Always ensure your baking equipment is squeaky clean before mixing up the cookie icing. If any oil or grease gets into the icing it may not reach the correct consistency.
Pipe the outline with off-peak/piping icing: this should form standing (not stiff) peaks when you lift a palette knife out of the bowl.
To pipe the outline, touch the nozzle to the biscuit, apply pressure then hold the nozzle approximately 2.5cm (1”) above the biscuit as you pipe. Lower the nozzle and touch the biscuit again to finish.
After piping the outline, fill it in with run-out icing. To test the consistency, draw a line through the icing with a palette knife: this should disappear in 8–10 seconds.
To fill the biscuit, start from the outline and work towards the centre. Make sure you work quickly so that the icing dries with a smooth finish.
Liquid colours are best for pastel and mid-tone colours, dust colours are best when you need a stronger, bolder shade. When using dust colours, allow 30 minutes for the colour to develop in the icing.
If you’re creating a detailed design, use a food colour pen to draw guidelines onto the biscuit first. This will make it easier to replicate a design on several biscuits or create symmetry on one design.
For an ‘invisible’ outline, add a little brown food colouring to the piping icing to make it the same colour as the biscuit. Use a narrow nozzle such as a no. 1 or 1.5 to pipe the outline.
Drying the icing under a heat source such as a desk lamp will help retain a sheen on the icing.
Wait until the icing is fully dry before adding final details such as piped pearls or the recipient’s name.
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