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!
This is a gorgeous book! I've had my eye on it for a while now 🙂
Would be great to win it and spend my Christmas money on someone else 🙂
I read Meaghan's blog at least twice a week and just love her decorations and ideas. What a talent! I definitely want to try them someday, when I have enough courage for it. 🙂 It would be great to have a signed copy of Meaghan's book.
OOOH first I've seen of this book….delurking so I can win!!!
I love royal icing, and the only thing that frustrates me is that I have to make two batches, for lining and for filling. So much work but worth it in the end!
Royal Icing? I would have expected that was something Queen Elizabeth did when she ordered an execution. Now I know why I could never get things to look good with the old Pillsbury jarred frosting…there is a whole world of baking I haven't explored yet…I'd love to win the book. I'm enjoying the blog as well.
If I don't win the book, I will not phone the Queen and ask for someone to be iced and wish you all a Happy Holiday
I would totally try this icing. I have in the past tried the fondant-over-oreo-cakester-petit-fours which Meaghan highlighted on her blog. It worked fairly well but was not nearly as pretty! My bigger hurdle would be actually making the cookies and having enough so that making the icing would be worthwhile.
I love working with royal icing.
WOW! I was hopping all around praying for an icing recipe. I'm totally trying Meaghan's recipe. That's a whole lot of icing. Wondering if I can save it and use it some other time? Of course, with over 110 comments, I don't really expect to get an answer in time…LOL
Thank you SO much for this blog!
Makes me want to start baking!
I will try this icing for sure. I love the look of traditional royal icing but would like something a little softer/tastier….crossing fingers this is it and I win that book 🙂
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog !!
~Deb ([email protected])
I will try her icing just to see the difference. And who knows, I might like it better :o)
Love your new cowboy cutter – so cute. Then again, you make any cookie look awesome!!
What absolute beautiful cookies! I don't even know where to start. I wish I could decorate like this! My daughter of 7 certainly could.
I was sure I'd commented on this but can't find it now. I'm going to try this icing, I like how RI sets up so quick, but I don't like the hardness of it afterwards on the cookie.
My favorite cookies are the zebra stripes.
Thanks for sharing the book! I *finally* have a vegan royal icing I'm happy with (can't use egg whites/meringue due to son's food allergies) that I just posted on my blog.
Oh, how I would love to win this book! I am a Family and Consumer Science teacher and always searching for fun, creative ways to engage my students. I'm also a mother who LOVES baking with my two teen daughters and I'm embarrassed to say, the recipe for cookie icing I used this year tasted like soap! Of course, they blame me! 🙂
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Oooh…..I would love to try out this icing recipe. I have a “go-to” that I use all the time but, I absolutely love the idea of something new for me! It sounds like it would be yummo! This book looks so cool!
I am rather new to the cookie decorating world. I have tried a few recipes that work, but I’m willing to try something new. I am looking for MY “go to” recipe.
*I do have to add that I used Sugarbelle’s recipe to make cookies for the first graders (and school staff that saw them and had to have one). They all loved the cookies as well as the icing. Both recipes were winners! I did pass on this website to some of my friends that want to know more about your cookies. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing! Are you obsessed yet?
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Good morning, I did believe I was nuts but finding all of you I realize there are people like me in this world! I am going to try this icing and I will post a comment as to how it worked. I think if I could only give up sleep I could get so much baking done!
hi – love your blog – I am home baker – your blog has
The best tutorials and gas inspired me to try cookie! I found
You through Glorious treats- don’t know if you’ll see this
Question to this old post but I was wondering if you knew
If you could use an lemon extract with oil in this recipe
As it has oil in it anyway…. Many thanks!
Thanks for any other fantastic article. Where else may anyone get that type of info in such
an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week,
and I’m on the look for such info.
It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this brilliant blog! I guess for now i’ll settle
for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
I look forward to brand new updates and will share this site with
my Facebook group. Talk soon!
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I just wanted to say that I have looked everywhere online for a royal icing recipe that will not get rock hard but tastes great and I can still stack or package them. I’m new at making homemade cookies and wanted them to come out perfect and delicious! Your icing IS IT! !! I’m so lucky I found your website! Thank you soooo much!
Can’t wait to try this recipe out!
Dear Callye, Like your blog. I get some good info. I only bake for family gift giving. Planning a big unicorn cookie party for my grand niece’s 1st birthday party. So want my decorations to be pretty. Suggestions will be appreciated. How does this RI recipe with shortening compare with using glycerin? Is this RI softer? I don’t like crunchy RI but I do want it to dry enough to stack my cookies. My RI with glycerin added is hit & miss. Please help. Thank you.
I’m so glad to see shortening in a royal icing recipe!! Everyone else says oil is the devil of RI, but it allows the icing to dry well w/o it being rock hard. The hard icing completely interferes w/the taste and texture of my cookie. Meaghans recipe, which is mine too, is soft to bite into as it blends nicely w/the cookie as you chew.
Yay for confirming that oil is not the enemy!
If I would prefer not to use meringue powder and use egg whites what would the # of whites used instead, please? Also would anything else change if we use egg whites instead?
I am new to decorating, trying to soak in all the info I can! Her book looks like an invaluable tool. I will definitely try the Rotal-ish icing. The icing is most certainly the trickiest part!