A little over a week ago, I talked about two types of icing royal and glaze (there are more) AND I asked you all which you preferred. The responses were WONDERFUL y’all really made me think!
However, when I mentioned in the post that oil is the enemy of royal icing, I got several comments from girls who DO add oil or shortening to their icing, which made me wonder… Am I completely right? Totally wrong?…Do I even know what I am talking about, or did I just regurgitate something I have been told without verifying…
Sad story first. If you like the kind of finish I have on my cookies, oil IS the enemy! I found this out the hard way (yet again) at 3am last week. I was making an orange variation of my traditional cookie recipe,when I ran out of my usual flavoring…SOOOOOOO without thinking, I pulled out another bottle of orange extract, added it, and went on my merry way. At about 2:30 am I took one last little looksie before I went to bed and my icing did not look right…I knew instantly what the problem was. I had seen it before. I ran to grab my flavoring and verify, and sure enough, it was 11% orange oil. I shouldn’t really repeat the next words in my thought process that EARLY MORNING, but they went something like *BLERG, BLERG, BLERG, BLERG, EFFITY BLERG* (Did I mention they needed to be shipped to one of my favorite Californians the next morning?) Another A+ for me in procrastination!
Now let me note, I don’t really like to document my worst cookie failure EVER for all the world to read, but if it saves someone else the utter waste of 150 cookies going straight into the trash at 3am after 30 minutes of TEARS, I’ll make an exception!
*Yes, I said 150 =(*
Alright, that’s enough about my sorrows…the point of all this was for me to say, that WE ARE ALL right. As soon as the comments came in, I thought of two recipes off the top of my head that I KNEW used shortening. One recipe, meringue powder buttercream belonged to Karen, of Karen’s Cookies, the other to my cookie pal, Meaghan Mountford, author of Cookie Sensations…
From experience, I try not to make it a habit to talk about things I don’t know anything about, so I decided to go straight to the source for those of you who WANT TO KNOW! I asked Meaghan her thoughts on the subject of icing and she was glad to share.
I have already taken up MORE than my fair share of this post *hey it’s my blog, I can talk if I want to* so I’m going to turn things over to Meaghan and let HER give you “the skinny” on another type of cookie icing.
It’s NOT traditional royal icing. In fact, Meaghan and I couldn’t really decide what it was, but she threw out a few names for me…royal-ish icing, frostingesque, frostal…
I like Royal-ish Icing, so we’ll go with that one…
So, without further ado (in other words, SHUT UP CALLYE) Meet my friend, Meaghan, of the decorated cookie!
Hi everybody! It’s Meaghan, from the decorated cookie. A bit of my cookie background: I was a cookie decorator at a little shop outside of Washington DC for almost ten years. In the three years since I left to have my daughter, I’ve branched out from cookies to work with cupcakes, marshmallows, fondant and any sweet I find interesting, and I share it all on the decorated cookie. I’m also the Edible crafts editor over at CraftGossip.com, where I constantly mine the Internet for sweet, crafty, clever people like you. Oh yes, and I wrote a book in 2007 on the art of cookie decorating, Cookie Sensations. Below are some of my creations you’ll see on my blog.
I’m so happy to visit The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle to share my thoughts on a veeeery important cookie decorating topic: the icing. I dare say the icing is the most important part of cookie decorating, even more than the cookie itself. A bad texture or taste to your icing can ruin all your hard work, and finding a great go-to recipe is essential. That’s why I’m so proud of the recipe I created for my book. I’ve amended it a bit here and there since, but it’s the only recipe I use and I’ve made it so many times I can whip up a batch blindfolded.
As I’m sure many of you already know, traditional royal icing, ideal for cookie decorating because it dries hard, is made from egg whites and powdered sugar. I started with a traditional royal icing, but I added a few things, like shortening and light corn syrup, to improve the taste and texture. My recipe doesn’t dry as rock hard as traditional royal icing, but left to dry overnight, it will dry well enough to handle, package, wrap and even ship your cookies. Plus, by substituting meringue powder (found in the craft store) for egg whites, you can mix up a batch easily and store leftover icing in air-tight containers for several weeks. Lastly, this icing freezes very well. (After decorating, let your cookies dry overnight, then wrap well in Ziploc bags and freeze. Let the cookies thaw completely in the Ziploc bags before removing.) You can also find this recipe and cookie recipes HERE at my blog. So here it is, my no-fail, trusty, go-to recipe for icing.
