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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Royal Icing Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch (aka the wild canary) has been the official state bird of New Jersey since 1935. The male is bright yellow; the female's colors are more muted (as are the male's in the winter months). To pipe a flock of these sweet little birds, you'll need yellow, black and orange stiff consistency royal icing, round tips #12, #3 and #2, oval tip #55, petal tip #101, a flower nail, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, parchment paper squares, a glue stick, a black food-safe marker like an AmeriColor Gourmet Writer, and a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar. Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick. 
 Hold the #12 tip at a 45 degree angle to and just above the surface. Squeeze while pulling the tip slowly away. After about 1/2" stop pressure and pull the tip away. Touch a fingertip to the dusting pouch and tap the peak to round it.
 Allow it to dry for a few minutes. Use the #3 tip to pipe a tiny orange beak. Hold the tip against the surface, squeeze, and pull the tip away almost immediately. Adjust the beak with a dusted fingertip, if need be.
 Pipe two dots of black icing with the #2 tip.
 If you suddenly decide you'd prefer to have baby chicks over goldfinches, stop at this step. ;)
 Switch to the #55 tip and pipe some tail feathers. Overlap the body just a tiny bit to make sure they're firmly attached. I piped one in the middle, and then two slightly overlapping it. I tapped them where they attach to the body with a dusted fingertip.
 Switch to the #101 tip to pipe the wings. Hold the wide side against the body with the narrow side angled out. One should cross over the other where they meet in the back.
 Use the food-safe marker to draw in a tiny triangular crest between the eyes, starting at the nose, and tapering to just beyond the eyes.
 Peel away the parchment when the icing is dry, and use these goldfinches to decorate a dessert in honor of The Garden State.

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