For Her Highness’s princess birthday party I wanted to carry the theme through in more than just the castle, so I decided to decorate some cookies to match. I thought about doing elaborate royal icing decorations like last year’s mermaid cookies, but eventually came to my senses and realized that with the extra-complicated cake I just wasn’t going to have the time. Instead, I decided to cover the cookies in fondant (like my Victorian cameo cookies) and try a new technique for decorating– the stencil.
Cookie stencils are very popular these days among decorators as a way to get an elegant, easily-reproducible design. I picked up a stencil set on Etsy that included a crown and a fleur de lis, figuring I could use both and still stay in theme.
The technique is simple– cover your cooled cookie with a base layer of icing or fondant (I use a 50/50 mixture of corn syrup and water to adhere it), then lay the stencil down and spread a thin layer of stiff (very stiff!) royal icing over it. Smooth the icing down, then lift the stencil straight up for the best edge definition. Repeat.
My chocolate cutout cookie recipe is here, and my recipe for cream cheese fondant is here. If you roll out the cookie dough to about 1/4″, the fondant recipe makes about twice as much fondant as you need, so feel free to adjust your proportions if you like.
I only needed a very small amount of royal icing, so I used a small batch recipe to make just about a cup, which was plenty. It should be thick and stiff, and not move a hair when you invert your spatula. Think spackle.
Small Batch Royal Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbs. meringue powder
4 tbs. water
Stir all ingredients until combined, and beat with an electric mixer until stiff, at least 4 minutes on high. It’ll lose its shine over time, which is what you want to see.
Position your stencil over your cookie and hold it down with your fingertips. Spread a blob of icing onto the stencil, trying to press it down flat so you don’t get under any of the nooks and crannies. Then, using a small offset spatula, carefully scrape off most of the icing, leaving a thin layer behind. Lift the stencil straight up off of the cookie to avoid smearing your edges.
You’ll most likely need to wash your stencil after each use, which can be a hassle, but it helps keep your edges neat. If you’re really careful and have a relatively uncomplicated design, you may be able to get 3-4 uses between washings.