Meaghan’s cookie decorating icing (Royal-ish Icing)
4 Tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 cup cold water
6 to 8 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons vegetable shortening (Crisco)
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup (optional)
In a standing mixer fitted with a wire whip, or with an electric hand mixer, mix the meringue powder and cold water on low, then switch to the highest speed and whip for several minutes until fluffy and stiff peaks form. Add about 3 cups of the confectioner’s sugar, the vanilla, shortening and corn syrup (if using). Blend well. Add three more cups of confectioner’s sugar and blend well. Add confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 cup at a time up to 2 more cups (I usually end up with 7 cups total) until desired consistency. This icing is forgiving, you can add a bit more Crisco and/or light corn syrup to taste. And add more confectioner’s sugar or water to thicken or thin.
A million thanks to Meaghan for taking the time to explain her icing recipe, and how she came up with it, and especially for putting up with the not-so-computer-savvy blogger…*raises hand*
How interesting! Now, I realize that everyone has their own preference in icing and may not just drop everything and switch, but in the interest of all things cookie, I thought this was need-to-know info! And, since you paid attention, I have a special surprise!
I own this book, and it is one of my favorites. I love her photos and tips, she has a great section on the history of shaped cookies, AND an awesome color chart. Also, she is one of the most creative cookiers I know, which is high up on my list of my most respected traits in cookie decorators =)
There are two ways to win this book.
- Leave a comment about royalish icing…anything you please, as long as it’s SWEET (the comment I mean)…whether you would be willing to try it, if you have tried it (for us scaredy-cats), or even a question…
- hop on over to FB and leave a comment letting me know which of my cookie designs is your favorite, and why =) Come back here and let me know.
As always, tweeting this gets an bonus entry, just let me know =) Just leave your email address with your comment so I can find you…
*If I can’t find you, then you can’t win, so make sure to leave something! Last day to enter is Sunday!
I'd love to win this book! I would finally like to learn to decorate cookies the 'right' way!
I am intrigued by the different decorating icings and not sure which one to try first.
I have only used glaze to decorate cookies, but tomorrow I am going to try for the very first time royal icing!!! I am excited!!!
i've been scouring all of the cookie sites! so colorful! i really wanted to try royal icing for the first time this weekend. i chickened out. =(
hmmmmm, ok, i think i am going to try this tomorrow. i love royal icing but i hate the way it gets rock hard after sitting. here is hoping i love this icing!!!
i posted a comment on facebook about your cookies! love them all but esp the penguins!!!
I've never tried making royal icing before, but I think this year might be the year I get brave!
This is very interesting, because I also use a "royal-ish" icing, and it's the only one I've ever used to decorate with. Mine is very much like Meaghan's, except it contains butter instead of shortening & no corn syrup. It doesn't dry really hard, and it has a slight cream cheesey flavor to it; I love it! Oh, and mine is called "Modified Royal Icing".
psstt…I'd love to win the book! 😉
I promised my 8 yr old that we would do cookies this week so I really think that I will try this recipe and Pam's from CookieCrazie. I've been reading Meaghan's blog for a little bit and love how she draws everything out for you so I'd love to have her book. (I'll buy it if I don't win it 😉 ) Sandi @ [email protected]
I commented on FB and I love your zebra stripes!
I tweeted about this, too 🙂 @mkgresham
I would like to try it!!! Still trying to get the consistency right on my royal….
Oh my goodness…a book I don't have and haven't seen! 🙂 I must have it! I am totally up for trying a new recipe. I actually like the taste of royal icing, but would like it to be not quite so crunchy! What a great post, Callye, and it's nice to meet you Meaghan! 🙂 [email protected]
This was one of my first cookie decorating books! What a great giveaway. I use my own variation of Karen's frosting. I cut back on the crisco so it will dry a bit harder. Thanks for sharing!
Posted my favorite on FB! Sandi @ [email protected]
I use royal icing, and after my classes taking Wilton's classes, I too have a fear of grease in my royal icing. I've heard so many people use the buttercream meringue icing, but I'm still afraid.
I really need help! I'm new to cookie decorating, and I just hope to be able to make some that look even a fraction as good as yours! I need all the tips I an get!
I'd love to win this book :)I will be trying her icing, I like trying new things! I don't prefer the taste of the meringue so the additions should help 🙂
forgot my email 😉 [email protected]
I am just beginning learning about royal icing. And I am enjoying the learning process and open to new things.
I love Meaghan and all of her creativity! I forgot all about the little marshmallow cottages(pictured):) I always use royal icing(with meringue powder), but I will DEFINITELY try Meaghan's recipe!
