I took the plunge.
After years of getting by with icing my Christmas sugar cookies with a [simple] glaze rather than the more intimidating real thing, I finally decided to suck it up and run with the big dogs -- I made and decorated cookies with royal icing.
It's not that I haven't loved and had fun with several alternatives, it's just that I've discovered the potential of what can be created using royal icing, and it's hooked me in.
Specifically, there's a website out there in internet land that I've been stalking for a while, and it's pretty much responsible for my downfall. It's called bakeat350.com, and it simultaneously makes me feel inferior and inspired. The cookies created by Bridget at 350 blow me away. They're gorgeous.
And I want to make cookies like that!
Fortunately for the likes of me, there's also a very cool cookie tutorial available online called University of Cookie (again, created by the lovely Bridget and several other cookie decorating gurus). Over the past few weeks, I've watched every cookie video at U of C, and it's been a huge help.
And then I was ready. I had my Wilton tips and pastry bags all lined up and my meringue powder perched by my Kitchen Aid Queen of the Kitchen (aka, my mixer).
I dove in and started simple with a shamrock for Aidan's St. Patty's Day party at the preschool. I got better as I went, but it was a bumpy (literally) start. Getting the consistency of the flood icing to fill in the cookie outline is key, and mine was too thick the first night I tried things out. So I put away my stuff (cookie making is a HUGE mess, by the way) until the next day and tried again.
Overall, I was pleased with my first efforts. They're not even in the same universe as the cookies I strive to eventually be able to create, but at least I can say I've gotten that first batch out of the way. And I'm thinking a bunch of 4 and 5-year-olds probably won't be my toughest critics ...
... yeah, I'm a chicken. But I'm a royal icing-using, green dye under my fingernails, cookie-decorating chicken. Woo hoo!