Instead of bright orange jack-o-lantern cookies, I decided to color my sugar cookies like the beautiful heirloom pumpkins that are all the rage these days. If your icing tinting experience is limited to the squeeze tubes you find at the grocery store, it has probably resulted in bright, generic and almost electric looking colors.
The trick to mixing great looking, muted, natural looking colors is adding the complimentary color... huh? For instance, if you are making blue, I always add a little touch of orange. It provides a neutral tone to the otherwise bright blue. As a result, the color will look a little more sophisticated and natural. Below, I've provided the step-by-step formula for each of the pumpkin colors.
SUGAR COOKIES :
TIPS & TOOLS
While you can use grocery store food coloring, you'll have more options and better results with the paste colors found at specialty bakery supply stores. They are more concentrated with more vivid color options - meaning you only use a small amount to avoid watering down your royal icing (which can cause bleeding). Here is a set of Paste Food Coloring you'll need from Williams-Sonoma - set of 5 colors (all you should need) for $15.
Another one of Everyday Essentials that I use in my kitchen are Disposable Pastry Bags. Of course, you can invest in very nice cloth pastry bags, which I did, then never cleaned out and were ruined. I LOVE Disposable Pastry Bags. I even use them without Pastry Tips - I just snip off a tiny bit of the end and go. Here is a link to a set of 10 for $5 from Williams-Sonoma.
Mixing Royal Icing Colors :
Here is what it looks like when it is finished.
- Royal Icing divided into separate bowls for each color. Make sure you keep an extra bowl of white to fix any mistakes.
- Paste Food Coloring
- Ice Cream Scoop (one of my Everyday Essentials) makes transferring the sticky icing into bowls and bags easier
- 2 drops of Orange
- 1/2 drop of Green
- 1/2 drop of Yellow
- Add 2 drops of Red to the Pale Orange Color
- 1 drop of blue
- 1/2 drop of yellow
- 1/2 drop of orange
- 1/2 drop of brown
As you can see from the actual pumpkins in the photo, they are a great match!