Confused by “couplers”? Befuddled by “boo-boo stick”? Perplexed by “pastry bag”? This guide will help!
5 second/10 second/20 second icing: This refers to icing consistency, or about how long your icing will take to become smooth again after being “cut” with a utensil. The longer the icing takes to become smooth again, the stiffer it is and the more appropriate it is as a piping icing rather than a flood icing. Sweetopia has a great video on this.
Boo-boo Stick: AKA cookie scraper. A cheap, handy little tool that can be used to fix a multitude of mistakes. Worth having.
Coupler: A crucial component in preparing a pastry bag for icing. It is a small white piece of plastic that allows you to “screw” your tip into place, making it very secure. You can technically pipe without one, but considering how cheap they are and the fact that it doesn’t take much more time to put one on, I always use them.
Flood: The act of covering the surface of a cookie with a very thin icing (typically after outlining the cookie to create a barrier to prevent the icing from flowing over the edge of the cookie).
Meringue powder: A key ingredient in royal icing. It also has a huge impact in the taste of your icing. Ateco and AmeriColor make some great ones. Wilton can be used in a pinch (and is more readily available).
Outlining: The act of using a stiffer icing (piping consistency) to outline the shape of your cookie.
Pastry bag: A plastic bag that holds your icing as you pipe. There are both disposable and non-disposable bags. I prefer disposable because they are clear and if you use this method, clean up is quick and easy.
Piping: The act of applying icing to a cookie with a pastry bag and a tip.
PME: Brand of cookie decorating tools and accessories. I don’t currently own anything by PME, but I’ve heard fabulous things about their tips and lustre spray.
Tips: A metal, cone shaped piece that determines the shape/width of your icing. Generally, the smaller number tip, the smaller the opening, and the thinner your piped icing.
Wilton: The most readily available cookie decorating tools and accessories. They make tips, paste food color, pastry bags, and more. You can buy them at many different stores (even my Walmart carries a decent selection!)