Tips For Frosting Cookies With Royal Icing
These cookies are iced with what is called Royal Icing. It is very simple to make and use, with a few tips and handy tricks…
1 lb. (4 Cups) of sifted powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons of Meringue Powder
(I use Wilton brand which is available in the baking department of most big craft chains such as Michael’s) Meringue powder is essentially dried egg whites and is what makes this icing harden to a shell like consistency)
6 Tablespoons of warm water (for stiffer icing use 1 Tablespoon less)
So here’s the trick to using Royal Icing…it’s all about consistency…and consistency is controlled by humidity! If it’s a drier day, you may need a little more water…which I have found can range from a few drops to a teaspoon or more. If you live in the South and it’s the middle of July, you’re going to need less water.
To achieve this look you will create an outline with the stiffer icing. I always make a bowl of this first and fill a pastry bag with a small piping coupling and tip, in each color desired.
Lessons learned the hard way…
- Always always place a damp wash cloth over the bowl of icing to keep it from drying out! A dryskin will form after a short time and nothing will ruin your day faster than little bits of dried icing getting stuck in your decorating tip, or ruining your beautiful cookies!
- Place a folded up paper napkin in the bottom of a drinking glass to stand your piping bag in while not in use. The wet paper napkin/towel will keep the icing from running out and keep the icing in the tip from drying out.
- Stand your decorating/icing bag upright in the glass and fold the top of the bag down in order to easily fill the bag with your icing. You know how you can struggle with something for 20 years and then have one of those lightbulb moments that changes your whole life? Well this concept was one of those moments for me. What can I say, I’m easy.
The technique used on these cookies is called flooding. Take that original bowl of icing and add small amounts…drops, to teaspoons at a time, of water until it is the consistency of pancake batter. Runny enough to flood inside of the outline you have created, but not too thin. I strongly recommend you buy a plastic bottle
with a nozzle for this purpose…a large one with a larger opening to fill when the cap/nozzle is removed. This will make your life light years easier. Trust me on this, it’s worth the $3 for the bottle. Nothing is harder to handle than an icing bag filled with runny icing.
Outline your cookies with your decorating bag and tip, then flood the inside with the thinner icing. Don’t over fill…give it a moment to slowly fill the area. You can always add more, but it’s a bear when it starts flooding over the lines!
Keep your cookies on a flat surface!
If you want to add contrasting details in another color, there are a few ways to do this. While the flooded icing is still wet, add details with a similar flooding consistency icing. These will appear to melt into one flat surface. Otherwise, wait until your icing has hardened up a bit (15 minutes or so) before adding details with a stiffer icing.
Do not put your cookies in the oven to dry your icing faster…you will end up with ginger granite.
They need to dry overnight, on a plate loosely covered with tin foil, and out of reach of dogs and husbands. (The kids know better than to touch them before Mom gives the OK. Even after 20 years of marriage my husband still hasn’t learned. Sigh)
I don’t really like things that are too sweet, so I always assumed all of this flooded icing would be too much for me…it’s not. Enjoy!
Article Photos by: Eve Ross Eve Ross is a graduate of Otis Parsons School of Design, Paris and California. Currently residing in North Carolina with her husband and two children, Eve continues to make every day beautiful with her love of design/illustration, writing, photography and family. We are proud to welcome Eve to the EncinoMom family with this fabulous spread on Gingerbread Cookies. Please welcome her with your comments below! You can see more of Eve’s work here.