Consistency, Consistency, Consistency… The key to flooding Beautiful Cookies. Learn how to color, thin, and bag your royal icing. and enjoy a how to video showing you just what to do.
If you’ve ever tried to Flood a cookie you know how frustrating it is if your icing is too thick or too thin. Success decorating with Royal Icing comes down to consistency. It will make or break your love for decorating. This post is going to teach you all you need to know about achieving that perfect consistency EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!
So you’ve made and baked your Soft No-Spread Sugar Cookies, and your Soft Royal Icing is ready to be colored, thinned and bagged. Now what?
Coloring Royal icing
Icing should be colored at its thickest stage. Using a small spatula, transfer the desired amount of icing into a small transparent bowl (I use clear glass bowls). Straight out of the mixer is when you should color your icing. Make sure to use highly concentrated color such as gel food color. Add just a little bit at a time, so as to not over-saturate your icing.
Deep colors, such as red or black, should be colored slightly and then given time to develop. They will deepen as they have time to set. Red gets a deeper, truer color by being colored pink first, in my opinion.
For black icing, I recommend using any leftover colors mixed together as your base. Then you won’t have to add quite as much black food color to get your icing a nice deep black.
Another thing to be aware of is the fact that pinks fade when exposed to direct sunlight. If you leave your red or pink icing sitting on the table with the sun pouring in through the window, you will find that your color is going to fade. Try to keep your icing bags AND decorated cookies out of direct sunlight.
What do you need to prep Your Royal icing and start flooding your cookies?
- Gel Food Color
- Boo Boo Sticks or toothpicks
- Tipless Piping Bags
- A small Spray Bottle
- Clear Glass Bowls (I love these bowls, perfect size and durable)
- Small Spatulas (You can often find these in the dollar store or at Walmart)
- Bag Ties (these are my absolute favorite) or Larger Bags that you can tie the tops
- Wet Paper Towels/Lint Free Cloths, to cover your icing with
- A Cushy Dish Towel, to tap your bowl on
How do I determine the consistency of my icing?
There are a few different ways to determine what consistency your icing is at. The most common way is to draw a line in your icing with a knife or the edge of your spatula and count until the line disappears. However…
The Percussion Method
I prefer the Percussion Method. This method comes from LilaLoa. It is, yes I’m using this phrase AGAIN… a GAME CHANGER. You basically drag your spatula through your icing, and then tap your bowl of icing on the table until the line disappears, counting each individual tap. When teaching a class I also use the phrase “taps to the bowl”.
“I call this method “percussion” so that we can all sound like cookie decorating geniuses when we say it. Surprisingly, it works regardless of the size of the bowl or the amount of icing in that bowl. This is my preferred method…”-Georganne Bell
I love her! She finally spoke consistency in a way that started resulting in icing success. CONSISTENTLY!!! If your consistency is off, decorating will be frustrating. But if it is on point…. IT IS SATISFYING AND THERAPEUTIC! And this is what it is for me now, after YEARS of trying to figure it out!
|Thick Icing||Extra thick icing that is used for details that you want to stand out. (Such as fur, stars, flowers etc…) You’ll actually need to add powdered sugar to your Soft Royal Icing Recipe to achieve THICK Icing.|
|Icing used to pipe your dam, add detail and lettering to your cookie. After dragging your spatula though your icing the line you make will still be slightly visible after 7-8 taps to the bowl. Or if counting, the line will begin to disappear after 25 seconds. Amanda at Cookie Concepts describes this icing as kind of like toothpaste.|
|This is your one consistency icing. It can be used to pipe AND flood your cookie. A line drawn in a bowl of Medium Consistency Icing will disappear after 5 taps to the bowl. Otherwise known as 15 second icing.|
|This is your thin, shower gel like icing used to flood your cookies. Line should disappear after 3 taps to the bowl. Otherwise known as 10 second Icing.|
Step By step: How to color, achieve consistency & Bag Your icing
Flooding cookies is one of my favorite pass times. I find the creative process incredibly therapeutic! If you are stressed and anxious right now, I highly recommend this hobby. It takes a bit of discipline and patience to learn, but it’s worth it. Once you’ve conquered consistency, the rest comes naturally and your cookie decorating confidence is going to soar!
Happy Decorating! -Chels
C BAKER says
Hi! When thickening this recipe for flowers do you just add powdered sugar to a small amount and stir by hand or use the mixer? Thanks!
Yes, you would definitely need to thicken it up with more powdered sugar. This icing takes quite a bit to thicken up enough to pipe flowers. Might have better luck with your run of the mill royal icing for those delicate details.
Deb Schuett says
I love your royal icing! Works perfect for flooding. I get so many craters in my details with a 25 second flood. Do you have any suggestions for me?
Hi Deb, from everything I’ve read, craters are typically caused by humidity and air flow issues. When working on cookies that I want to prevent from cratering, I usually run a fan and place my cookies in front of it for the first 20 minutes or so. Often times this can prevent cratering. Not always though!
Theresa L Brown says
Chels, Do you have a video on how to pipe and flood for a newbie like me? I have learned so much already from you! The cookies turned out great! I am just waiting on some technique lessons before I make the soft RI. I also need to know the proper tips for cookies. TIA!
I am working on one. Hopefully in time for Valentines day baking. 🙂