I Dream of Parties Blog

Life's little celebrations.

Royal Icing: The Lesson of Sticking to What You Know August 30, 2013

Filed under: Cookies — idreamofparties @ 3:22 pm

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A couple of months ago I received an email from a friend and colleague referring someone looking for decorated sugar cookies for her daughter’s first birthday. First let me say, I was flattered that someone referred me for such a special event. All birthdays are special but a 1st birthday is really a reason to celebrate and I was honored to be a part of it. After a few email exchanges the birthday party mom and I agreed upon pink and white polka dot 1 cookies for the special occasion. Sounds simple enough, right?

Yesterday I claimed 4 hours of personal time off from my corporate job to spend the afternoon baking cookies and decorating with royal icing. Royal icing and I have a complicated relationship. Out of the 10 times I’ve attempted to work with royal icing in the last two years I can maybe remember one time when all went smoothly and now that I think about it that one time probably doesn’t count because my good friend and neighbor actually made the icing and brought it to my house. I’ve Bing searched and pinned multiple different royal icing recipes on Pinterest and even purchased royal icing kits where all you add is water but I still can’t get it right. But yesterday, I set up my work station determined to make these royal iced polka dot cookies with the “smooth” finish my client requested. At 6pm I completed the cookies and set them out to harden so that I could package them in the morning and deliver to the birthday mom. At 8pm I decided to do a little test and poke the icing with my finger to see if it was starting to set…this is when I first realized there was going to be a problem…a serious problem. The icing was still tacky and wet!

This morning I woke up at 4:30am because I had a sinking feeling I would be scrambling to bake and decorate 3 dozen additional cookies in time for a birthday party and email my client to let her know that I was likely not going to be able to deliver the smooth flat cookies she requested.

Luckily this story has a somewhat happy ending in that I allowed myself plenty of time to bake and decorate cookies before the party on Sunday. It is now Friday afternoon and a freshly baked freshly decorated with buttercream frosting batch of 3 dozen cookies is sitting nicely on my kitchen counter hardening so that I can package and deliver in the morning. Once these cookies are set and ready to package I will put them in clear cellophane bags and tie with the pink scalloped thank you hang tags I made for the order.

This experience has reminded me of a few things 1) I should never quit my day job and 2) stick to what you know. From now on it’s buttercream piped frosting for all of my future cookie requests. I bake cookies as a fun hobby and the last 18 hours has been way too stressful to be anything close to fun.

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