Thursday, June 2, 2016

How I Make Royal Icing

Hello again. I guess I'll celebrate the start of summer vacation with a blog post!

Anyone for another royal icing post? My recipe has evolved over the years; I started out using Antonia74's RI recipe, then I started adapting it to better suit my needs. First I added corn syrup for shine, then I started playing around with the amount of meringue powder. And then I started experimenting with flavors. I think I'm happy with where I've landed as far as a final product. So here's how I make it:

First, gather your ingredients. You'll need warm water, meringue powder, cream of tartar, lemon extract, vanilla extract, corn syrup and powdered sugar. Next, whisk the meringue powder with the warm water until it's good and frothy. Add the cream of tartar and keep whisking until soft peaks form.

*Free tip of the day: sift your meringue powder before adding it to the bowl. (I use a small sieve.) It's been my experience that the little lumps that clog the piping tips are from the meringue powder, not the sugar.

Dump in the powdered sugar, put the bowl on your mixer, and using the paddle attachment, mix the powdered sugar with the meringue on the lowest speed possible until it's all incorporated.

Be patient.

Stop the mixer and add the flavorings and the corn syrup. Start the mixer back up (still on the lowest speed) and mix for 10 minutes. It's going to look a little questionable at first. Don't panic.

I like to stop and scrape the bowl about halfway through the mixing. Just to be that way.

And when your 10 minutes are up, you'll have beautiful, creamy royal icing. Isn't it pretty?

I made this batch a little thick because I wanted to do more piping-consistency icing than I normally do. You can thin down the whole batch by adding a little warm water and mixing on low until it's all incorporated.

Normally, I'll color small batches then thin them as needed. Conversely, if you want to thicken it up, just add some sifted powdered sugar and stir. I never sift my powdered sugar before I make the RI, but I always sift if I'm adding to already-prepared icing. Trust me on this one.

And here's the finished product all colored and ready to go:

Another note: I don't tint my white RI. I prefer the sightly off-white color I get with the vanilla. If you want bright white you could add some Americolor Brite White.

So, there you have it, another recipe for royal icing. Due to the low meringue powder content and the added corn syrup, it doesn't dry super-hard, but still hard enough. I hope you try it and I hope it works for you. Here's the recipe:

CookieD-oh's Royal Icing

2/3 cup warm water
2 1/2 Tbs meringue powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 lbs powdered sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 Tbs vanilla extract
1/2 Tbs lemon extract

Sift meringue powder into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add warm water. Using a whisk, whisk until frothy, about a minute. Add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar all at once, put bowl on the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on low for about 30 seconds. Add corn syrup and flavorings. Mix on low for 10 minutes, stopping once to scrape the bowl.

Color finished icing as desired and use to decorate your favorite sugar cookies.

Well, that's all for now.

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