my flood frosting. I then used some red filling frosting and dropped droplets into the tree to create some ornaments. When my tree was set and done, I outlined the entire snow globe using a white outline icing. It was then filled with white and embroidered with blue droplets to act as glitter.

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I then proceeded to made a new year cookie by filling a cookie completely using grey and decorated it with the same blue droplets as the christmas tree snow globe. Once those were completely set (I did this the next day), I traced the numbers 2013 onto the cookie using a food coloring marker and then traced that writing using an outline frosting. This was then filled using a different color to create a foreground/background effect.

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Royal Frosting

Day 2 of the Holiday Sugar Cookie Series

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Believe it or not, royal frosting is the same frosting thats used to glue gingerbread houses together and decorate flood frosting cookies. For those of you unfamiliar with what flood frosting cookies are, flood frosting is the technique used to create smooth and matte finishes like the Starbucks holiday cookies.

For those of you who’ve decorated royal frosting, you also know that its a stiff mess, that dries in about 30 seconds. The trick is to work backwards from frosting to icing. This approach is great because you can make a stiff frosting thats excellent for gingerbread houses but can also be thinned to flood sugar cookies.

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There are countless royal frosting recipes that could work. I chose to work with meringue powder instead of real egg whites because I expected my cookies to sit in room temperature for a few days and I wanted to be sure no one got sick.

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Since you will be working with egg whites (in a powdered, meringue form),  make sure that all of your equipment is clean and oil free or frosting might not come together otherwise. Keep this in mind when you choose a flavoring or extract to work with because you’ll be adding it to your frosting.  I worked with Wilton’s clear vanilla flavoring to prevent any discoloration.

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After all the ingredients are gathered, all you need to do is combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the wet ingredients in a separate cup, and then join the two together. At this point the frosting is thin, very thing. A few minutes on medium high, the frosting becomes stiff, fluffy and ready to be used on whatever you may desire. This year I decorated some gingerbread houses with my friends Megan and Katie!

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I’ll be sharing techniques on thinning the frosting out tomorrow. If you end up making this frosting today, the frosting lasts up to a month after its made.  Just store it in your fridge with a wet towel over the bowl to prevent it from drying and a quick whisk with the whisk attachment will freshen it right up.

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Frosting tip: A good thing to keep by hand when working with royal frosting is a water spray bottle. I like to gently mist the surface of the frosting to prevent it from drying out, especially when I plan on thinning it out later anyways.

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Royal Frosting

Originally From: Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/3 cup meringue powder
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp oil-free extract or flavoring

Directions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the confectioner’s sugar, meringue powder by hand using the whisk attachment.
  2. Combine the flavoring with the warm water and add slowly to the dry ingredients while mixing very slowly (stir or 2).
  3. When the water is completely added in, increase the speed of your stand mixer to medium high (6 or 8 on a Kitchen aid) and mix until fluffy. Stop as soon as it reaches stiff peaks as over mixing will cause your frosting to break down.

Cut-out Sugar cookies

Day 1 of the Holiday Sugar Cookie Series

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Every year for christmas, my friends and I get together for a secret santa. Every year, I want to decorate sugar cookies for the first time, but I never really knew how. It all came together when I became the host of the exchange last year. It didn’t help that Ree over at the Pioneer Woman hosted this amazing looking cookie decorating session. I was sold.

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It took some research and some more research. Crafty ideas don’t come very naturally to me and decorating cookies definitely errs on the side of the artistic side of cooking but Ree’s pictures had me sold. These cookies were decorated with a flood frosting. I referenced Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle a lot throughout my decorating process and she has some amazing cookies so I definitely recommend checking her site out.

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I’m starting this series with a sugar cookie, followed by a royal frosting then ending with some tips and techniques that I picked up throughout this process. I did, however want to get you started on the right foot — according to Sugarbelle, flood frosting sugar cookies work the best when you make the cookies a day ahead. This gives them a chance to dry out just a tad bit and let the oils reabsorb into the cookies. Go ahead and make these cookies tonight or tomorrow, then you’ll get a chance to make the frosting and follow along my posts throughout the next few days!

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These sugar cookies don’t deviate too far away from your regular sugar cookie recipe. They involve creaming together butter and confectioner’s sugar, adding an egg and a flavoring, then finishing off with flour, salt, and baking powder. I personally love the flavor of vanilla so thats what I went with but the original author proposed almond extract. One nifty trick is the use of confectioner’s sugar for dusting a work surface instead of flour, which really preventing my cookies from becoming over worked.

