Molly Slenker, who has been decorating cookies for about a year, is self-taught — but one look at her cookie creations will prove her skills are top-notch.
Slenker knows how to mix up icing of perfect consistency and more than that — she knows how to use it. From outlining cookies with a special piping to decorating them with edible pearls, she’s got plenty of sweet tips.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, use these terms, tips and recipes to transform your cookies into tasty works of art.
TERMS TO KNOW:
Piping: A thick icing that is used to outline or accent a cookie; it’s stiff enough to hold it’s own shape.
Flood: A more runny icing that is used to cover the surface of the cookie. Using the tip of the icing bottle or a toothpick will help spread the icing to smaller areas.
10-second icing: An icing that should “melt” back into itself within 10 seconds. It is harder to control, but spreads more evenly onto the surface of the cookie.
Icing dam/outline: Made from piped icing; used to hold the flood icing inside the boundaries of the cookie.
Wet-on-wet: Using a flood icing immediately following another flood icing to make decorations that do not add dimension — for example, marbling or polka dots.
RECIPE FOR ROYAL ICING
4 cups of confectioners sugar (1 lb.)
3 Tb. meringue powder
6 Tb. warm water
Adding flavoring is optional — do not add flavoring with oil.
Beat on low for 5 minutes. Then, beat on high for 5 minutes until peaks form and color is completely white (no yellow tint).
Add drops and stir gradually into icing. Make sure you let your icing sit for a few minutes (covered by a damp cloth so that it doesn’t crust), and gently stir again to get rid of air bubbles.
Note: Your icing will darken after 24 hours.
Store you icing either in the refrigerator or out in air-tight containers for up to two weeks. Colors will settle, so icing will need to be mixed again before use.
NO CHILL SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup confectioner sugar
2 to 3 tsp. almond or princess emulsion (or whatever flavoring you prefer). You might also split the flavoring with vanilla extract
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Bake at 375 for 7 to 8 minutes. No need to chill this recipe.
Additional information: Chilling dough will help keep the shape of your cookie. Also, freezing your cookies after you have cut them to the desired shape and put them into your pans will help them hold their form.
Using wax paper, parchment paper and silicone pads are helpful. Use as little flour as possible. The more flour you add, the more the cookie will spread.
Using perfection strips will help you roll out uniform cookies of your desired thickness.
Be sure to watch the video above that includes a step-by-step demonstration from Slenker.
“Have fun,” Slenker said. “If you make a mistake, it’s OK because you can eat it!”
To meet up with Slenker for more tips, check out the class schedule at Christy Marie’s, 83 E. Forest Avenue in Shrewsbury, Pa.