Royal Icing is the professional cookie decorator’s secret weapon. This isn’t a soft spread like most frostings. Royal icing is a mixture of egg whites (or meringue powder) and powdered sugar that colors beautifully, can be piped into elaborate designs, and dries hard. Just make sure your cookies are COMPLETELY cooled before icing.
SUGAR COOKIE ICING TIP & TRICKS
Oh, You’re (So Not) Fancy: You don’t need any fancy piping bags or tips for decorating cookies. All the cookies in this post were iced with plastic zip-top bags and a few spoons for spreading. Plastic squeeze bottles are a fantastic investment if you are planning to decorate these cookies with kiddos.
Royal Icing, divide: You’ll need Royal Icing in two different viscosities for perfectly decorated cookies. The first is thick and should be used for piping edges and detailed decorating. The second is looser and used for ‘flooding’ or filling the cookies.
or one batch of cookies, we suggest making one batch of the Royal Icing recipe below and dividing it in half – keep one half at full strength for piping and add a few tablespoons of water for the ‘flooding icing’.
So Edgy: Use the thicker icing for piping a thin boarder around each shape. Allow this border to dry for at least an hour. Then fill the shape with the ‘flooding’ icing – add a little at a time and use the tip of a spoon to push it around, be careful not to over fill.
Fill In The Blanks: Using the runny “flooding” icing, spoon icing into the center of the cookie. The thicker frosting that you used to edge the cookie will work like a dam, keeping the flooding icing from running over the edges of the cookie.
Dry It Out: Allow the flooded area to dry for a few hours before adding more piped decorations and at least 12 hours before stacking or packing the cookies.
Royal Icing Recipe
Yield: 3 cups
- 2 large egg whites*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons water
- gel food coloring – optional
Directions For Making The Border Icing:
- Whisk together the egg whites and vanilla until frothy.
- Add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition.
- After the final addition of powdered sugar, whisk for an additional minute or until completely smooth.
This icing can be used for piping borders and detailed decorations.
Directions For Making The Flooding Icing:
- Follow the directions of the border icing.
- Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition.
Flooding icing should be about the consistency of acrylic paint.
*This recipe contains raw eggs, to reduce to risk of possible salmonella feel free to use pasteurized egg whites (found near the egg beaters in the egg case). You can also try similar recipes with meringue powder if you are concerned about consuming raw egg white.
Recipe, Photography & Styling: Meghan Splawn of Stir & Scribble
Meghan Splawn is a professional recipe developer, food stylist, and mama. Her personal blog, Stir & Scribble, is full of clever cooking, classic cocktails, and useful kitchen tips. Her favorite cookie is oatmeal chocolate chip, but she’s never met a cookie she didn’t like!