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How to Make Royal Icing

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Best Baking Recipes: How to Make Royal Icing

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:
(Click here to jump straight to the recipe)

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:

  • Measure out and sift the sugar into a large bowl, and prepare the lemon juice.
  • Put the egg whites into a medium sized mixing bowl and, using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, whist on high speed for a few minutes until the egg whites are foamy and form soft peaks.
  • Spoon in the sugar little by little, whisking to combine thoroughly each time.
  • The icing will become glossy and stiffer.
  • When you have achieved your desired consistency, the royal icing is ready to be used. As I was decorating cookies and gingerbread houses, I transferred the icing into a few decorating squeezy bottles.
  • The recipe yields approximately 350g of royal icing. It will keep for about three to four weeks in the fridge. Just leave it in the mixing bowl and cover with cling film, making sure the film is touching the entire surface of the icing, otherwise it will start to dry and form a crust. Before using, bring it to room temperature, and whisk again if the icing has begun to separate.
  • Happy decorating, and watch your baked goods transform into magical creations!
Best Baking Recipes: How to Make Royal Icing
Best Baking Recipes: How to Make Royal Icing

 

How to Make Royal Icing

By

Best Baking Recipes: How to Make Royal Icing

Ever wondered how to make royal icing? Here's an easy recipe requiring only three ingredients!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Make time: 15 minutes
Yield: 350g icing
Course: Dessert, Decoration
Cuisine: Modern European
Tags: Gingerbread Icing, Baking Decoration

Ingredients

80g egg whites (or egg whites from about 2 medium eggs)
300g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp lemon juice

Method

  1. Measure out and sift the sugar into a large bowl, and prepare the lemon juice.
  2. Put the egg whites into a medium sized mixing bowl and, using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, whist on high speed for a few minutes until the egg whites are foamy and form soft peaks.
  3. Spoon in the sugar little by little, whisking to combine thoroughly each time. The icing will become glossy and stiffer.
  4. When you have achieved your desired consistency, the royal icing is ready to be used.
  5. The recipe yields approximately 350g of royal icing. It will keep for about three to four weeks in the fridge. Just leave it in the mixing bowl and cover with cling film, making sure the film is touching the entire surface of the icing, otherwise it will start to dry and form a crust. Before using, bring it to room temperature, and whisk again if the icing has begun to separate.

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