WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
Mix Royal Blue with a hint of Violet to achieve the Deep blue/purple colour.
Mix Rose Pink and Violet to achieve the Grape colour.
Advanced, can be modified to beginner (1-3 colours) - intermediate by using simpler design and less colours
1-2 hours preparation, plus 24-48 hours drying time, piping time dependent upon experience
Step 1. Cover your cookie completely by flooding (colouring in, without overflowing) with white royal icing and allow to dry for 24-48 hours. (You can prepare coloured icing during this time - refer step 4)
Step 2. Take your image print out and stick it to a bright sunlit window. Place tracing paper over the top of the image and tape down for ease of tracing. Trace the outline of the image with your graphite pencil.
Step 3. On your dried cookie surface, place the tracing paper pencil side down. Carefully draw (or shade) over the lines of the traced image. This will transfer the line work to the cookie.
Step 4. Prepare your royal icing according to instructions and place in piping bags (this can be done the day before piping). Place a small amount of icing in your bowl, add a few drops of colour and mix in between additions to achieve a colour you are happy with.
Step 5. Start piping your design from the middle of the cookie. For this project begin at the eyes, and work your way out to the edges. This will minimise risk of damaging any icing by reaching across the cookie to pipe.
Allow 5-10 minutes (at this consistency) for the icing to set up (dry slightly) between colours, so they don't run into each other and blur your image. You will know it is set up when it starts to get a dull look to it, then it's ready to start the next colour beside it.
Use you tooth pick to pop any air bubbles that occur straight way, this will prevent craters (holes) in your icing as it dries. You can also use the toothpick to drag your icing to 'colour in' the points or sharp ends of the lion's mane.
Use a damp paint brush to tidy up any icing that's piped outside the lines accidentally.
Step 6. When finished piping allow to dry for 24-48 hours.
Step 7. To finish, pipe a small bead border in a no.2 tip around the edge to give it a neat finished look. This also tidies up any uneven looking edges that may occur. Allow the border to dry for 12 hours.
*ROYAL ICING STORAGE: Cover all your royal icing in cling wrap to avoid it setting up before you have a chance to pipe it. Royal icing can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a maximum of 48 hours. It will need to be mixed prior to use.
*ROYAL ICING MIXING: Mix your icing for 10 mins on the SLOWEST speed of your mixer. If you mix your icing too fast this will incorporate too much air and in turn you will get bubbles and craters in your icing, spoiling the look of your cookie. Do not whisk.
*COLOURING: Add only a couple of drops of colour at a time to royal icing. Adding too much at once to get a strong colour may affect the taste of your icing and possibly cause it to separate. As it's a concentrated food colour you do not need a lot. Allow the colour to develop over a few hours if you want a stronger colour, it will get darker over time.
* CONSISTENCY: 20 second icing consistency is like honey. Drag a butter knife through your icing and count to 20. When the surface of the icing becomes smooth between 15 and 20 seconds then you are ready to pipe. Add a couple of drops of water if its too stiff, or add a little more icing sugar if too thin to thicken it up.
*PIPING TIPS: No 2 tip is for outlining and filling piping of the larger coloured areas, the no 1 tip is for smaller details like the eyes and smaller coloured areas.
*POSTURE: If your hands are a little shaky, rest your arm or elbow on your work surface to help steady them whilst decorating.
*PRACTICE: Do 5 minutes of practice piping before you start the project, it always helps my piping hands get into the flow of things.
*PIPING BAGS: Seal the end of your piping bag with a rubber band so your icing doesn't make a mess everywhere.
*PIPING: Rest your piping bag tips under a damp towel while not being used, this prevents them from drying out and clogging.
*CLEAN PIPING TIPS: Always ensure your tip is clean when beginning to pipe, this helps in keep your piping looking neat.
*DRYING ICING: you can place cookies in front of a fan to assist even during if royal icing. Or you can use a dehydrator on 35 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes.