Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Royal Icing Cattails

Yet another project in the "pond" collection (sounds more appetizing than "swamp", right?), to be company for the frog, lily pads, and water lily. All you need to make cattails are Nilla Wafers, a Styrofoam block, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar, stiff consistency brown and green royal icing, round tip #8, leaf tip #352, and dry linguine (spaghetti would probably look more realistic, but I didn't have any on hand). 
 Start by piping a line about 2" long on one side of the linguine. Leave about half an inch bare at the end.
Pipe another line on the other side of the linguine directly opposite it. 
Dust your fingertips especially thoroughly against the dusting pouch and pinch the icing together around the linguine. 
Re-dust your fingertips and tap along the seam until it disappears. Don't worry about making the cattails look perfect; last I checked, they aren't perfectly cylindrical in nature, either. 
 Stick the cattails into the Styrofoam block to dry.
 Pipe a cluster of stand-up #352 leaves on a Nilla Wafer. Hold the tip against the cookie's surface, squeeze, then pull upwards. Stop pressure and pull the tip away when the icing is able to stand up on its own (or be propped up by one or more of its neighbors).
 Carefully stick the cattails into the cookie. Hold the linguine as close to the base as possible to lessen the probability of snapping it in half.
 Arrange them as you see fit, then when you place the cattail arrangement on a cake, pipe some more leaves around the base for your swamp (er, pond) creatures to hide in.

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