Friday, February 6, 2009

Glaze for Sugar Cookies

Glacé Icing

1lb powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 C)
1/4 C + 2T C whole milk (low-fat actually works, but use whole if you can)
1/4 C + 2T light Corn Syrup
1 t extract (I use almond because I use almond in my sugar cookies)

With a whisk, combine sugar and milk until smooth (no lumps!) Then stir in corn syrup and extract.

You will use this same recipe for both glazing and piping. The way it is right now is the consistency you want for glazing. It's smooth and thin, like in the picture below. It easily runs off the whisk in a pretty thin drizzle.

To prepare the icing for piping, you just add more powdered sugar. Just eyeball it. You can't really mess it up because if it's too thick you just add more milk and if it's to thin, you add more powdered sugar. I add it in small amounts until it's a good consistency. For me, it's when it gets to a point where it's relatively hard to whisk it by hand. When I pick up the whisk, it still runs off, but in a very slow, thick stream now, like this:

Take your glazing icing and separate it into bowls if you want to color it. I decided to do red (more pink, but I love it!), green, and blue. And I left my piping icing white. Use gel food coloring (you can find it at craft or cooking stores) for more intense colors.

There are a few ways to use icing like this. One way is to just glaze the cookie and leave it like that. I'm going to glaze it and then pipe a decoration on top. So the first step is to glaze. Take a small spoon and drop a spoonful of glaze onto a cookie. (Do one at a time, I'm just doing 3 for picture-taking-fun)

Then take a small spoon (baby spoons work great) and gently spread it out to the edges of the cookie. If you want the cookie completely covered, you could just hold it by the bottom and dip it in, then place it over a rack to let the excess drip off.

You need to wait for the icing to set before you pipe on top of it. It doesn't have to be completely dry, but just set on top. An hour or two will probably be enough, but it depends on humidity and everything, so just barely touch the top and don't smash the glaze because it will probably still be soft underneath. If it's dry to the touch you can go ahead and decorate.

With your piping icing (the thicker stuff) in a pastry bag (I just used a plain, round tip), just draw on your design. I started doing little snowflakes and pretty much fell in love with them. These little cuties are about an inch and a half in diameter. How adorable are they?? I just get happy every time I look at this picture.

The next method is to do do the piping first, and then fill in with the glaze. So for these shapes below, I just took my pastry bag and piped the white icing around the edges.

Great Tip: when you do dots, or when you start or finish a line, you may get a little peak of icing. If you try to smash it down, it will stick to your fingers and then you'll make a big mess and maybe say a naughty word. Just get your finger wet and gently press down. It won't stick and all of your problems will be solved.

You can fill them soon after outlining. The piping will act as a dam and hold the glaze in. So just drop a spoonful of glaze in the middle of the cookie and with a small spoon, or clean paint brush, or toothpick for small spaces, gently spread the icing out until it fills the cookie in.

While the glaze is wet, it's kind of like paint. You can have fun combining different colors and swirling around for cool patterns. In these ones I just used a toothpick to make designs.

The last method is to outline the cookies with piping, then fill them with glaze, and then pipe again on top. You could then color different piping bags and decorate cookies like snowmen, santas etc. I think monograms are really cute too, especially for things like baby and wedding showers. Here's some letters I did. Oooh, or how about an ABC theme for a toddler's birthday party? That would be cute too.

If you're going to do this method, it may seem like a lot of steps. To break it up, you could bake your cookies one night and put them in an air-tight container. Then the next day glaze them and the next day give them away. Or if you ice them in the morning, they might be dry enough to stack and pack that night. I tested my cookies, and on the third day they were still soft and super yummy.

And speaking of birthday parties...
this is for someone special today :)

No matter which method you use, the glaze will need to dry completely overnight.

* And FYI, I'll post my sugar cookie recipe next week. It's a great one for cookie cutters!
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