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Take your cookie decorating skills to the next level with marbling

Wow relatives, friends and yourself with royal icing

If your holiday cookie decorating attempts look nothing like the photos in the magazines and cookbooks, don’t feel like you are a failure, try a different method. Marbling with royal icing can produce fabulous, Pinterest-worthy cookies.

Natalia Gray, a custom artist with Gray Atelier, gives us a few tips on how to decorate your cookies in no time at all by using the marbling technique.

“Marbling creates such a dramatic effect. It looks very artistic but it is easy enough that a young child can do marbling,” Gray said.

The hardest part about decorating cookies with this technique is making the royal icing, but it’s worth it. This type of frosting is easy to work with, it sets quickly and it doesn’t turn rock hard when it comes time to eat the cookie.

“For marbling, I like to take a scoop of icing into a small bowl and add a few drops of lukewarm water at the time until it reaches what we call “10 second consistency,” which means it takes approximately 10 seconds for swirls to settle down, for the icing to be smooth and flat in the bowl again after swirling,” Gray said.

To create the marbling effect, just drop one or two drops of food coloring into a bowl that meets the “10 second consistency” standard and swirl with a toothpick. Gently dip your cookie in, then lift and tap the cookie a few times to remove excessive icing. Flip the cookie over and tap a few times on the table and let it set on a cooling rack or countertop.

Your works of art will be preserved once the royal icing dries, making them easy to transport to a party or cookie exchange. Watch today’s video to get more instruction and the recipe for royal icing. Or join Gray for a cookie decorating class at Bonfire Brewing on Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m.

The best part is, you can’t fail at cookie decorating. “If you make a mistake, get rid of the evidence by just eating the cookie,” Gray said.

Royal Icing:

3 tablespoons meringue powder (Gray uses Wilton, available at City Market)

4 cups of powdered sugar – 10x is the best for fine grain

3 tablespoons lukewarm water, add approximately 8 tablespoons more until frosting reaches the desired consistency

Gel food coloring 

Mix 3 tablespoons meringue powder with 3 tablespoons lukewarm water, add one tablespoon at the time. It will be very lumpy at first. Sift powder sugar – a very important step. In a standing mixer, using paddle attachment, mix together meringue mixture and sifted sugar. It will be very lumpy. Keep adding 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water at a time. You are looking for a toothpaste consistency. Mix approximately 5-7 minutes on medium speed.

It is also helpful if you continue mixing the icing with a spoon for a few minutes. It helps to remove unwanted air bubbles caused by the electric mixer.

For marbling, just drop 1-2 drops of food coloring into a bowl that meets the “10 second consistency” standard and swirl with a toothpick. Gently dip your cookie in, then lift and tap the cookie a few times to remove excessive icing. Flip cookie over and tap a few times on table to get frosting to set. Let dry on wire rack.


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