My royal icing recipe has been updated. You can find the link to that post by clicking here.
Since I last posted about the sugar cookie recipe I use most often, I think I should mention how I make my royal icing. There’s nothing really unique about this recipe (many royal icing recipes I find online use the same general ingredients with just a few minor tweaks). Here is the recipe that works for me.
½ cupwarm water
2 ½ tbspmeringue powder
½ tspcream of tartar
1 poundpowdered sugar
In a bowl, add water and meringue powder and hand whisk until it’s foamy.
Add cream of tartar to the bowl mixture and whisk until incorporated.
Add the bowl mixture and powdered sugar to a mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the batch until stiff peaks form like the picture at the top of the post. (about 10 mins.)
Makes a small batch to decorate a dozen cookies. I usually double this recipe.
This may just be a personal preference, but I like the taste of the Williams-Sonoma brand (the brown labeled canister in the picture) of meringue powder over the Wilton brand, which you can find easily in stores. It’s a subtle but noticeable difference- kind of like Hershey’s chocolate verses Ghirardelli chocolate.
Light corn syrup- Adding this to the mix makes the icing have a little shine instead of a matte finish. I’ll add corn syrup if I know I’ll be using the royal icing that same day. If I make the royal icing ahead of time, I won’t add it to my mix. I think it makes the icing separate more easily if the icing with corn syrup sits for a few days.
Clear Vanilla extract- You can add a little vanilla (or any other flavoring) extract to the icing for added taste. Be sure to only add the type labeled, “CLEAR.” If you add any flavoring that has color it will tint your icing.
Prepping the Royal Icing for Decorating:
The key to decorating cookies with royal icing is consistency. Getting the right consistency takes some practice, but when it is right it will save you a lot of frustration.
After getting the stiff-peak consistency from the mixer it’s not quite ready for piping. Add a few 1/2 teaspoons of water at a time (I like using a spray bottle filled with water instead of measuring spoons- very convenient) until you get the consistency of pudding. It doesn’t take much water to get there. If the icing is too stiff the outlines will break on you or the icing won’t flow easily out of the tip.
Flood icing is what you fill space with after you outline a cookie with piping icing. Add a little bit more water until the consistency is like maple syrup or honey. Be careful not to make it too watered-down or it will run and spread out of control on your cookie.