Friday, August 3, 2012

Royal Icing Owl

After yesterday's tribute to Winnie the Pooh and Paddington, I thought I'd better create something a little more current: a white owl based on Hedwig from Harry Potter. To pipe tiny little owls you'll need stiff consistency royal icing in any color you like (obviously I used white), a small amount of black icing for the beak and claws, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 blend of cornstarch and powdered sugar, a flower nail, a Styrofoam brick to rest the nail in, a glue stick, a parchment paper square for each owl, round tips #12 and #2, oval tip #55, Ateco tip #101 (it's slightly larger than the Wilton #101), and yellow and black food-safe markers (like Gourmet Markers by AmeriColor). Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick. 
 Hold the #12 tip just above and at a right angle to the surface. Squeeze until a base builds up, then continue to squeeze while moving the tip upwards about an inch. Stop pressure and pull the tip away, straight up.
 Touch a fingertip to the dusting pouch and tap the top until it is rounded.
 Switch to the #55 oval tip and pipe 6 toes. Hedwig has rather large fluffy feet.
 Switch to the #101 petal tip and pipe the tail in the back, keeping the wide side of the tip against the body just above the base with the narrow side angled down and outward. While you're piping, jiggle the tip in and out in a gentle sawing motion. The tail really won't be visible, but it will provide support for the wings.
 Still using the #101 tip, pipe the first wing starting from where you'd imagine the owl's "shoulder" to be, with the narrow end of the tip pointing outward.
 Here's a side view. Pipe the wing around to the back, ending at the center of the tail.
 Here's a view from the front. As you can see, the tip is angled slightly away from the body to give the wing some separation from the body.
 Repeat with a second wing on the other side of the body. Remember to keep the narrow end of the petal shaped tip facing outwards.
 When the body is fairly firmed up, pipe the beak with black icing and a #2 tip. Place the tip against the center of the "face", squeeze very gently and pull away. Gently nudge the beak into place with a fingertip after touching it to the dusting pouch. Touch the #2 tip to the ends of each toe to create claws.
 Use the yellow food-safe marker to draw circles for the eyes…
 …and draw the pupils with the black marker. Pipe a whole parliament of owls to top cupcakes for a Harry Potter-themed party!

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