If you are new to cookie decorating, you'll need the obvious pieces of equipment: rolling pin, cookie cutters, baking sheets, decorating bags and tips, etc. Sweet Sugarbelle has put together a very thorough list here with all the basics.
However, there are a few pieces of equipment that I HAVE to have in my kitchen. They aren't made by Wilton or some of the other cake/cookie decorating companies. They are everyday items that have made a big impact in what I do! Let me share them with you!
1. Plastic Knives: You know you got 'em- the leftover silverware from the birthday, graduation, and holiday parties from last year. So put them to use!!
Use a plastic knife to scrape out your icing bottles.
Make interesting textures! Run a plastic knife through a layer of stiff royal icing to create a wood grain texture. Then use the knife's edge to define the edges of the boards. Mix it up by using different plastic knives- the teeth might be different sizes or spaced differently. Check out the pic of the knives above to see this! 'Betcha never noticed that before!
2. Wal-Mart Premium Wrap: If you're not familiar with using plastic wrap to make an icing pod, check it out here at Karen's Cookies. It's a great technique! I've tried many different brands of plastic wrap, and I like this one the best based on the price and the amount that I use. I make cookies all the time, so I go through a ton of this stuff.
3. Tea Strainer: I hate tea. Hot tea, iced tea, flavored teas- can't stand any of it. I know it's weird, and people have said, "Well, you've never had MY tea". Sorry. I'm not gonna like it. So what do I do with a tea strainer that was from my bridal shower eons ago? I put powdered sugar in it and tap it over a bowl of icing that I need to thicken. The strainer breaks up any chunks of sugar and allows good control over how much sugar I add.
1. Paper Plates: Ordinary paper plates. Like the ones that lovingly hold delicious funnel cakes at your local carnival or fair. They are my absolute, must-have, can't-decorate-without-it tool (that's not a traditional baking tool). I even packed a few in my luggage to take with me to CookieCon because I knew I would be decorating there. True story. Let me share their endless versatility!
Paper plates are my everyday cookie decorating surface. If you have seen any of my tutorial pictures, you'll spy the tell-tale paper plate in the background. The plate is a great disposable Lazy Susan, since it spins smoothy on my worktable.
Paper plates are my sanding sugar helpers. The slight lip of the plate keeps sanding sugars from running away from me when I sprinkle them on wet icing. Bending the plate into a pour spout makes clean up easy!
Paper plates are great for weighing my ingredients. I always weigh my flour and powdered sugar for my recipes. The paper plate makes this task easy! Then I'll bend the plate into a funnel and pour the ingredients right into my sifter.
Paper plates are great cookie crumb collectors. To make perfectly sharps edges, I use a microplane to gently shave down excess cookie. Use the plate to catch the cookie shavings for easy to clean up!
I hope that I have inspired you to use some non-traditional tools in your cookie decorating fun!
I'm Amy. Wife, Mom, former science teacher- and now full time cookie baker on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Pull up a chair and we'll create! I'll bring the coffee- maybe Mike (The Cookie Widower) will make it for us.