We have been asked a number of times by our customers at the local markets about how our royal icing stays on the cookie and doesn’t run off. Well the answer is in the consistency of the icing and less about the ingredients which is a standard royal icing ingredients that you can get from anywhere.
Here is a simple royal icing recipe you could use.
TIP: Add the water gradually, it is better to have a thicker royal icing mix to begin with because it will be easier to change the consistency by adding more water later.
There are basically 3 different consistency of royal icing we use for outlining, flooding and intricate detailing known as the twenty second icing as name by one of our favorite cookie decorators Sweet Sugarbelle which can be found here.
Once you have chosen your royal icing recipe that doesn’t need to be adjusted in order to start decorating cookies, instead you need to adjust the consistency (in other words the thickness) of the icing to do different things.
Normally, you begin by using piping icing to outline the cookie. This creates a border to make sure the icing does not flow over the edges. The consistency of the outlining icing could be described as toothpaste, if you are using an icing bottle and you hold the bottle upside down the icing will start coming down but at a very slow pace. Another way to test the consistency of the icing is while the icing is in a mixing bowl run a spoon through the middle of the icing it should take about 10 seconds for the line to disappear.
After the cookie is outlined, a thinner version of the same icing is used to fill the outlined area. This is called FLOOD icing. We usually fill the middle of the cookie and to cover it to the edge we use a chopstick to cover the edges so it doesn’t overflow. The flooding icing should flow a bit like shampoo and if you run a spoon through the middle of the icing it should take about 5 seconds for the line to disappear.
Finally to add intricate details to your cookie such as writing names, making drop flowers, features on faces or basically anything that requires the icing to be firm and stay in place we use the 20-second icing consistency which is the thickest out of all the consistency and if you run a spoon through the middle of the icing it should take about 20 seconds for the line to disappear and it requires the most pressure to pipe the icing out of the bottle/bag.
Mastering consistency is the single most important cookie making skill. Once you have mastered this skill through a bit of trial and error you should be able to achieve most effects on your cookie decorating adventure.
Just a few more tips before I go:
- Use another squeeze bottle with a small nozzle to add more water to your icing, you don’t want to overdo it and make it too runny, however if you do add too much water don’t panic make sure you have some spare icing sugar and add a few teaspoons of it in to thicken it up again.
- Play around with the consistency, depending on the temperature in the air sometimes you need thicker or thinner consistency and what works for us, maybe not work as well for you.
Feel free to add any tips you might have, or ask questions.