Tara Teaspoon Royal Icing is a go-to recipe for meringue-based decorating frosting that dries shiny and hard for perfect cookies.
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This icing is perfect for piping, coloring and decorating with detail. It dries shiny and with a bit of a crack. Royal icing is the type of frosting used on many decorated cookies, especially the kind at boutique markets, because it dries hard and can be packaged without ruining the cookie design. I love it for it’s versatility.
These Classic Iced Oatmeal Cookies use a thin royal icing right on top.
You can make royal icing on the thin side for flooding (creating a smooth surface of frosting on the cookie), or thicker for piping detailed designs. It just depends on the amount of water you add, and how long you mix it.
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I use meringue powder in my icing recipe. It’s easier, and more food-safe than a raw egg white version. Meringue powder (or powdered egg whites) can usually be found in the grocery store baking isle. But if not, here’s a quick link to get it online.
Tara Teaspoon Royal Icing is the only recipe you’ll ever need!
The meringue powder will whip up into an actual meringue if mixed too long. I slowly and gently mix my icing for about ten minutes, but some people like a light, fluffy and thick royal icing so they beat it much faster with less water. The fluffy version doesn’t dry shiny and it’s a bit more crumbly when dry. So be sure to play around with the consistency you like.
Check out my Eerie Eyeball Cake for more icing consistency tips.
Royal icing takes food coloring really well. I use gel paste colors because they are more concentrated then the liquid drops, and come in so many colors. If I’m making a bright red or green and need plenty of food coloring, it’s also nice not to be adding extra liquid to my perfect icing.
This type of icing dries out quickly (and if it dries out in your piping tip it’s a mess to clean up), so cover your piping tips with plastic wrap or a damp paper towel even if you are setting them aside for just a few minutes. Keep containers of royal icing covered tightly as well.
This is the only royal icing recipe you'll ever need. Make it the consistency you need by adding more or less water.
- 1 box (1 lb) confectioners' sugar
- 4 tbsp meringue powder, or powdered egg white
- In a bowl combine sugar and meringue powder and ¼ cup water. Beat on low speed (adding more water as needed), scraping down sides of bowl, to stiff peaks, about 5 min. (If not using immediately, store in an airtight container up to 3 days). Stir before using.