Would LOVE to win the book. Yes I would be willing to try the icing. I'm sorta new to all of this and I use Pam's icing but I am willing to try anything once! well almost anything..
I tried royal icing once and I didn't have a piping bag at the time, so I just smeared it on with a knife. So in the looks department it wasn't great at all, but it really 'made' the cookie. My recipe is good and all, but the icing just took it to another level. So now I can't bear to make those sugar cookies without going through the trouble of icing them.
I use that icing!!! The one thing I like is that it does not separate…so you can leave it in the bag overnight and pick up where you left off! She is right, it does not dry as fast as royal, so if you need it done quick, use Royal…but the taste is awesome…I also use a TINY bit of butter flavoring.
My favorite cookie of Sugarbelle's? I have TWO: Sock monkey and the Chinese stacking dolls. I want to see how you do this one day!
I would love to try this recipe (and would LOVE that book). I don't like RI because of the taste, but glaze is so melty on the cookie and doesn't always package well. Would be great to find a happy medium. thanks!
Ive done royal icing and it was ok, but not royalish icing. Ill have to try it! 🙂
I'm hosting a cookie decorating party this weekend… and plan to use this recipe for royal icing!
Went to your facebook page and commented on my favorite cookie! Love the Western Snowman! Just way to cute! We went to Texas for a few days this year so I guess it reminds me of texas!
First, you both are total rockstars in my house! Love seeing you in the same post!
I haven't tried Royalish yet, and yanno, that could be one of my issues! While I LOOOOVE doing cookies, my icing never looks quite as "photo-perfect" and now I think I know why! Off to try it out on the triple batch of sugar cutouts I have already cut and stashed – unbaked! – in the freezer!
Thanks for all you BOTH do!
I love Meaghan's icing! Love, love, love it!
I love and hate the fact there are so many icing options out there.
Love: because I don't have to stick with just one thing …
Hate: because I have NO idea what is best and for a newbie to cookie decorating … that is pure torture!
But thanks for pointing to in the direction of another awesome icing option.
I think I will have to try her recipe too….gotta see what works best for me and my liking.
I LOVE Meaghan's melted snowmen cookies, so cute and cleaver!
I want to try this new recipe but I don't like the hard recipe, so will it harden enough to package in a treat bag with three other cookies and then give away, without the design smashing?
Whoops, sorry about that, forgot to input my email, and I thought it would be nice to just condense it in one comment.
So, my email (in case I forget again): [email protected]
So, I would like to try this icing. Seems like she can get a lot of great designs out of it. I am one who enjoys working with royal icing and doesn't mind the taste — however, it would be nice to try different icings — especially ones with different textures. So, I was wondering, how this icing dries — does it dry to a tootsie roll or taffy like consistency?? Anyway, this book would be a great one to win because it shows the type of work that can be done with this icing … especially for scaredy cats like me 😀
I usually use Wilton's royal icing recipe, but I'll try yours in the future. 🙂
mjudge83 at gmail dot com
Tweeted the giveaway @MelsCakeWalk
mjudge83 at gmail dot com
I will pipe in an answer about how it dries….it dries the same, well, almost. Just takes a little bit longer. But when you bite into it, it does stay soft on the inside. You can package and it does fine, just takes overnight. I use vanilla and butter flavor and to me it tastes like buttercream.
I do have a question for the experts….when you sub dried eggs whites for mp/ do you use the same measurement or not as much. AND…what is the difference? I have both and am never sure what to use.
Oh, and I forgot my email : Vicki Taylor ([email protected])
I would LOVE to win your book! I've just started decorating cookies and am not so good yet so I would love some help! I'm excited to try your frosting recipe! Thnx!
wannagetanja @ hotmail dot com
I've always used royal icing but have wanted to try a modified one.
My question is can you substitute butter for the Crisco? We cannot get Crisco here and the only other option is lard. Will butter work?
I always use royal icing but would love to try the royalish icing recipe!
Now I understand! A few months ago I had the same issue with my icing, it was not looking good…at that moment, I blamed humidity, but no, it was the almond extract I used…and I notice just now…thank GOD I never used that essence again (pure coincidence!!!). Anyways, as I am sooo curious, I will try Meaghan Icing Recipe as soon as I can…Thanks girls for sharing!
BTW, this book will look sooooo good on my sweet library!
