Monday, August 27, 2012

Royal Icing Channel Catfish

I love it when whatever project I'm working on already happens to look like a squirt of icing; it makes the creative process that much easier. Tonight's creature is the official state fish of Nebraska, the channel catfish. These fish can grow to be 50+ pounds; I'm pretty sure this one doesn't even weigh a gram. All you'll need to pipe catfish are stiff consistency royal icing in gray (add a very small amount of a product like AmeriColor Super Black soft gel paste off the end of a toothpick to white icing), round tip #12, round tip #2, oval tip #57 by Ateco, parchment paper squares, a flower nail, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, a glue stick, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar, and round toothpicks. Start by sticking a parchment square to the nail with a dab from the glue stick. 
Using the #12 tip, pipe an elongated teardrop shape about 1.25" long. Hold the tip at a right angle to and just above the surface. Decrease pressure as you near the end of the shape before stopping pressure and pulling the tip away.
When you start, angle the tip to form the fish's upper lip. 

 Switch to the #57 tip and pipe the tail fins. Hold the tip against the narrow end and pipe two short lengths of icing. Taper the ends of each fin with fingertips after touching them to the dusting pouch.
 Also using the #57 tip, pipe two fins on the back; the larger one should be toward the front. Pipe them in the same way you did the tail, except for holding the tip at a 45 degree angle to the surface and pulling it along at an angle.
 Pipe two fins on the sides in a similar way, holding the tip alongside the surface. With all of the fins, touch a fingertip to the dusting pouch and gently tap them where they join the fish's body to secure them.
 Switch to the #2 tip to pipe the whiskers. The catfish has 4 pair; if you feel like you only have room for one pair, that's OK. Hold the tip against the surface, squeeze briefly, and pull the tip away.
When the surface is dry, paint in the eyes. To make small dots, I like to smash the pointy tip of a toothpick against the counter before dipping it in the black food coloring and touching it gently to the surface. In addition to Nebraska, the channel catfish is also the official state fish of Iowa, Missouri, and Tennessee; this critter would be an appropriate cupcake topper for a celebration commemorating any of these states! 

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