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Sunday, June 3, 2012

DIY Store-Bought Icing Pieces

Recently I saw something that I thought was preposterous. This pack of pre-made royal icing pieces:

I forget how much the price was exactly; around $4. My first thought was, those pieces are SO amateurish! And my second thought was, for $4, anybody could buy a 2 pound sack of powdered sugar, a can of meringue powder, and get to work piping hundreds of these pieces while a decent movie plays in the background. So without further adieu, here’s all you’ll need (in addition to the aforementioned movie)…

 …Icing in any colors you want, round tips #5 and #4, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch, a flower nail, a glue stick, a Styrofoam block (so you have someplace to set the nail when you're switching colors), and a parchment paper square for each piece. Note: I’m not going to pipe the birds, because you already know how to make adorable birds out of royal icing. Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick.
 Pipe a tiny dot with the #5 tip; this will help keep you centered.
Pipe a tiny teardrop shape; lie the tip almost against the surface and a short distance from the dot. Squeeze firmly to build up a ball, then draw the tip toward the dot to create the "tail" of the teardrop. Stop pressure and pull the tip away. 
 
Repeat 5 times for a total of 6 petals. No worries if you wind up with a few extra petals. You might find it helpful to pipe the petals that lie opposite each other in pairs, instead of working your way around clockwise or counterclockwise. 
 Pipe a center dot with a contrasting color. If at any point you wind up with peaks you don't like, touch a fingertip to the dusting pouch and tap them down.
 I have no idea what those orange circular shapes are supposed to be in the above photo of the pre-fab pieces; suns, perhaps? Anyway, I'll show you how to recreate them. Load a round #12 tip onto a bag of whatever color icing you like, hold it just above the surface of a parchment square on the flower nail, and squeeze firmly until there's a round puddle of icing about the size of a nickel. Stop pressure, and pull the tip straight up and away.
 You'll probably be left with this imprint in the middle…
 …which you can tap out with a dusted fingertip.
 Final step: never buy pre-made royal icing pieces again! (as though you ever would, right?)

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