Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday Tip - Making Royal Icing + Recipe

I recently answered a survey about how I make royal icing.  The questions were multiple choice and when the question of how long I mix my icing came up, two of the options talked about mixing at high speed for 25-30 minutes.  I almost fell off my chair!  I literally mix for less than 2 minutes at the lowest or second lowest speed.  I might have a lot to do with not being able to tolerate the sound of the mixer for any longer.  I also have no interest in adding air bubbles to my icing that I am going to have to deal with later.  I really am trying to just combine the ingredients.  I make about 4 or 5 double batches each week and I have never had any problems with my icing - it dries with a lovely sheen, it is stable, it tastes delicious.  So I admit to being insanely curious how long you fellow cookiers mix your icing, please leave me a comment or send me a message!

I also make my icing thick, adding just enough water to make it combine - look for more information about that in next week's post.

So if I had to sum things up, I would say:

"Don't whip, make it thick."

After dissolving my meringue powder, I add my Redpath sugar and the remainder of the water.

I add it all at once, all the sugar and all the water.  Then I start my mixer on the lowest setting.

After just starting the mixer.
15 seconds of mixing.
30 seconds of mixing
45 seconds of mixing.
After about 60 seconds of mixing at the lowest setting, I stop the mixer and lift the whisk attachment out of the mix.

At this point the whisk attachment is clogged with dry sugar that I still have to mix in.  I think there are a variety of ways to deal with this, like mix at high speed or add more water, but I reach for a spatula.

I use the spatula to remove most of the dry sugar and to wipe the side of the bowl.

There - that looks better!  Another 30 seconds or so of mixing, this time at the second lowest setting.

And this is what I am left with:

At first glance it is not completely smooth, there are still lumps and bumps.  And it is thick.  Your first instinct might be to add water or mix it longer - but don't!  (More on that next week.)  I find that the lumps and bumps work themselves out as the icing sits.  For me this is the perfect base - I can now adjust the consistency and the colour and make a perfect icing for my cookies. 

Sweet Handmade Cookies' Royal Icing

10 tablespoons meringue powder
7 tablespoons of water
1 kilo icing (confectioners') sugar
5 tablespoons water

  1. Place the meringue powder in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Pour the first amount of water over the powder and using a whisk, combine the meringue powder and water, no vigorous action required, just combining the ingredients.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Stir the meringue powder one more time and then place the icing sugar on top.  Pour the second quantity of water onto the sugar and attach the bowl to your mixer.
  3. Using the whisk attachment on the lowest setting, combine the ingredients for about 60 seconds.  Stop the mixer and clear the still dry sugar from the whisk attachment and wipe the side of the bowl.
  4. Reattach the bowl to the mixer and mix for another 30-45 seconds.  Use the spatula to give the mixture another really good stir, make sure there are no dry pockets.
The icing will have lumps, but as long as there are no dry pockets, you are good to go!

In the next couple of weeks I will teach you about getting the perfect consistency!  I will be offering workshops in the new year, stay tuned to learn more!


  1. I mix mine for just about 4 minutes till it looks like marshmallow fluff...I see that your recipe doesn't list any flavoring? are you not sharing? ;)...i use wilton butter, clear vanilla, cream bouquet and a dash of lime...

  2. Hello Maria_NJ - I don't use any flavourings, but my meringue powder has vanilla in it so it tastes delicious!