Yes, I have made royal icing with good results (basic recipe), but I am gonna try the 'royal-ish' version…ummm, maybe tomorrow! I am a cookie monster (no, I'm not blue), and really want to win this book…I need some inspiration and Meaghan's book looks fabby! Thanks for the chance and I've got to go now…gonna browse through more of your postings…Merry Christmas! *smile*
What an interesting post! I have this book too! 😀 I wish Meaghan can autograph on mine! I'm always wondering if i should add crisco but i'm worried that it won't dry hard or takes a long time to dry..in the humid weather here..
I love the finish that royal-ish icing gives, but to be totally honest I would be way too lazy for so many ingredients in an icing! I will stick with my butter, icing sugar and milk icing, even though it doesnt look as good!
musicmaker at iinet dot net dot au
I've used both glaze and RI before. Glaze tastes better but loooove the look of RI. I'll have to try royal-ish icing next 😉
Hi! I commented on Facebook about your dinosaur cookies. I hope I win the book! 🙂
My email is [email protected]
Hi Callye!! I was the zebra cookies comment, love love love.
I love the Meaghan's blog and I would definitely trust her royalish icing, although I've never tried it before, her creations are always beautiful so I would give it a try even if it does have Crisco in it!
So sorry to hear about you having to toss 150 cookies!
I have never used royal icing, but I would love to learn how to decorate the way you do !!
I subscribe to Meaghan's blog and have been bookmarking several of her cookie designs to try when I get brave enough (and when all the plagues my toddler brings home from daycare give us a break!). I would love to have the book!
Wow, I'm terrified of oil in royal 🙂 Probably because I've seen it written so often not to use it. I'd be interested in the science of it… you should have taken a picture of your ruined cookies to really drive it home and make us all go "Awwww no! You poor thing!" 😀
zinger_17 (@) hotmail (dot) com
I cannot believe you are making pick a favorite cookie. It is just NOT POSSIBLE!! Ok, if I HAVE to…..I just adore your dress on the dress stand – now that's a tutorial I want to see!!
I haven't really used "royal" icing, but I love powdered sugar, butter, milk and almond extra (food coloring ok, too)! Thanks for a chance to win this fun book!
Thats really interesting- never knew you can make royal frosting any other way! I would love to get my hands on that book!
I am a RI diehard but am going to try this new recipe because I have a few customers that don't like royal. Thanks for the info and I would LOVE this book. Thanks, Missy
I have never tried royal icing but I am thinking that I need to this week. I would love to win this book!
I have tried this icing recipe and LOVE it! The icing was tasty and dried perfectly on my cookies!!! I would love to win this book as I a new to the cookie decorating world and need all the help I can get. lol
I tweeted about this giveaway http://twitter.com/#!/middymorsel/status/17066536170688512
I posted a comment on your facebook page. LOVE the Snow Globe cookies!
I usually use royal icing, because when I decorate cookies I usually ship them to my grandson (and he's halfway across the country.) I'll try this royal-ish icing when I'm making cookies I don't need to ship. I'd love this book!
I used royal icing. I wanna win this book! 🙂
I am most definitely going to try this royal icing recipe. I would love to have this in my hands to help me out with my new found hobby and love of cookie decorating.
I have never decorated cookies like this, would love to learn how.
bttrflies4me at msn dot com
ooooooh I would love to try royalish icing!! maybe me and royalish icing will be friends, unlike me & royal icing lol
love your cute snowman cookies, so pretty
bttrflies4me at msn dot com
tweeted – http://twitter.com/#!/Btrflywmn/status/17078020615446528
So glad to read this! I am making both of your cookies for Christmas (you 2 seriously are so creative!) and I can't wait to try her icing recipe! I may whip up a batch just to see how it goes tomorrow! Thanks!
My last 2 attempts at sugar cookie icing were complete failures, so I always welcome a new recipe to try. Also the book looks fabulous!
Hi! I am very, very new to cookie decorating. My mom has been doing it for about a year, so I just do what she tells me. She does not use royal icing because of the flavor, but I would definitely be interested in trying it. The book looks like a great read! I hope to win it!
I would love to take chance on this if it is ok to take an international raffle ticket! My experience of royal icing is mostly to decorate ginger bread. This year it turned out to be a train. (http://johanaulin.blogspot.com/2010/11/train) I would really try to learn more.
My e-mail is anna-maria (a) aulin.se
I have actually been dying to try her recipe! I am making cookies later this week and I am SO going to just do it!
I'm a beginner in cookie decorating, so I'm still seaching for the perfect RI recipe. I'll give this one a try!
The book looks amazing!
This seems interesting, I will have to try her icing.
What I love about royal icing is that you can make it as smooth as butter!
I've never tried making royal icing before so…if I'll win this book maybe it will be the right time!
Have a happy Xmas!
