CLASSIC ROYAL ICING
Classic royal icing is a smooth hard drying icing used for decorating cookies, creating your own edible decorations, and "glueing" decorations together. Flavoring your royal icing with vanilla is nice, but a few drops of flavoring oil takes it to a whole new level. Lemon, peppermint, and butterscotch are my favorites but they are all delicious.
- 4 TB meringue powder
- 1/2 cup water
- 6-7 cups confectioner's sugar (more or less depending on desired consistency)
- 2-4 drops flavoring oil or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Whip the meringue powder and water on high speed for a long time, several minutes, until it's fluffy and peaks form (use an electric hand beater or the wire whisk attachment on your standing mixer). Gradually add the rest of the ingredients to desired consistency. Store at room temperature in a sealed container for up to a month.
Making royal icing is all about consistency. A good way to test the consistency is to lift your spoon up from the bowl and see how it falls off the spoon.
If you're using your icing to pipe fine details on cookies or create your own icing decorations you want your icing to fall very slowly off the spoon. Once the plop of icing lands the bowl you want it to pretty much keep its shape and not flow back into the rest of the icing. Keep in mind that too stiff royal icing can be hard to squeeze out of a decorating bag.
When making a batch of royal icing for flooding and decorating cookies the icing should cling to the spoon and slowly fall into the bowl. I watch how the icing flows back into itself when dropped from a spoon, as in the photo below. If that curl of icing flows back into itself nicely I know that the icing on my cookies will look nice and smooth without stiff bumps.
Just remember, practice makes perfect!