Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – a time for sweet thoughts, treats and delicate lacy valentines. OK, many of us will never receive those lacy ones, probably comical ones these days, if any at all. But we can still dream of those from days gone by. Now keep those sweet thoughts and turn them into special ways to embellish your cakes, cookies or maybe a candy heart plaque.
The delicate brush embroidery design is a great way to dress up your treats. It is an elegant and very simple way to create an intricate looking special treat. You’ll be surprised how easy it is, but it’s also very impressive and intimidating to those who don’t know how to achieve it on their creations.
You can keep it simple to start, using one color. A white design on a white fondant cake would be suitable for a very elegant occasion such as Valentine’s Day or even a wedding cake! By piping a light colored or white design on a colored or even dark chocolate cake or cookie, you’ll create a more dramatic statement with your creation. If you’re up for the challenge, try a more detailed design, using several colors.
Let’s get started…it’s easy to start with soft royal icing on a fondant covered plaque or cake, or even a color-flowed cookie if you’re starting simple. Thin down one cup of royal icing using piping gel (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons). It should be a soft consistency but still be able to hold shape-keeping dimension and fine lines, not really runny. On your prepared surface (fondant or color-flowed is the easiest to start with), mark your design. It’s easy to use a flower cookie cutter, Flower Cut-Out™ or any shape you choose. Imprint the cutter on fresh fondant or take a toothpick and trace/score it into the surface. You could use Fine Tip Edible FoodWriters™ as long as the color won’t show through the icing. If you can freehand a design, that’s fantastic.
Work with a small bag, usually I cut my parchment triangle in half to make a small bag. Use a tip 2 or 3 for outlining. Tip 3 will give you a thicker line of icing which might be needed for larger, more open designs and it’s easier to use when first starting out. You’ll also need a flat tip brush, small container of water and a paper towel. (OK, I use a shot glass for this part. It’s weighted, so it won’t tip over when in use and just the right size.)
Put a small amount of icing in the parchment bag with tip 2 or 3. Work with one petal at a time. Pipe an outline around the outside petal and with a damp brush, pull the icing toward the center. Be careful not to brush through the whole width of the icing line. Leave a little icing on the outside edge. If by chance you do cut through it and lose the outline, re-pipe a little icing. No one will know!
Continue piping and pulling the icing toward the center. Always work from the outside of a design toward the center. Always wipe any icing residue from the brush, keeping the bristles clean and just damp for each petal pulling.
You can also use this technique on buttercream cakes once the icing has set and is dry to the touch. You can use thinned buttercream the same way. And if you are into chocolate plaques, try it using various colored melted candy. If your melted candy is a little thick, thin it down with a little solid vegetable shortening.
Brush embroidery makes a beautiful presentation for someone very special. No one special, do it for yourself! See how easy it is and what a good feeling you’ll have when you know…YOU CAN DO IT!
Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you make a special treat for someone special and don’t forget…
YOU Are SOMEONE Special! So you can make it for yourself too!