Makes about 2 1/2 cups
- 2 large egg whites, or more to thin icing
- 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, or more to thicken icing
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Beat the whites until stiff but not dry. Add sugar and lemon juice; beat for 1 minute more. If icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it is too thin, add more sugar. The icing may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Makes 2 cups
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar
- 5 tablespoons meringue powder
- Put sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add a scant 1/2 cup water; beat on low speed until think and fluffy, 7 to 8 minutes. If icing is too thick to pipe easily, add a few drops of water. Use icing immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Stir icing before using.
Decorating cookies can be as simple as using icing dots to make a gingerbread man's face and buttons, or as challenging as flooding and flocking with bright royal icing and tinted sugar. Follow the techniques below for beautifully iced cookies.
Pastry bag with coupler
#2 tip for piping
#3 tip for flooding small cookies
#5 tip for flooding large cookies
1. Royal Icing can be made several days ahead of time and stored in pastry bags -- at room temperature if made with meringue powder or in the refrigerator if made with egg whites.
2. The icing can be thickened or thinned by varying the amount of egg whites and sugar. A thinner icing (with more egg whites) is best for flooding, since it spreads more smoothly; a thicker icing (with more sugar) is best for piping.
3. If the colors start to separate, gently massage the bag to remix the icing.
4. To fill a pastry bag: Place the bag tip side down in a glass about 3 inches shorter than it; fold the top of the bag down over the edge of the glass to form a cuff. Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the icing into the bag, filing it to one-half to two-thirds full. Unfold cuff, and close bag with a twist tie.
5. To prevent the tip from clogging, either place a damp paper towel in the bottom of the drinking glass, or insert a toothpick in the tip, and remove it just before piping.
This process coats the entire surface of a cookie with royal icing.
1. Outline half a cookie with piping (thicker) icing, using a #2 tip. Rotate cookie 180 degrees, and outline the other half. Let the icing set, 5 to 10 minutes.
2. With the flooding (thinner) icing, using a #5 tip, draw zigzags over the cookie's surface.
3. Using a small offset spatula, spread the flooding icing evenly within the piping outline. Let the cookie dry overnight at room temperature.
4. When the flooding is dry, use the #2 tip to pipe your chosen design.
This process creates an effect like flocked velvet: Sparkly sanding sugar adds color and texture to the cookies.
1. While the icing is still soft, hold the cookie over a baking sheet, and sprinkle it liberally with sanding sugar -- a large-grain decorating sugar. Let the cookie sit for 30 minutes before shaking off excess sugar. Allow it to dry for several more hours before gently removing stray crystals with a soft pastry brush.