Cookie Connoisseur Badge, Step 2
To complete Step 2 of the Cookie Connoisseur Badge we took a cookie decorating class at a local coffee shop! Emilee from Wildflour Cookie Co. taught us how to use royal icing in various colors to create borders and fill in the cookies. In cookie connoisseur terminology this is called “pipe and fill”. Emilee is beyond talented and her Instagram is pure joy. Go check it out for some cookie inspiration!
Step 2 of any badge is to learn from others. Taking an organized class is a great way to do this step if you can find one! Cookie decorating classes seem to be plentiful these days and are also offered as e-courses online. You could also take a class that teaches you how to bake various types of cookies.
We walked into the Brew Cafe in Lansing already pleasantly surprised. The vibes in this coffee shop were great. Roomy, cool wooden clad walls, and a couple of super nice baristas. We started by ordering coffee, then got settled into our seats for the class. Special shout out to the drink Kate order which was called Bantha milk – a cheeky nod to Star Wars.
We were already loving this experience and were ready to learn how to decorate some cookies like pros! Full disclosure, we were 100% prepared for our cookies to turn out like something on Netflix’s show Nailed It. If you haven’t seen this show, it is a must watch for a half hour of belly-laughs. It is so ridiculous – like a train wreck you can’t look away from.
The room was set up with multiple tables all laid out with our supplies: icing in piping bags, instruction sheets, a color photo of the cookies we were going to ice (the end goal of what the cookies should look like), eight cookies each, and a beautiful scribe, made by our instructor herself! The scribe (pictured below) is used to move the icing around to fill gaps and remove air bubbles. You can also use a toothpick for this!
First, we practiced piping on pieces of paper that had straight lines, squiggles, and circles on them. It was a bit scary at first but we jumped right in! Very quickly, we moved on to icing the individual cookies. Luckily there were two of each design, so we had a second chance to practice each of the steps. Our instructor demonstrated decorating two cookies, so we could watch each step twice.
We piped on one color at a time, first bordering the cookies, then filling in with more pressure on the piping bag. After one color dried a bit, we could go back and add another color next to it. The most nerve-wracking part was adding eyes, eyebrows, noses, and mouths. It felt like there was no going back on these parts if we messed them up, but in the end they turned out great! I am proud of our creations. It took us three hours to make our eight cookies but it was three hours of fun!
There was a good mix of adults and kids in the class. We found it interesting that the kids were much more creative than the adults! The adults followed the instructions to a “T” while the kids veered off and got inspired by the cookie shapes to make new designs.
The process was meditative for me, once I got the hang of it. I loved it so much that the very next night I made more sugar cookies and taught my husband! We had a ton of fun decorating cookies at home using the techniques Emilee taught us.
We asked a lot of questions, for example, where she buys her supplies including piping bags and food coloring that produces such deep, vibrant color. She also shared her preference for single use plastic vs. reusable piping bags. She found that reusable bags were stiffer for piping and harder to clean but tries to offset the waste by being sustainable in other areas of her baking business. We also asked about her piping bag filling and tying techniques.
If you’d like a tutorial on how to decorate cookies like this, here is a blog post and video describing the process. Also check out Emilee’s Instagram where she often posts videos of her decorating cookies. You can see her technique there!
For Step 3 of the Cookie Connoisseur Badge we hosted family for a cookie making party! We’ll share how we set up our party and how we made a few of our favorite cookies in our next post.
We want to hear from you! Have you decorating cookies with royal icing before? Are you self-taught or did you take a class? We would LOVE to see your cookie decorating photos. Message us on Instagram or Facebook or drop us a line here.