Royal Icing

One major recipe you definitely need in your recipe box is a thing called royal icing. Some of you may have heard of it and some may not have. It’s a really simple recipe to follow although it can be tedious at times depending on what you use it for.

Uses Include:
  • Cookie decorating- when I want to make “painted” cookies I’ll either use fondant or royal icing. It’s very versatile as in you don’t even need to use it for painting on but color the icing and make cookies with just that. Example here.
  • Decoration: You can make little royal icing decals, which are super fun to do. You can use them for cookies, cupcakes, really whatever you want you do with them! Check out my Whales & Sailboats post to get an example. There’s also other very interesting decorations as well, such as the crown on my Cinderella cake

  • Cakes: Cake decorators use royal icing to get small details on the sides of cakes. It’s very delicate, hand straining, patient type work. It can be a pain, but it’s very rewarding when it’s done right. Example here.
  • Glue: Ya I know, you’re thinking why would you use it as glue??!! Two words. Gingerbread houses. Ever make one of those and it just wouldn’t stay together? Royal icing is a great way to glue things on/together. It may take awhile to dry, but it certainly works.
Info on Royal Icing:
  • Royal icing is made in 2 ways, depending on a certain ingredient and what you are comfortable with using. Egg whites or meringue powder. Both work, I know, I’ve used both kinds. (Don’t worry, I didn’t get sick off the egg whites either.) It’s really up to you on what you want to use. Both ingredients are what makes the icing harden to make the cookies/decorations stackable.
  • There are a few different consistencies to know of. Stiff royal icing is mainly used for outlining, piping certain details and so on. Flood icing is a little more fluid and is mainly used for cookie decorating.
  • When you are not using royal icing, make sure to cover it with a damp/wet cloth or paper towel to prevent the icing from crusting over. When storing the icing, wrap it nice and tight in plastic wrap or baggie and then in an air-tight container.
  • When using this icing it will typically take about 24 hours for it to completely dry, so be careful and be patient. You don’t want to ruin you’re nicely decorated cookies before anyone gets to see them.
  • Glycerin is a pretty cheap item you can find at a craft store such as Michael’s. The use of this item is that it makes the inside of the dried icing more soft and not completely rock hard where it could end up breaking a tooth. I highly recommend using this although it’s not 100% necessary. 

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Royal Icing
3/4 cup warm water
5 tbsp meringue powder
2 pounds confectioners sugar
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
1 tsp glycerin

Whisk together the warm water, meringue powder, and the extract you have chosen to use until there are no clumps. Sift the powdered sugar and gradually mix into the water mixture. You can use an electric mixer if you want, but I typically mix by hand. Once the powdered sugar is incorporated add in the glycerin. Mix until fully combined.

NOTE: The glycerin is an added ingredient to help keep the inside of the frosting soft but harden the outside for easier decorating and transportation.

NOTE: When royal icing is not being used keep sealed in a air tight container or put a wet rag or paper towel draped over the bowl to prevent the icing to crust.

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