OK, here goes…my first tutorial on Royal Icing (RI). Let me just start by saying that it seems like everyone has a different recipe and technique for making and apply RI. This is just what works for me, it is definitely not the end all be all of RI.
What’s in that Stuff?
I altered a recipe from Cookie Swap by Julia M Usher for RI, using Vodka and vanilla extract.
6-7 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
5 egg whites or equivalent pasteurized egg white
How to get your mix on
- Add cream of tartar to powdered sugar in bowl and mix using the “stir” or low setting until cream of tartar is well incorporated
mix powdered sugar and cream of tartar
- Add egg whites one at a time and mix on a slow speed
Add egg whites one at a time and mix
- After your last egg white has been added mix on a higher speed until smooth
- Check your consistency. I like mine to be pretty thick. I’ll thin it down after for my project.
- I added another half cup of powdered sugar since my RI was running a little to thin. Mixed on high. When I lift my beater up the majority of the RI on beater should stay, and very very slowly start to ooze off into the bowl.
Check your consistency
Check your consistency, should mostly stay put on beater
- Add flavoring. I generally use Clear Vanilla Extract
- You can add gel coloring here too if desired. I generally break my RI down to smaller quantities before adding color.
Supplies needed for piping and fill:
- Disposable icing bag
- Tip (I’m using a size 2 today on more detailed cookies I’ll use a 1)
- Gel coloring
- Small bowl
- Small spoon for fill
Color your icing
- 2 cups white RI in small bowl (this will vary depending on how much of one color you’ll need)
- Add your gel color by dipping toothpick into gel and then into RI
- Stir with spatula
Let’s start with an outline
The consistency you are aiming for is thick enough that the piped line holds it shape on the cookie but easily flows from your tip. If it’s too thick you RI will keep coming apart as you pipe and your outline will be broken. If it’s too thin your line will start to drip of the side of the cookie.
- To reach the consistency I want I add 1 teaspoon of Vodka. (I use ½ teaspoon per 1 cup of icing) If it’s still too thick add water, a couple drops at a time. The Vodka helps reduce your drying time and since it evaporates quickly won’t leave a flavor. (if your having a particular stressful RI day a shot or two ingested might help your attitude on the matter )
Check your fill consistency, should be thick and very slow to drip off of spoon
- Assemble your bag. Sugarbelle offers an awesome trick to using plastic wrap instead of bags on her blog.
- Fill your bag with icing
- Layout your cookies on a cooking sheet or drying rack
- I always start my piping at a corner. Hold tip about 1/8 to ¼ inch from cookie and gentle squeeze on bag to create a even flow as you move the tip around the cookie’s edge.
If there are mess ups in your icing
- If you have a mess up spot, just remove the icing with a tooth pick and re-pipe
Remove mess up with tooth pick
- outline all your cookies before filling, so the first outlined has time to set before you fill
Got your baby spoon ready? This is how I fill
- thin your icing with more water until it flows slowly off the spatula.
Fill should be a thinner consistency
- Using the baby spoon (choose one that has a shallow well) gently spoon the RI onto the outlined cookie
Use a baby spoon to fill the cookie
- Use the spoon to push the icing outward until it touches the outline. If you have a sharp corner or thin area use a tooth pick.
gently tap or shake the cookie to level out fill
- Gently tap or shake your filled cookie to settle the fill so the finish is smooth
There are many other ways to fill your cookie; some people use a squeeze bottle or the handle of a spoon. I find this way best for me because I can use a slightly thicker fill consistency so it covers nicely.