Thursday, December 06, 2007

Decorating Icing (Page 681)

  • Date: Thursday, December 6, 2007 -- 8pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Chris, Cornelia, Kelly, Becky, Michelle, Mike M, Teresa, Paul K, Beth, Lauren K, Jeremy, Ayelet, Michael L, Ann, Daniel L, Kent, Sue, Allan, Ann E, Jim, Marcia, Matty, Vladimir, Kitty, Muriel, Marc, and Tricia
  • Recipe Rating: B+


In a continued attempt to do some Christmas baking, I made the gingerbread cookies from The Book. This is the icing that goes with them. It's hard to review this. It is royal icing, which, on the one hand, is not particularly delicious. But on the other hand it is remarkably useful. It pipes easily and smoothly and then after a few hours, turn to rock. Want to glue something with edible glue? Royal icing is the way to go. What makes gingerbread houses structurally sound? Royal icing. How do they make those rock-hard frosting flowers that you see on cakes? Royal icing. What kind of frosting lasts so long that you can hang cookies on the Christmas tree and then eat them weeks later? Royal icing. So it has its advantages. The disadvantage: it's rock hard and tastes like nothing but sugar. (Actually I'm not sure the tasting like sugar part is really a disadvantage...). This royal icing recipe tasted like every other royal icing recipe (they are essentially all the same). Will I make it again? Probably. Sometimes you just need royal icing. It is completely delicious? Well, no. Does it make adorable cookies? Well, yes. What I'm trying to say is this: it all depends on what you want from your frosting.

Here is the recipe.

Once, years ago, I was busy in my kitchen making chocolate truffles when Mike called. He wanted me to go with him to a coffee shop to hang out and do some work. So I hurriedly finished my truffles, threw on some clean clothes, and was headed out the door when I thought, "It's possible I have some chocolate on me. Perhaps I should look in the mirror." So I did. And what I saw staring back at me was a face streaked with melted chocolate. I cleaned up before I left, but I regret it slightly -- it would have brought Mike so much joy to see me accidentally leave the house like that.

I was thinking of this tonight because a few hours after decorating 3 dozen gingerbread cookies, I happened to touch my face. It was sticky. Looking in the mirror I saw that I had somehow gotten a small amount of frosting mixed with a huge amount of red food coloring on my face. Without thinking, I began rubbing it off. This would work with chocolate. With food coloring, however, all I managed to succeed in doing was getting half my face dyed red. Now, this is not that watery food coloring you buy in the grocery store -- I use the serious stuff. The stuff used by cake makers. It is thick, and super concentrated. It doesn't wash off easier. So now half my face is red, is a phenomenally unflattering way. If only Mike could be here to laugh at me!

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