I'll admit, I used to make royal icing the cheat's way, using an 'instant' mix that was royal icing sugar mixed with a bit of water to make it into the icing paste. But for some reason, this season I couldn't find royal icing sugar anywhere - it was as if it had never existed! So I went back to basics to make royal icing from scratch, and it couldn't have been easier!
I mainly use royal icing to decorate cookies or to glue together, and pipe designs onto, gingerbread houses. It is also very popular for icing cakes, as it dries to a hard and flawlessly smooth finish. I love royal icing for piping edges around my gingerbread cookies, it hardens to beautifully clean edges.
The recipe below only requires three ingredients and makes a stiffer consistency of icing for piping or writing. If you want a more fluid icing for flooding cookies (where a large surface of the cookie is covered in icing) or spreading over cakes, use less sugar. Traditional recipes use raw egg white, but because of the small salmonella risk associated with raw eggs, you may wish to use either powdered egg whites (meringue powder) or pasteurised egg whites, if you plan to eat the icing. I used pasteurised egg whites from a carton.
Royal icing has long been popular amongst confectioners, particularly for use with wedding cakes, due to its hard finish when dried. There is some speculation as to whether or not the term 'royal icing' came into popular use as a result of Queen Victoria's wedding to Prince Albert, where the icing was apparently used on her bride cake. Whether true or not, if the icing is fit for royals, then it's no wonder that it remains a favourite amongst bakers and confectioners!
Here's what you'll need to make royal icing:
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80g egg whites (or egg whites from about 2 medium eggs)
300g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp lemon juice
And here's what you'll need to do:
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