Challenge #1 – Stencil Cookies

I chose the theme of winter for this little batch of cookies.  Because I roam around Hobby Lobby and Joann’s looking at everything for ideas, I already had a snowflake stencil I found in the scrapbooking aisles.  I colored my icing with pastel blue from the Wilton Icing Colors (gel) reserving a small bit of basic white icing to use for the snowflakes..

My recipe for royal icing is very simple:  4 cups of powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of powdered meringue (found at Hobby Lobby or Joann’s or some other baking supply) and 6 tablespoons of warm water.  This is from a recipe I found online.  This makes a very stiff royal icing.  So, you carefully add more water, a little at a time until  you get the consistency you want.  I used the undiluted icing for the piping around the cookie and then flooded the inside of that with a slightly thinned icing using what is known as 10 count royal icing (because it takes 10 seconds for it to flow back together).  Keep in mind, I’m an amateur at this and I’m not making these cookies to sell, so they aren’t perfect.

The smaller cookies are the one I made from scratch and re-cut and the larger one is from the packaged ingredients.  On the smaller cookies I piped an edge and flooded the center.  Then I worked with the icing with a toothpick until it was spread as evenly as possible across the cookie.  Shaking the cookie until it was smooth.  On the larger cookies I took a knife and spread the icing on there.  Again, shaking it until the icing was smooth.  The piped edge allows for thicker icing.

After the icing had completely hardened, I took my stencil and placed it on the cookie.  Holding it down I took my reserved white icing and with a spatula spread it across the stencil.  This takes some practice to get the stencil even.  And a thicker plastic might make a better impression.  My stencil was a bit thin and left a thin snowflake.  One more reason why I need to save up for a Silhouette.

After I had the stencil down I sprinkled the snowflake with white sanding sugar to give it a little sparkle.  And now my husband can quit sneaking cookies and just eat one if he so desires.

Final analysis:  The cookies from scratch are prettier as they are lighter in color after baking.  Because I’m slightly obsessive/compulsive I like re-cutting the cookies and having a nice, sharp shape despite the edge that’s not rounded by baking.  And practice makes perfect.  It takes time to master decorated cookies, but at least you get to eat your mistakes!