The story of my love affair with royal icing (RI).
For the first few years of my cake decorating life I really didn’t go after cookie orders. I was intimidated by the whole RI situation and so whenever I did do cookies, they were fondant covered. Now don’t get me wrong, fondant covered cookies are pretty, but RI cookies are not only more appealing, but they also have a much better mouthful.
As a pastry chef, I’m funny about texture. The majority of our customers complain about fondant on a cake, they can very easily remove. Imagine how they felt about it on cookie where it was adhered with piping gel!
When we know better we do better right?
So let me help you out here. Royal icing is a very peculiar thing. RI can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It is sweet and will be hard if the incorrect ratio of ingredients is added.
Pro tip: my suggestion is that you start with a nice plain vanilla recipe. Once you perfect the creation of the icing you can move on to flavoring it. Yes, flavoring royal icing is a thing. I’ve done chocolate, vanilla, mocha, orange, and lemon.
Honestly, the sky is probably the limit when it comes to this but my hope is that you will be brave enough to give this a go. I’ll list my go-to recipe which is a combination of Sweet Sugarbelle and Flowerbox Bakery.
Now there are a few things you need to know about Royal Icing! Check out this post on getting the right consistency of RI for perfect cookies every time!
- 5 tbsp meringue powder
- 2 lbs powdered sugar
- 2 tsp flavoring emulsions work best for nice flavor
- 1/2-3/4 cup warm water start with .5 cup first
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tsp glycerin
Begin by stirring the flavoring into half the water.
Using a paddle attachment, mix the sugar and meringue powder on a low speed.
With the mixer still on it's the lowest setting add the water/flavoring mix slowly
As the water is added, the icing will become thick and lumpy.
Allow this mix until the water/flavoring mix is incorporated.
Begin to slowly add in more of the remaining water. STOP when the icing becomes the consistency of honey.
Turn the mixer to medium/ medium-high speed and whip 4-7 minutes until this icing is thick and fluffy. **Mixing time can vary greatly so watch carefully and stop mixing when the icing is this enough to form a stiff peak**.
After a while you will begin to HEAR a difference in the mixing sound as more and more air is incorporated alerting you to when it's ready.
DO NOT SKIP THE STEP OF MAKING A STIFF PEAK IN THE ICING.
Once the peak is evident in your icing it is ready to be handled.