I decided to set the cookies in the fridge for the night before decorating. I did this for two reasons. The first reason was for the cookies to settle and be chilled in order to hold the icing better. The second reason was to simply give myself a break so I could concentrate on making the cookies look GOOD without filling rushed or overwhelmed by doing it all in one day.
The Royal Icing recipe I used for outlining and flooding (add a few more drops of water to successfully “flood”)
(from Bake at 350)
(This will cover 2-3 dozen 3.5 inch cookies in 2 colors; I usually double this recipe.)
4 TBSP meringue powder
scant 1/2 c. water
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp light corn syrup
few drops clear extract (optional)
1. Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy.
2. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. (Do NOT skip the sifting!)
3. Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired. ( I think the corn syrup helps keep the icing shiny.)
4. Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form.
(You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat.
Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings.
This “stiff” icing is perfect for outlining and even for building gingerbread houses and monogramming. To fill in your cookies, add water to your icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of syrup. This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called “flooding.”
More information from Bake at 350 on making icing Black
More information from Bake at 350 on making icing Red
Tip: make sure your outline is dry and HARD before flooding…. I had many cookies that leaked out over the edges.