Well, I am definitely a "buttercream" girl (my recipe is almost identical to Meaghan's, except I add both almond and butter flavoring to mine) but you have inspired me to give RI another try. The perfect texture to your cookies amaze me, but I will have to leave the taste testing up to the experts (aka, my family)
Will definitely be trying this icing! I don't like the taste of royal, even though it's so easy to work with. I too love the zebra stripes, wish mine turned out like yours though!
Shucks, just wrestled with icing yesterday, I would surely of tried this recipe. Funny thing is, after that experience, I thought it would take a while before I wanted to get the mixer out again, but now, I'm ready! Can't wait to give this a try!
Royal Icing is best left for a day or so, after that, its' too hard. However, the other options are not as yummy!
I think I may try this recipe this week! Thanks! [email protected]
The recipe I use for royal icing has meringue powder and cream of tartar. I will have to try this one! Thanks for the chance! [email protected]
I would love to try this recipe for royal icing…I've always been afraid to try but I like the idea of no fail!
I would love this book! I have made royal icing twice before and they go well until I try adding color! I'll keep trying though 🙂
I would love this book! I want to start cookie decorating! My kids would love it! I havent found a good royal icing that I like, in the future, I WILL try this recipe! =)
I'm definitely going to try Royal-ish!! Especially for cookies that don't have to travel, it sounds great!
I posted on FB that I love your 3-piece elves design, and your citrus cookies, too 🙂
And yes, I Tweeted your blog, too!
YAY for cookie books!
I think you have my email, but just in case…[email protected]
I am trying to work up the courage to try some iced Christmas cookies. I don't know why I am so hesitant, but maybe with a book I could gain some confidence.
I am going to attempt your zebra stripes for a good friend of mine, here's hoping they work!!
Thanks for the tips. I plan to decorate my gingerbread cookies this week so the recipe certainly will help. I've decorated with royal icing before but I'm ready to try the flooding method from Meaghan, so wish me luck!
I'm definitely going to have to try this royal-ish icing the next time I make cookies. I've always just made the traditional royal icing but I'm intrigued as to how this tastes and the texture. Plus, I would love to get my hands on that book 🙂
I have tried this royalish icing and have had rave reviews about the taste. I use Wilton clear vanilla in it but have not tried any other extracts yet. My only flaw is that it takes awhile to dry enough to put them on top of each other. I may have to switch it up to wilton's traditional icing or some other variation that will dry quicker.
I do love Meaghan though! I completely give her credit for igniting the cookie spark in me. I also give you credit, Callye, for inspiring me every day to become a better cookie decorator (I am envious of your neat and detailed work).
My email is [email protected]
I can't wait to try this. I like the detail with RI but not he taste or the hardness factor!
About 6 months ago I visited a bakery with flooded cookies, so I bought one for my 2year old. The icing was AMAZING. Just like royal, but still a bit soft. Since then, I have been searching for a royal-ish icing. I actually attemped my very first flooded cookie last weekend with royal, and I loved the consistency, but not so much the crispy factor. Tomorrow we leave for sunny AZ for Xmas, where I promised my neice I would teach her to flood. This is the recipe I will try. Why not, eh?
Love your designs!!
Substituting meringue powder for egg whites…is that egg whites powder or real egg whites from fresh eggs? I will try this royalish icing after the holidays on a practice batch of cookies. I've stayed away from royal icing (been using the glaze) so I'll give it a try…
I would love to try this icing – I usually use a glaze but am intrigued by royal-ish 🙂 what a fun giveaway! [email protected]
I have used royal and at first I cussed it every chance I got, but the more you use it the easier it gets. darlabeck(at)yahoo(dot)com
I've tried royal icing…but I'm SUPER impatient!!! It seems to take more time and thoughtfulness to decorate than I usual have with my two wee bit boys running around. I love reading about the cutsie things Meghan does and have used several of her drawing on marshmallow tricks! 😉 [email protected]
This book would be incredible to own! I'm so glad you posted this Royalish Icing recipe. I've got 3 more days to play til Christmas, so I've gotta give it a try!
I would so try the recipe. I am all about cookies this year and would love to win the book!
I love Meaghan and her site and her cookie recipe including her royalish icing. I like to use it for the chocolate sandwich cookies she makes because the texture goes so well together. But I am a scaredy cat when it comes to big orders and packaging them – I rely on rock hard, royal icing. I would love a copy of her book!
My girls and I just started decorating cookies. We are building a cookie books library and would love to add this book to our collection.
Can not wait to try the royalish icing…