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Self-Catering your Wedding – The Best Resources for Royal Icing Sugar Cookies

In my last self-catered wedding reception post on practicing your chosen dishes, I said my next post would be about great cookie decorating resources. Here they are!

The Best Royal Icing & Sugar Cookie Resources

Royal icing sugar cookies are very popular, but I think they’re a bit more classic than highly-trendy macrons, macaroons, and meringues. Oh, and cupcakes. I know a lot of people are still doing cupcake wedding cakes, but I’ve read the cupcake trend is on the way out. I think decorative sugar cookies are more enduring because they’re individual works of art and completely customizable. Who doesn’t love customizable, especially at their wedding?

When purchased online or locally, decorated sugar cookies are usually several dollars each. The ingredients aren’t particularly expensive, but they are time consuming creations! If you want to make your own cookies and haven’t done it before, I highly recommend planning for at least two practice batches. I made more than that, mostly because I just kind of jumped right in the first time and didn’t read enough tutorials or watch enough YouTube videos! The practice paid off, though. It helped me take my cookies from this embarrassing situation:

first attempt at cookies

To this much more appealing batch:

leaf and luau cookies

Sugar cookies are a delightful dessert and/or favor option, and I’m very glad we decided to make them for our self-catered wedding. I couldn’t have done it without lots of research and the wonderful tutorials posted by other bloggers! The pictures were used by permission, and I haven’t used pictures, just links, for folks I haven’t heard back from.

Glory of Glorious Treats has recipes and tutorials for a variety of cookies, cakes, and other desserts. Her beautiful “luau” cookie tutorial was very important to me – I ended up using the design at our wedding reception! Her tutorials include a variety of techniques, including these beautiful brushed flowers. Wouldn’t they be great at a wedding or shower?

Spring Brush Embroidery Cookies from Glorious Treats

When it comes to using royal icing, I learned that consistency is key – icing consistency, that is! How thick or thin you make the icing has a huge impact on your design, and sometimes it can be difficult to convey consistency and fluidity in just photos. That’s why I love Amber’s blog, SweetAmbs. Not only does she make gorgeous cookies, but she also has video decorating tutorials! She has a combination of both free and paid, premium tutorials. Luckily for folks hoping to self-cater a wedding, she also has a gallery section devoted to wedding cookies. Aren’t these eyelet lace cookies beautiful? They’re just one of many great wedding cookies ideas on her blog!

Eyelet Lace Cookies from SweetAmbs

A third blog I learned a lot from is Sweet Sugar Belle. She regularly posts amazing cookies and her “Cookie Basics” category is a must-read with posts on how to perfect the cookies, themselves, and the importance of icing consistency. She also shares a lot of great tips for how to make filling icing bags easier, setting up icing bags for less mess, and more. I haven’t heard back yet with permission to share a photo, so you’ll have to click on over to see her work!

I didn’t see this one before our wedding, but it’s a great tutorial on how to make your own disposable parchment paper piping bag on Kleinworth & Co. It also shows you how to use it with a coupler and decorating tip! I know there were a couple times when I had to swap colors out of a bag to add accents and that was pretty annoying. This disposable option could have solved my problem!

Parchment Decorating Bag from Kleinworth & Co

Although I looked at other baker’s work, too, these blogs were definitely the most helpful for me while I was learning how to make sugar cookies and royal icing. I’m by no means a professional, but people asked to take the extra cookies home from our reception so I think they were tasty and pretty enough!

Of course, I always love an excuse to browse Pinterest! If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few great cookie decorating boards:

Cookie 101 – Decorating, Icing, Sugar Cookie Recipes 

Cookie Decorating Tips

Cookie Decorating

I also couldn’t have made all those cookies without a couple very important items (excluding the piping bags and tips, of course!). One of them is my KitchenAid Standing Mixer. If you don’t have one, you’re probably sick of everything on the internet saying you need one, but I don’t think royal icing is possible without one. If you don’t have one and don’t feel up to the expense, see if a friend has one or if you can talk someone into sending an early wedding present your way. =)

Of course, you’ll also need food color. For royal icing, it’s best not to use the liquid food color you can find at the grocery store. It changes the icing consistency and doesn’t even come in great colors! Instead, look for higher-quality gel food coloring. You may be able to find it at a craft store, but, if not, Amazon has the set I used: the AmeriColor Student Set. The colors are great and Amazon tends to have it for about half its regular retail price. Even though I used the blue and teal heavily for multiple practice batches of cookies and cake, I still have food coloring left over!

The other piece of equipment you’ll really need is a good, heavy duty baking sheet. I tried speeding things up by swapping back and forth between my “nice” cookie sheet and a cheapo one, and the cookies on the filmy sheet tended to burn and cook unevenly.

 And there you have it – my favorite resources for sugar cookies and royal icing! I couldn’t have done it without these helpful blogs and favorite kitchen gadgets.

natashal

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