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How to Make Royal Icing Transfers

How to Make Royal Icing Transfers

Royal icing transfers offer a great way to quickly add designs to a baked creation. The hardened royal icing can be piped in a myriad of designs and applied to baked goods like cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. They keep at room temperature for up to 3 weeks, and can be made ahead to add detail and layers to any baked dessert. Below are the basics of royal icing transfers, as well as some additional resources for finding royal icing transfer designs.

Step 1: Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet.

Step 2: Pipe your designs onto this sheet. If piping many of the same designs, it may help to print out a sheet of paper printed with the repeated design so that you can trace the pattern with your piping bag. Move the icing around with a toothpick or scribe to ensure that you're getting the shape and coverage you need.

Making white royal icing transfers

Step 3: Let the transfers firm up in a dry, room-temperature location for about 24 hours, or until they can be easily removed from the parchment paper.

Googly eye royal icing transfers

Step 4: Once you're ready to apply the royal icing designs to your cookie, simply pipe a dot of medium-stiff royal icing onto the back of your transfer and adhere to your cookie (or cake--these work great for cakes and cupcakes too!). It's easiest to adhere the royal icing transfers when the base frosting or icing on your dessert is still wet and hasn't fully set up.

Tips for royal icing transfers:

  • Be sure to make a few extra! While it's always a bummer when this happens, a few of your royal icing transfers are bound to break.
  • Test pipe your royal icing on a scrap piece of parchment paper before starting. You may need to adjust the consistency so that it's easy to pipe but not runny.
  • Don't pipe your transfers too thin, as they are susceptible to break when removing them from the parchment paper.
  • If your transfers are sticking to the parchment paper, they aren't dry. Wait for a few more hours to ensure that they are dry, or place the transfers under a fan to speed up the process.
  • Always use a stiff or medium-stiff royal icing consistency, as thinner consistencies will run and you'll lose your design details as they dry. Learn more about royal icing consistencies>>
  • If adding sprinkles or non pareils to your royal icing transfer, be sure to do that while the transfer is still wet, immediately after piping.
  • Use gel food coloring when dying your royal icing for transfers, as it will not affect the viscosity of your icing. Ann Clark's ultra-concentrated gel food coloring allows you to achieve bold, vibrant colors with just a few drops.

  • Monster eyeball rice crispy treats

    There you have it! Practice makes perfect with royal icing transfers, but once mastered they are an essential tool in any dessert artist's toolbox. Below are a few of our favorite places to get royal icing transfer pattern sheets:

    Sugar Dot Cookies
    The Cookie Countess
    The Flour Box
    The Colorful Cookie

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