Bull or Heifer (but not mine, just so we’re clear)

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It’s so interesting the things that have come about this year. 2020, you’re sure keeping us on our toes. So one of the interesting things is the debate about gender reveals. Some love them and others think it’s wrong. I’m not sure why it’s wrong. I think it’s fun. 

A friend of mine put out a Facebook request for cookies for a gender reveal. Someone mentioned me and that friend hit me up. Asked if I’d be willing to do them. Of course.

My sugar cookie recipe is something I’ve crafted through trial and error. Plus trying different cookies. One thing I’ve learned about doing sugar cookies is to refrigerate your dough. If you don’t, you’ll get frustrated. It will stick to everything. Plus a cold cookie dough bakes flatter and they’ll hold their shape better.

I wrap my dough into squares or rectangles in plastic wrap. I divide it into two squares. Then when I’m rolling out the dough, I work with half or a little more at a time. I try to keep my dough as cold as possible. I also work on parchment paper. That helps cut down on some of the extra flour needed to be able to roll the dough out. Having to add less flour means I don’t dry my cookies out.

Royal Icing

Royal icing contains 3 ingredients. Well… technically 4 if you include water or flavoring. Powdered sugar, Meringue powder, water, and flavoring. The flavoring isn’t necessary, but I use vanilla and almond flavoring in mine.

When my initial Royal Icing recipe is made, it is very thick. Thick used for writing or doing very detailed work that will hold it’s shape.

Water thins it out. Most every video I have ever watched, they use a spray bottle and say that’s enough. Maybe I use a different recipe. To get mine to flood stage (how you fill the top of the cookie) I have to add a couple tablespoons of water. The water temperature doesn’t totally matter, but I’ve read that warm water works better than cold. I’ve done both. I don’t really notice a difference.

So to figure out consistency, you do the ribbon test. Let it fall off the spatula. Count slowly while it feathers back into the icing to figure out your consistency. 20 is closer to writing consistency, 10 is closer to flood consistency.

Meringue Powder

Meringue Powder is a powdered version of egg whites with other things added to it. As long as you keep oil away from it (butter, veg oil, even oils from flavorings), this will help the icing dry hard. So it is always best to totally clean all bowls and utinsels before making royal icing. You also have to keep it in air tight containers while not in use or it will dry hard.

Food Coloring

The best food coloring to use is gel. Liquid adds too much liquid and thins out your icing. Plus a Gel icing will allow your color to be deeper/darker with less. It is more concentrated. 

Icing Set Up

It is best to put your tip on the piping bag before you fill the bag. Roll your piping bag over a cup to give you “octopus” hands. Basically, this gives you more hands to be able to fill the bag.

A Tip 00, 1, or 2 is best for writing.

Tip 3 is used for flooding.

Decorating the cookies

They wanted Bull or Heifer cookies. I chose to make pink and blue, then use the other color to write the word. I went with bibs and frilly squares. I made the same amount of each cookie.

The Results Are In

And in case you wondered… They are having a…

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