I have to admit, I wasn't sure this was going to work. But these Christmas Stocking Sugar Cookies came out exactly as I had envisioned them!
A few posts ago, I mentioned my favorite way to overcome red food coloring issues is to top 'light red' royal icing with red sanding sugar. [Read about it here.] Well, I knew that trick would be essential to this cookie project, a big red Christmas Stocking, but I also knew I wanted to pipe holly leaves and berries on the stocking too. Piping small details over the rough texture of sanding sugar is not impossible, but definitely doesn't yield the most pristine details. So I wondered if I could make a Holly Royal Icing Transfer, place it on the stocking's not-quite-red royal icing while it is still wet, and then top the whole thing with red sanding sugar. Then, in theory, when I shake the excess red sanding sugar off the cookie, it wouldn't stick to the holly decoration, since the holly had already hardened!
[Incidentally, plan b would have been to pipe the holly decoration directly onto the cookie, let it set, and then fill in the red around it. I wanted to avoid this for two reasons: 1) because I like to 'overfill' the base of the cookie so it looks poofy, and I wanted the holly to be a small detail... it would have gotten swallowed up by the thick base layer of red icing! And 2) because I wanted the holly to have some dimension of its own, with flat leaves and round berries!]
Well, guess what. The transfer idea worked!!
As I mentioned, I really didn't think it would, so I don't have the best pictures of what I did to make the Holly Royal Icing Transfers. [You can read more about my first attempt at royal icing transfers in an older post here.] The main thing I did different this time was pipe the RI transfers onto silicone mats, instead of parchment paper. A lot of bloggers recommend taping down the parchment to make it super flat, but my parchment paper had ripples and waves no matter what I did. The silicone mats are much heavier & stay super flat. Also in my previous post, I attached the RI transfers to the cookies after the base layer of icing had already dried, but this time, I needed to drop them into the icing while it was still wet.
To make the transfers, I piped the outline for the leaves and berries in white royal icing. Once the outline set, I filled in the leaves with green royal icing, and the berries with red royal icing. I made a small batch of a true, dark red, with a thick consistency, so they would really look like berries!
This picture shows the dimensions of the berries better...
*Do Not Touch* them until they are completely dry (I waited 24 hours). They are super delicate, but once they are completely set & hardened, they will slide right off the silicone mat & are ready to go!
Meanwhile, bake the Christmas Stocking cookies!
Once the transfers are all completely dry & the cookies are cooled, it's time to put everything together.
Make the not-quite-red royal icing using the 10-second rule for consistency, so it will be perfect for piping the outline & filling the base. (Actually, you can see I used the darker red icing that I had made for the berries for some of the stocking outlines.)
Working with one cookie at a time, while the base is still wet, carefully place a holly RI transfer straight down onto the not-red icing.
Pour the red sanding sugar over the not-red icing & gently shake off the excess. Do this over a clean bowl, so you can re-use the excess sugar.
Now you have a beautiful red color for the stocking! Once the red dries, add the white trim. If the trim was staying plain white, I would have added clear sanding sugar to the trim to match the texture of the stocking.
But, these were for my cousins' Christmas Eve dinner, so I was adding names to the trim! I piped the names with green royal icing, using a small (Wilton #1) round tip.
All wrapped up...
Don't the cookies look amazing on the place settings?!
I am in awe of this tablescape.
Thanks to my cousin Lauren, for letting me use her beautiful pictures on my blog. And a very special thanks to my cousin Anne-Marie, for displaying my cookies on her gorgeous Christmas Eve table!
Welcome to my Sweets Blog!
Welcome to my Sweets Blog!
I've been looking for a way to share my sweet creations with everyone, and I think I have found it--here is my sweets blog! As I experiment with delicious desserts & sweet treats, I will post pictures, recipes, and how-to tips & tricks. Hope you enjoy reading about my sweets as much I enjoy eating them!