Saturday, August 11, 2012

Royal Icing Safety Pins

Tonight's post is short and sweet, mostly because I don't want to step away from watching the last full day of the Olympics for more than a few minutes, and also because I'm running out of icing! One of my favorite exports ever to come out of England is punk rock, especially the DIY fashion associated with it. Read about Dame Vivienne Westwood, if you want a punk fashion primer that pre-dates Hot Topic. I haven't left the house without an assortment of safety pins on hand in over 20 years; they've served every purpose from decorative to functional. And yes, they really do come in black (or you can paint them with nail polish):
Getting down to business: all you'll need to pipe safety pins are round tip #5, petal tip #101, royal icing in any color you like (if you're going for silver, use white or gray then dust it with a product like silver Pearl Dust when the icing is dry), a flower nail, parchment paper squares, a glue stick, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, and a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar. Start by sticking a parchment square to the nail with a dab from the glue stick. 
 Using the #5 tip, pipe the "spring" portion of the pin in one continuous stroke, with the tip at a right angle to the surface. Pipe slowly; you don't want to move the tip too fast and "stretch" the icing.
 Here's another view; you can really see the layers of the spring.
Neaten the ends with a fingertip that you've touched to the dusting pouch, if you need to.
 This part is tricky, and I think I could have done a better job of it. Switch to the #101 tip and pipe a shape a little smaller than a half-circle, starting from the inside and rotating the tip outward, with the wide side of the tip facing out.
 Pipe the other side in a similar fashion, but try to make this half-circle even smaller. Use the end of the #5 tip to punch that hole in the center, if a hole isn't there naturally. Keep a few of these on hand for crunching into, any time you need to win a few bar bets (um, no; don't do that). Pipe a bunch to decorate petits fours for your next punk rock tea party!

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