Suzi's Blog

Royal Icing

sugar cookies

I wanted to avoid criticism. I wanted my hand to be steady, but piping royal icing is hard.

“That’s supposed to be straight line. And even,” Suzen commented. She was across the counter eyeing the cookies I was trying to decorate.

“I don’t want straight lines,” I lied. “I’m doing fractals.”

“Really?” she looked at me. “You mean an infinitely long self-replicating curve? Like in the math books you have?”

“Yes,” I muttered. She must have been listening to me more than I thought.

“Well,” she observed, “you certainly are off to a good start.

As the picture above shows, I was doing a modestly amateurish job. And the final picture, at the bottom of the blog, shows what happens when you try to stack two sugar cookies on top of each other. I’ll just have to make more cookies, practice more piping. In my defense, some looked better than others. And all of them tasted like heaven. I believe in cookie tolerance.

The cookies involved are the rolled sugar cookies blogged yesterday. Today’s blog is for the actual royal icing. Cookie Craft, my source here, is superbly detailed about how to make the icing. At the bottom of this post, there is a table with the proportions needed to make the icing three ways using:

  • · Powdered egg whites
  • · Egg whites [actually liquid pasteurized egg whites]
  • · Meringue powder

I followed proportions shown, using meringue powder, and had great success. Cookie Craft suggests using lemon juice for flavoring rather than vanilla because ordinary dark vanilla gives the icing a dark tone. And royal icing is supposed to be brilliantly, perfectly white. You can purchase clear vanilla extract at specialty stores. The amount of lemon juice here gives you a distinctly tangy icing.

Cookie Craft gives you decorating ideas using two kinds of royal icing: piping consistency for using with a fine tip piping bag, and flooding consistency for using with a wide tip, squirting bottle, or with a spatula. The basic idea, which I attempted with my triangle cookies, is to first pipe a fine perimeter line around the edge of the cookie. Let that edge dry thoroughly, then fill in the area with the flooding version. And flood I did, as you can see in the pictures. It’s just a matter of practice.

Beyond pure white, you can add food colors to your heart’s content and achieve all kinds of effects. You could get tense about making mistakes, or you can chill, lick off the mistakes, lick your fingers and just carry on. I did.

Royal Icing

Yield: 2 or 4 cups

Ingredients: See the table below.

Preparation:

The method is the same no matter what type of egg-white product you’ve used:

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your electric mixer.

Beat on high for 5 minutes if you’re using an electric stand mixer or for 10 minutes if you’re using an electric hand mixer. (If your mixer has multiple attachments, use the paddle.)

When you reach the desired consistency, it’s important that you immediately cover the mixture or store it in airtight containers.

Use the water amounts in the icing recipes as starting points, but be prepared to adjust them depending on the weather or even your kitchen temperature. Be aware that the amount of water you add to icing may change slightly every time you make it.

Specifics:

Piping icing, when first mixed, will start out with the consistency of white glue. When you’ve finished beating the icing, it will be gloss with the consistency of toothpaste. Piping icing should squeeze easily but stay in place and hold its shape on the cookie when it lands. If piping icing is too stiff, it will be hard to pipe. Too loose and it spread and make too shallow an outline to damn the flood icing.

Flooding icing, when first mixed, will appear very soupy. But in 5 minutes it will be shiny and an opaque white color with the consistency of heavy cream. This icing should not be so thin that it runs like water nor so thick that it stays in place when squirted on the cookie.

Troubleshooting:

If the icing is too thick, add water 1 teaspoon at a time and beat for 1 minute after each addition.

If too thick, add more confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat for 1 minute after each addition.

Source: Cookie Craft by Valerie Peterson and Janice Fryer

ROYAL ICINGUSING POWDERED EGG WHITES CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR POWDERED EGG WHITES WARM WATER* LEMON JUICE OR VANILLA OR OTHER EXTRACT
FOR PIPING 2 cups (½ pound) 1 teaspoon 3 tablespoons 1 tablespoon (lemon juice) or ½ -1 teaspoon (extract)
4 cups (1 pound) 2 teaspoons 6 tablespoons 2 tablespoons (lemon juice) or 1-2 teaspoons (extract)
FOR FLOODING 2 cups (½ pound) 1 teaspoon 6 tablespoons 1 tablespoon (lemon juice) or ‘/2-1 teaspoon (extract)
4 cups (1 pound) 2 teaspoons 12 tablespoons 2 tablespoons (lemon juice) or 1-2 teaspoons (extract)
ROYAL ICINGUSING LIQUID PASTEURIZED EGG WHITES CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR LIQUID PAS­TEURIZED EGG WHITES WARM WATER* LEMON JUICE OR VANILLA OR OTHER EXTRACT
FOR PIPING 2 cups (½ pound) 3 tablespoons 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon (lemon juice) or ½ -1 teaspoon (extract)
4 cups (1 pound) 6 tablespoons 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons (lemon juice) or 1-2 teaspoons (extract)
FOR FLOODING 2 cups (½ pound) 3 tablespoons 3 tablespoons 1 tablespoon (lemon juice) or ½ -1 teaspoon (extract)
4 cups (1 pound) 6 tablespoons 6 tablespoons 2 tablespoons (lemon juice) or 1-2 teaspoons (extract)
ROYAL ICINGUSING MERINGUE POWDER CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR MERINGUE POWDER WARM WATER* LEMON JUICE OR VANILLA OR OTHER EXTRACT
FOR PIPING 2 cups (½ pound) 4 teaspoons 3 tablespoons 1 tablespoon (lemon juice) or ½ -1 teaspoon (extract)
4 cups (1 pound) 3 tablespoons 6 tablespoons 2 tablespoons (lemon juice) or 1-2 teaspoons (extract)
FOR FLOODING 2 cups (½ pound) 4 teaspoons 6 tablespoons 1 tablespoon (lemon juice) or ½ -1 teaspoon (extract)
4 cups (1 pound) 3 tablespoons 12 tablespoons 2 tablespoons (lemon juice) or 1-2 teaspoons (extract)

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2 thoughts on “Royal Icing

  1. Thank you so much for posting these. I have made them several times and love them but don’t have the book and I was unable to find my recipe today. You saved my turkey cookie for Thanks giving. I want it for a cake topper. This recipe is excellent and one of the best I have found. I hope that you enjoy your book. I highly recommend trying this recipe with bakers emulsions it is fabulous! Lemon is my favorite and it goes so well on a vanilla or almond cookie. Thanks again for sharing!

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