Friday, May 18, 2012

The Icing on The Cookie, Part One

I wanted to do a quick post about how I make Royal Icing (RI) for my decorated cookies. I had planned to do a video tut, but allergy season is in full swing and I am just not thinking it would go very well.

So instead I put together a little pictorial, it's going to be three separate posts to get it all in there, so I hope you stick around! I am trying to answer some frequently asked questions and makes it easier your you to troubleshoot any icing issues you have.

The first entry in this series is my actual recipe and the steps to making perfect RI! I think it's perfect :)

Grab your mixer and lets get started!

Start with a shiny, clean bowl.

Measure and add 6 ounces of warm water and 6 TBSP meringue powder. 6-6, easy right?!

For the first step I always use a hand whisk because I think it beats the water and meringue much better than the beater attachment. It gets down and dirty in the bottom of the bowl!
Take the whisk and beat the water and meringue several times until it gets frothy and bubbly and looks like this

Next add 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and whisk again until well blended. I think it looks a little thicker an creamier after the cream of tartar is added, but it could totally be my imagination.

Once you beat the tartar in, dump your 2lb bag of powdered sugar right into the bowl! No need to sift, I used to do that every single time and I don't notice any difference now.

You can use the whisk attachment or the beater blade, again I have used both and don't see any difference.
Start your mixer and let it go for about 1 minute on low speed just to incorporate the sugar into the frothy goodness.

You don't need full incorporation at this point, just enough to get everything moist.

Now I add 1-2 TBSP each of corn syrup and vanilla extract. 2 gives it more of a shine and a better flavor in my opinion.

Beat again for a minute on low speed until the vanilla is gone from sight.

Most of the lumps will be gone at this point and you'll have a smooth, thick syrup consistency. 

See all that froth and sugar on the sides of the bowl? I don't like that... I think it makes the icing grainy and leaves lumps that clog my tips, so at this point I grab my little spray bottle, fill it with warm water and spray the sides.
Turn the mixer back on, on medium high speed, you can spray the sides again if needed while the mixer is running. Now all the stuff is back in the bowl where it belongs and side are clean!

Let it run for 5-6 minutes until the icing is doubled in volume and looks like this

You want stiff, fluffy peaks to form when you pull the beater away from the icing.

Now I scoop it out of the mixer bowl and put it in a big (2 quart) glass measuring cup. Just to store it and free up my mixer bowl for cookie dough ;)

Doesn't it look pretty?!? At this point you can just cover it with a damp kitchen towel and save it for later. I usually make my icing first, and set it aside while I make my cookie dough!

Here is the recipe:

Vanilla Royal Icing
Adapted from SugarDeaux

  • 6 oz warm water
  • 6 TBSP meringue powder
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar (approx 6-7 cups)
  • 1-2 TSBP vanilla
  • 1-2 TBSP light corn syrup

  1. In mixer bowl, whisk water and meringue powder together.
  2. Add cream of tartar and whisk again until frothy.
  3. Add powdered sugar and beat until slightly incorporated.
  4. Add vanilla and corn syrup and beat for 5-6 minutes until thick and smooth.
  5. Store tightly covered.

Thanks so much for stopping by and don't forget to check back tomorrow for part two!

Flour De Lis
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