INDIANAPOLIS - Royal icing is exactly what it claims to be. Royalty. But it is also just icing. The idea that decorating with royal icing is something you should leave to the pros is a cultivated misconception.
At first look, cookies and sweets decorated with royal icing can be intricately detailed. Royal icing has a flawless, smooth surface,turning a plain ol' sugar cookie into a hi-falootin' work of art.
But don't been fooled. This icing it is something anyone can tackle.
For the best results, you'll want to use a real great sugar cookie recipe which will give you a smooth, flat surface. Most of the time, when baked correctly, this kind of cookie does not puff up or become misshapen. The recipe linked below retains its shape before and after baking, making it a perfect canvas for royal icing.
Once you've baked and cooled your cookies, it is time to make your icing. You will need to make a separate icing bag for each color and prepare a bowl for icing you'll thin out to "flood" the cookie. You will also need a #3 round decorating tip. (link to Wilton) If not, any smaller round tip can work.
Pro-tip: Don't have icing tools? Use a Ziploc bag for your icing, cutting only a small piece off the corner where the icing can be used to draw a thin line.
Start by outlining the cookie edges with a thin line. After you have outlined all of your cookies, mix up a batch of the thinned-out icing.
After it has dried, you are ready to add your decorative touches. You can add polka dots, stripes, and much more. There really is no limit to how creative you can be.
My baking advice for today is: Be brave! Although it seems daunting to create these incredible cookies, with a little patience and time, you can do it, too.
Basic Royal Icing
2 tablespoons meringue powder
6 tablespoons warm water
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted twice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or other flavoring
food coloring, as needed
Using your mixer's whisk attachment*, blend the meringue powder with the warm water in your mixer until thickened and smooth. Gradually incorporate confectioners' sugar until the icing is thick and fluffy. Beat in flavoring last, then divide icing into small bowls. After separating, add food coloring by hand until desired colors are reached.
*If you do not have a stand-alone mixer, a hand mixer or whisk will do the job.
For more on food and for more recipes check out twinklevanwinkle.com.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.