The holiday season is my favourite time of year. Each year, our friends take turns organizing and hosting an annual kids’ Christmas party at a local skating rink or pool. Two sets of parents take the lead in organizing the food, arranging for Santa to visit and all of the parents bring wrapped gifts for Santa to deliver to each of their respective children. The kids’ Christmas party has become a great holiday tradition and a fantastic time to catch up with friends.
This year I baked gingerbread cookies for the party. My daughter loved baking and decorating traditional gingerbread men and women. I tried my hand at some fancier gingerbread creations. Inspired by a number of cookie stencils I recently purchased online, I decided to create a number of royal icing stenciled cookies along with cookies stenciled with edible luster dust.
The tricky part about working with stencils is that they move around if not held firmly in place and the image can easily smudge when applying royal icing or edible luster dust. It’s super important to hold the stencil down firmly when stenciling and, as with all cookie decorating techniques, it takes practice to figure out what works best. The consistency of the royal icing also matters here. If it’s too thick, it’ll be too sticky to spread. If it’s too runny, the image will smudge as the icing will likely get under the stencil as you spread the icing with a mini spatula.
Here’s a quick photo tutorial showing how to create these royal icing cookies. Check out my Tried and True Royal Icing Recipe to make your royal icing. After flooding the cookies to create the base (in white or blue as shown in the photos) and once the cookies are dry (cookies need to dry for approximately 6 to 8 hours depending on the humidity in your environment – overnight is always best), your cookies are ready for stenciling. Since I was took the photos with one hand while stenciling with the other, the photos don’t show me holding down the stencil with 2 fingers but you definitely need to hold down the stencil firmly while spreading the royal icing with your spatula.
For a dry stenciling, the same applies with holding down the stencil and dabbing the luster dust on with a brush. To create a darker pigment, you’ll want to add a small drop of lemon extract or vodka to the luster dust before applying. It’s important that the luster dust isn’t too wet as it will invariably smudge.