Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing (wet on wet technique)

As I browsed through SweetAmbs' site, my jaw slowly dropped further and further. I have never seen so many frosting techniques, especially executed with such precision and meticulous attention to detail. I was particularly smitten by the elegance and complexity of the sugar cookies. Sugar cookies- of all things to be impressed by! She is truly one of those bakers to aspire. 

Learning anything new can be daunting. When I read through her wet-on-wet royal icing technique last year, I closed the browser shaking my head. It couldn't be done, especially by mere mortal me! Wet-on-wet means using a base coat of royal icing and decorating it with additional pigments of royal icing. The key is to move quickly because once that base coat sets, there is no turning back. It's kind of like speed water coloring.

Eventually, curiosity out weighed intimidation and I made a run at it. They're not perfect, but it was a great experience with several lessons learned. Each cookie frosted gradually got better and better; you can easily see the progression just looking at an overhead shot. It's all about practice, baby!

Here are a few tips that may help if you ever try this style:

I found that working it in an assembly-line format was most efficient and least stressful. Each cookie was treated like a mini-project with full-attention until completed. There is no multi-tasking. Focus.

Make sure you have the right tools for you. Sweet Ambs recommends using two, Wilton tip #1 to frost the tiny flowers (one for dark red, one for pink). That definitely didn't work well in my kitchen! Instead, I worked entirely with the scribe tool. I did a drop of each color, mixed the colors, and wiped the scribe tool on a paper towel in between. It helped me to move quicker and with more control.

One mistake that I did make was in the order of the color application. Whatever shade is lightest should be your base flower layer to blend in with the white background. I did the dark pink first and you can see that slightly red hue glowing around some of the flowers. Next time!

And most importantly... use the right sugar cookie base. I wanted egg shaped cookies as these were for the Easter weekend; when I used the generic, store-bought dough, the cookies blossomed double in size. Doh! I should have thought ahead but I was trying to cut corners where possible. Look for a recipe that will hold it's shape in the oven. As with any sugar cookie... I love to sneak in a little lemon zest!

Have fun with the rest; add pearl dust or sugar pearls. Get funky with the borders. It's your creation so let it be known!

Though they are time consuming to frost, these cookies are an impressive feat. Check out the amazing talent of Sweet Amb's! You can find directions for this wet-on-wet technique on her site!