Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Royal Icing Shamrocks

In my ongoing quest to pipe something symbolic of the Olympics or the United Kingdom every night of the games, tonight Northern Ireland gets its nod with a shamrock (can you believe I didn't pipe these back on St. Patrick's Day? I was really into gum paste then). All you need to pipe shamrocks are green stiff consistency royal icing, a flower nail, parchment paper squares, a glue stick, round tip #3 or #4, petal tip #104 (or #101 if you want to make smaller shamrocks), a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, and a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch. Start by sticking a parchment square to the nail with a dab from the glue stick. 
 Hold the petal tip almost flat against the surface with the wide end in the middle. Pipe the first of three heart-shaped leaves. Increase pressure when forming the two rounded outer edges of the heart. The wide end of the tip should move no more than about a quarter of an inch from the center toward the edge and then back to its starting place in the center while you're piping the leaf.
 Here's a side view…
 …and a view from the other side. Keep the outer, narrow edge of the tip just above the surface to give it that 3-dimensional quality.
 Tuck the tip under and alongside the first leaf and pipe the second leaf…
…and then the third. Touch a fingertip to the dusting pouch and use it to neaten up any edges that don't look right. 
Here's another side view. 
 Switch to a small round tip (#3 or #4) and pipe a short, curved stem. Allow your shamrocks to firm up, then peel away the parchment. File this idea away for St. Patrick's Day, for sure!

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