Royal icing is perfect for detailed decorations and fun cookies. It is simple to make and versatile. I am also sharing my favorite shortcut method for using it to decorate cookies quickly!
Royal icing is great for making all sorts of different designs on cookies. The recipe for the icing itself is really simple. Using it can be intimidating though, so let me show you a quick and easy way to decorate cookies with royal icing. This method lets you be creative without too much fuss and very little equipment. Your cookies can be the hit of the holidays!
I originally posted about this after making some Jack cookies for Little Dude’s birthday, so I’ll let you read about that first if you are interested:
I have been looking forward to making these cookies for quite some time now. In fact, I ordered the cookie cutter back in February.
I spent days looking around for a cookie cutter of a jack. I wanted to make little take home bags of cookie Jacks for everyone.
I didn’t think it would be that hard. I was wrong! So, I ended up ordering one custom.
I talked to the people at Truly Mad Plastics and they were a dream to work with. (This is in no way sponsored by them, they probably have forgotten all about me by now. But they were really easy to work with!)
We figured out what I wanted and they printed it out on their 3D printer. While I was ordering, I went ahead and got the lab themed cutters I used to make these fun test tube and erlenmeyer flask sugar cookies.
I decided to go ahead and make the cookies from my favorite sugar cookie dough. I knew a batch would make more than enough and everyone loves them. Why mess with a good thing?
This royal frosting recipe is nothing earth shattering. It is the same one everyone uses. I just haven’t posted it here yet, so I figured it was time! Consistency is the key.
The original recipe makes a really thick frosting. It is great to color it or store it that way. But you really want to thin it out with more water before you use it.
I am not going to claim to be an expert at this. There are a million websites and youtube videos out there that are way better than I could dream to be.
But I like making simple cookies. I make it as easy on myself as I can, while still making cookies that are cute enough to add a little fun to the dessert table.
I usually try to just do a few colors at a time. I mix the colors while the frosting is till thick and then add a few drops of water at a time until I get a consistency I like.
Then I pour it all into condiment bottles. They are cheap and perfect for frosting! It is hard to get super fine details, but generally gets the job done for what I want.
After that you just need some imagination and time to make it all come together!
How to Make Royal Icing
2. Drizzle in warm water and flavoring until you have the consistency of honey. It should be thick but fluid.
3. Whip until light, fluffy and easily forms stiff peaks.
4. Divide into separate bowls for each color. Use gel colors to get your desired shades.
5. To follow my easy decorating method, add water a drop or two at a time until you get 5 second frosting consistency. When drizzled off the spoon back into the bowl, it should be stiff enough to pile up on itself. Then it should sink into the remaining icing and be flat in 5-6 seconds. Be careful when adding water, it is really easy to go to far and really hard to come back from it.
6. Place frosting into clean condiment containers and use to frost your cookies!
If you are a frosting fanatic like me, check out my Frosting 101. It goes through the different types of frosting and links to all sorts of delicious recipes!
- 2 lb bag powdered sugar
- 5 Tablespoons meringue powder
- 1/2 teaspoon flavoring*
- Warm water
- Optional: 2 Tablespoons corn syrup*
- Food coloring gel
- Start by emptying the powdered sugar into your mixer bowl with the whisk attached. Add the meringue powder and put on low for a couple of seconds to mix it.
- Warm up about a 1/4 cup of water and add the flavoring (and corn syrup if using). While the mixer is on low, slowly pour it in. Get a little more warm water in your measuring cup.
- Slowly drizzle in a little bit of water at a time until you reach the consistency of honey.
- Then turn the mixer up to medium-high for a few minutes. The mixture should get glossy and airy. It is done when it can hold a stiff peak.
- At this point, you can scoop the icing into air tight containers and keep on the counter for up to a couple of weeks. I usually put it into a variety of smaller containers, so there isn't much air between the icing and the lid and so I don't have to keep getting icing from the same big container. I am not sure if this matters at all, but it is what I normally do.
- When you are ready to use the frosting, scoop what you need into a glass measuring cup and color. It is best to do all of what you need for a certain color at one time so that it is consistent, it will be nearly impossible to match the color later. If you want to outline and flood, you'll want to adjust the whole thing (by adding a drop of water at a time) to your outline consistency. Take out what you want for outlining, then continue to thin what is left until you have your desired flood consistency. Be sure to add slowly, it's hard to fix if you've added to much.
- Repeat step six for all of your colors and go to work frosting!
*Make sure your flavorings don't contain oil. We usually use a mix of vanilla and lemon or almond.
Some people swear by adding corn syrup. I have done it both ways and don't see much of a difference. So whether or not I add it to a batch mostly has to do with if I have some on hand and if I think of it.
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