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Cut-out Sugar Cookies

Originally from: Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tsp flavoring (I used vanilla)
  • 2 1/2-2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ts. salt

Directions

  1. Cream together softened butter and confectioner’s sugar. Add the egg and flavoring. Mix until well combined
  2. Add 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt to the mixture. If the dough is no longer sticky and can come together as a ball then it is ready. If it is still too sticky, add another 1/4 cup of flour.
  3. Roll out on parchment to about 1/4 an inch thick, use confectioner’s sugar for dusting as necessary. Then, cut and bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

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Macaron Framboise (Raspberry)

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It’s been a while since I’ve really gotten a chance to cook anything for myself, let alone photograph and prepare a post for all of you. I personally wanted to say a special thank you to everyone who’s been following along throughout the past couple of months–seeing the statistics on my dashboard really became one of the highlights of this hectic quarter.

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As I’m working my way through senior year, a few things have changed in the past couple of months. First off, I’m finally affiliated (sort of)! I’m currently pledging to become a member of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity and my friends have definitely joined the bandwagon of excitement. Thanks JenaLyn for the awesome Secret Santa gift… this was definitely (and very carefully) used in the making of these macarons 🙂

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In addition, I’m starting my grad school search for a student affairs program. Even though  I managed to finish all of my finals this quarter on Monday of finals week, it really wasn’t much of a break time for me, but more so a time to work on letter of recommendations. But of course, kitchen duty called and I took it upon myself to feed everyone around me.

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I think one of the biggest inspiration for these macarons was my newest addition to the lens family, a 24-70mm f/2.8. I knew I wanted to highlight a pretty color– something that was fun. Raspberry jumped at me. I was lucky to have two excellent l helpers,  Katie and Megan, help out with my baking the past week. Unfortunately Katie had a final the next day this was being made, she definitely got to reap the benefits of my baking spree though.

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What really makes the raspberry flavor jump out at you is the fresh raspberry jam that is really irreplaceable to this recipe. Although you could probably substitute the filling with a store bought jam, I’d encourage using a fresh batch. It was definitely an experience for me and to quote Megan: “it really wasn’t that hard!!”

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Raspberries are first macerated with a masher over medium heat. Sugar, first whisked with pectin, then joins the mix with some lemon juice. Everything bubbles away for two minutes before its allowed to cool in a bowl covered with saran wrap pressed against the surface. Doing this, prevents a film from forming on top, yuck.

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Everything else is relatively standard to the Pierre Herme Macaron recipe. Feel free to reference the pistachio flavor if you’d like! I’ve had some success substitute the raspberries with other fruits such as cherries, blueberries, and mangos. Can’t wait to share some other winter-y treats with you in the next few weeks. I have a sugar cookie decorating series I can’t wait to show you!

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Macaron Framboise

Raspberry Jam originally on: Not so Humble Pie

Ingredients

Filling

  • 225g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp powdered pectin
  • 375g (3 cups) french raspberries
  • 1/2 lemon

Macaron shells

  • 300g ground almonds (ground to a powder)
  • 300g powdered sugar
  • 110g aged egg whites
  • 4.5g pink, fuchsia, orr rose  food coloring
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 75g mineral water
  • 110g aged egg whites

Directions

  1. Start by making the jam. In a medium sauce pan, macerate raspberries with a potato mashers. Alternatively, process in a food processor or blend in a blender and then heat up over medium heat. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar and pectin and then add it to the raspberries. Squeeze in some lemon juice for some tang and then allow to boil for two minutes. Strain the seeds out if desire, and then allow to cool in a bowl with plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the bowl until cooled
  2. Process powdered sugar and ground almonds in a stand mixer and sift into a large bowl. Combine the other 110 g of egg whites with the food coloring and add to the sifted almond flour and powdered sugar.
  3. In a sauce pan, combine water and sugar and bring it to a boil. In a stand mixer, start beating your egg whites on low speed. When your syrup reaches 115 C, turn the mixer to medium (6 on a kitchen aid) and whisk. When your syrup reaches 118 C, remove from heat immediately, increase the speed to medium high (or 8) and pour the syrup down the side of your mixing bowl bowl. Keep whisking until your mixing bowl is warm to touch (50 C).
  4. Pour the merengue over the mixture from step 2. Fold gently.
  5. Pipe circles of macaron batter out on parchment paper 3/4 of an inch apart. Rap baking sheets against counter, rotate by 90 degrees and wrap again.
  6. Preheat your oven to 325 C and let the macarons rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, opening the oven door quickly twice throughout. At the end of the 15 minutes, remove from oven and check for doneness. If the macaron needs more time, bake for another 2 minutes and remove.
  7. Cool on wired rack and fill when completely cooled.

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