February is a busy month. With the Super Bowl (America's unofficial holiday) and Valentine's Day (Hallmark's official holiday) coming up, we're going to be doing a lot of decorating. If you're like me, you're always bringing goodies with you to family functions. Well, every year, my family has a huge Super Bowl party. I'm sure you guys do the same. Well, I'm thinking of making cupcakes and some sugar cookies. To decorate both, I'm going to need some royal icing. Royal icing is so easy to make, but it is so versatile. I mean like unbelievably versatile. It can be used in so many different applications. It's very important to know how to make this, if you want to be taken seriously as a pastry cook. Especially, if you're going to focus on decorating specifically. Once you get making and managing royal icing down, you'll be able to create beautiful decorations in no time.
See how I do it:
We don't want lumps in the icing, so it's very important to sift the sugar. You could also get pre-sifted 10x sugar, but I always sift as a pre-caution. If you don't have cream of tartar, you can use lemon juice as a substitute. I already add lemon juice to this recipe, because it adds a nice subtle brightness to the flavor.
First, combine the sifted confectioner's sugar and cream of tartar.
Mix on very low setting for 20 seconds to aerate.
Add in the extracts, egg whites and lemon juice and mix on very low for a minute, then turn it up to medium for about 2-3 minutes, until smooth.
Scrape and look at the consistency, if it's too dry, add a little more egg white and mix until combined. Store in a plastic container, place damp paper towel on the icing and press it against the top of the skin. Cover with plastic wrap and top cover. Refrigerate for up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature before using and mix if necessary. More egg white or confectioner's sugar may be needed depending on consistency and depending on what you're doing. If you're writing or outlining, you'll need a thicker consistency than you'll need for flooding a cookie, for example. Practice will make perfect 🙂
- Egg White Royal Icing:
- 12 cups sifted confectioner's sugar (1500g)
- ¾ cups egg whites (180g)
- 2 teaspoon cream of tartar (12g)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- juice and zest from two medium lemons
- Optional: a couple of drops of almond extract, flavor icing with whatever extract you'd like.
- Meringue Powder Royal Icing:
- 4 tablespoons meringue powder
- ½ cup water
- 1 lb sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ c lemon juice
- zest from two lemons
- few drops clear vanilla or almond extract (optional)
Egg White Royal Icing:
Combine the cream of tartar and sifted confectioner's sugar in mixing bowl. Mix on very low for about 20 seconds to aerate. Pour in the egg whites, juice and extracts. Mix on very low to start, then as it combines, turn up the speed to medium. Mix until smooth. Don't overmix! This will form air bubbles in the icing. With a damp paper towel, cover the top of the icing and place in the fridge for up to two weeks. Let it come to room temp and remix before using
Meringue Powder Royal Icing:
Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. Add in the extract, juice, and zest. Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. With a damp paper towel, cover the top of the icing and place in the fridge for up to two weeks. Let it come to room temp and remix before using
The meringue powder icing only makes 2 cups, while the egg white, makes 8. If you'd like a softer, shiner royal icing, add a teaspoon of corn syrup to the mixture.