Royal icing is a versatile and classic icing used in cake decorating and cookie decorating. It dries to a hard, smooth finish and is often used for intricate designs and decorations on cakes, cookies, and gingerbread houses. Royal icing is made from just a few simple ingredients: egg whites or meringue powder, powdered sugar, and water. Here’s a basic recipe for making royal icing:
- 2 large egg whites (or 2 tablespoons of meringue powder)
- 4 cups powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
- 2-3 tablespoons warm water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, for flavor)
- Prepare the Mixing Bowl and Utensils:
- Make sure your mixing bowl and utensils are clean and free from any grease or oil, as even a small amount of grease can affect the consistency of royal icing.
- Combine Ingredients:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg whites (or meringue powder) and about half of the powdered sugar. Begin mixing at low speed to avoid creating a dusty mess.
- Gradually add the warm water and vanilla extract (if using) while continuing to mix.
- Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until the icing becomes thick and smooth. If the icing is too thick, you can add a little more water, a teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
- Mix to the Right Consistency:
- Royal icing can be adjusted to different consistencies depending on your needs:
- Flood Consistency: To create a smooth, flowing icing for filling in larger areas, add more water until the icing falls off the spoon in a steady stream and disappears into the rest of the icing within 10 seconds.
- Piping Consistency: For detailed decorations and outlines, you’ll want a thicker consistency. Add more powdered sugar to achieve this. The icing should hold its shape when piped but not be too stiff.
- Color the Icing (Optional):
- If you want to color the icing, add gel food coloring a little at a time until you reach the desired color. Gel food coloring works well because it won’t dilute the icing.
- Cover to Prevent Drying:
- Royal icing dries quickly when exposed to air, so keep it covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap while you’re not using it to prevent it from drying out.
- Use the royal icing to decorate your cakes, cookies, or gingerbread houses. You can pipe it onto cookies to create intricate designs, use it for writing, or flood the surface of cookies to create a smooth and glossy finish.
- Allow to Dry:
- Royal icing will take some time to dry and harden. Depending on the humidity and thickness of the icing, it can take several hours to overnight to fully set.
- Enjoy your beautifully decorated treats!
Royal icing is an excellent choice for creating elegant and detailed decorations. You can use it to make flowers, lace, borders, and other intricate designs on cakes and cookies. It’s also commonly used in the construction of gingerbread houses.