Saturday, December 29, 2012

Royal Icing Flamingo OR Swan

I had a hard time naming this post, because the above photo looks like a mashup of a flamingo AND a swan. I would have called it "flamingo" except I forgot to hook the beak over, and I would have called it "swan" if it was white. With some minor adjustments, you can pipe either one with just a few simple tools. You'll need a round #12 tip, an oval #55 tip, white or pink stiff consistency royal icing, a glue stick, a flower nail, a Styrofoam block, parchment paper squares, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch, round toothpicks, and black food coloring like AmeriColor's Soft Gel Paste. 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 45 degree angle to the surface. Squeeze out a ball, then move it along while decreasing pressure to form a teardrop shape. Stop pressure and pull the tip away. Touch your fingertips to the dusting pouch and adjust the shape of the icing with them if need be.
 On a second piece of parchment, pipe a shape like a question mark for the head and neck. Add a little extra shot of icing to the top for the head, then blend the icing with a dusted fingertip.
 Allow the icing to firm completely, then attach the head to the body at the base of the neck with a small amount of icing from the #55 tip.
 Add dots of black food coloring for eyes with the tip of a round toothpick that you've smashed against the countertop to give it a flat end. Pipe these in pairs for a very cute Valentine's Day cupcake topper (or an homage to John Waters' Pink Flamingos).

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