Royal Icing 101: And My Top Secret Meringue Powder Recipe

Do you want to learn how to make beautifully decorated sugar cookies?  It is so much fun, and there are endless ways to express your creativity with sugar art supplies and cookies! The first step in decorating is making the delicious cookies, you can easily find sugar cookie recipes on the internet. I recommend checking out the recipes available from a www.lilaloa.com.

 

It’s easy to surf the internet for royal icing recipes, but it can be confusing to choose the recipe that will give you the best results. It can also be confusing to know the type of meringue powder to buy. I have used many different types of meringue powder through the years and the one thing that I never liked was seeing chemicals that I couldn’t pronounce in the ingredients list. Although I realize that these chemicals are often necessary to keep the powder shelf stable, I wanted to create a more clean alternative.

 

So, I decided to give you my step by step guide to making icing PLUS my TOP SECRET (never shared) recipe for MERINGUE POWDER.

 

This is the meringue powder that I use in my royal icing. It mixes up beautifully and the taste is similar to vanilla marshmallow. It does not have any chemical aftertaste because it doesn’t contain chemicals. BONUS!!!  I store my meringue powder, with an oxygen obsorber in an airtight container in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. 

 

Now let’s get started! Here’s what you’ll need:

2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup dried egg whites
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Step 1:

Measure out 2 cups of confectioners sugar using a dry measuring cup. Add the powder into a large wide bowl

Step 2:

Using the same measuring cup, add 1 cup of of dried egg white powder to the confectioners sugar

Step 3:

Add 2 heaping teaspoons of cornstarch and 2 heaping teaspoons of cream of tartar

 

Corn Starch is used in Meringue Powder because it effectively absorbs moisture and acts as an anti-caking agent.  Because these dry ingredients slowly pull the humidity out of the air, the meringue powder would eventually become a dry hard brick without the addition of corn starch.  You also see corn starch as an ingredient in your confectioner’s sugar for the same reason.  

 

Cream of Tartar is one of those ingredients that you see in the spice aisle of your grocery store or in your grandma’s cabinet but often have no idea what it is.  The name certainly doesn’t give you a clue.  Cream of Tartar is actually an acidic byproduct of fermenting grapes into wine.  Its scientific name is POTASSIUM BITARTRATE, AKA potassium hydrogen tartrate or tartaric acid.   This is where the commercial name, Cream of tartar, comes from. This helps to create foam and stabilize the egg whites to create  beautiful fluffy royal icing. 

Step 4:

Sift ingredients together at least 3 times. I use a fine mesh strainer for this step because it is messy and fun, but you can also use a flour sifter. If you have children, have them help you with this step! But, make sure to have plenty of wet paper towels for cleaning up! 

Let's Make Royal Icing!

Here’s what you’ll need:


6 tablespoons of meringue powder
5 ounces of warm water
2 lbs of confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

 

This recipe will make enough icing to decorate 24-36 cookies depending on their size

Step 1:

Put 6 tablespoons of meringue powder into the bowl of your mixer. You can also use a hand mixer

Step 2:

Add 5 ounces of warm water. Make sure to measure your water using a liquid measuring cup

Step 3:

Using your paddle attachment, mix on medium low speed until the mixture becomes frothy (like cappuccino foam)

Step 4:

Add in 2 pounds of confectioners sugar and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Low speed is important so your confectioners sugar doesn’t go everywhere. P.S don’t ask me how I know this can happen 🙂

Step 5:

Add in 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract and turn the mixer speed up to medium. Mix on medium speed for about 6 minutes or until the mixture resembles marshmallow fluff. The icing is ready when it holds a peak as you take the beater out of the bowl. Do not mix your icing past this stage or it will be spongy when it dries on your cookie. This happens because you add in too much air during the mixing process
About the Author: Lauren is an artist whose cookie have become a canvas! She loves to bake and to teach others how to bake as well. Lauren taught art to children for years so she knows how to break cookie decorating down into easy steps. She loves decorating cookies and can’t wait to help you learn this wonderful art form! You can find Lauren on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thecheerfulbaker