Many decorators shy away from extension work as their past attempts have failed. We find the most common cause of failed extension work is not the decorator's talent, but the icing recipe. You need a strong, yet flexible, royal icing to work with and you'll find this makes the process much easier (oh, and a steady hand helps too!!).
Royal Icing for Extension Work:
- 8 oz. sifted confectioners sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1/3 tsp gum arabic (adds strength to the royal icing)
- 1/4 tsp glycerin (adds 'stretch' to the royal icing)
- Break up the egg white by using the paddle attachment for you mixer. Mix in med-low speed for approximately one minute.
- Add the confectioners sugar and continue to mix on low speed for 6 - 8 minutes. You don't want to 'whip' the icing as this will add air bubbles that will cause your extension work to break.
- Check the consistency of your icing to see how soft it is. A general rule is the smaller the tip you will be using, the softer the icing should be. If needed add 1/4 tsp. of water until you reach the consistency you want to pipe with.
- Add the gum arabic and glycerin to the icing and mix for 2 more minutes on low speed.
The yield for the above recipe is only about 1/2 cup of royal icing, but very little icing is needed for this technique.