This is my first ever attempt at using Royal Icing on cookies, and I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with the results.

For days I searched the internet for recipes, browsed forums for feedback on recipes, and scoured YouTube for tutorials on …well, truthfully: everything! I admit, I got a bit distracted at times. In fact, I found this pretty strange video on “how not to make bread“….

Ok ok, back to the cookies.

So I found a recipe, bought the ingredients, and got down to baking…the next day. I am the queen of procrastination. I know. Once the cookies were baked, I left them to cool, and watched a few more YouTube videos on decorating with Royal Icing. Then I got to it.

Much to my surprise, it wasnt actually that difficult. Well, possibly the most complicated part, is learning how to make the royal icing, and of course the time spent stressing by the oven wondering if your cookies are baking ok. And of course, not having enough table space to put trays and trays of cookies!

Nontheless, I got on with the job and very quickly had decorated almost 50 cookies. I think I ate a few. I also think “quickly” means a few hours went by.

So, because its such an awesome recipe, and where would I be if others hadn’t shared it, I will share it with you! I didnt at all create these recipes, but I’ll put the South African version as most recipes I find arent in metric conversions.

Sugar Cookies
(source: theauberginechef)

Ingredients:

  • 226g granulated sugar
  • 450g butter (I used salted, it was cheaper), room temperature!!
  • 680g cake flour
  • 3 whole eggs

Method:

  • 1. Either by hand with a whisk, or preferably in a mixer, cream the butter until soft in the mixer.
  • 2. Add all the sugar and cream until light and fluffy on medium speed.
  • 3. Add the eggs one at a time until totally incorporated, then scrape the bowl between each addition.
  • 4. Stop the mixer and add all the cake flour at once, and incorporate on low speed. Be sure to scrape the bowl. Continue to mix for 1-2 minutes more.
  • 5. Remove from bowl and portion out into large discs, about the size of what you would like to roll out.
  • 6. Refrigerate to stiffen – approximately 10-15 minutes. (I put mine in the freezer for 10-15min then took what I needed and put the rest in the fridge, taking more as needed)
  • 7. Remove from fridge one usable portion at a time and roll out to about 1/2cm inch thickness. Cut out various shapes.
  • 8. Bake at 160-176 degrees C for about 8-12 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the cookie.

Royal Icing:
(not sure where I found this recipe, but I tweaked it to suit my own liking)

Ingredients:

  • 500g powdered sugar, sifted (icing sugar, sifted)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 – 1tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp extract/essence (I used lemon flavouring, it was nice and didnt discolour the white icing)

Method:

  • Add egg whites, essence, and cream of tarter to mixer with paddle attachment and mix for a few seconds.
  • Add half the powdered sugar and mix on low until incorporated.
  • Stop and scrape down bowl.
  • Add more powdered sugar and mix again on low.
  • Stop and scrape down bowl.
  • Add remaining powdered sugar and mix on low, then on medium for a minute or two. You should notice it getting whiter by now.
  • Voila! You’re done!

Check consistancy:
Run a knife through the icing or drizzle some icing from a spoon back into your icing bowl.
If it covers up/blends within 1-5 seconds, I feel its too runny. Add more sifted powdered sugar.
If it covers up/blends within 5-10 seconds, its great for piping and filling (I prefer it closer to the 10sec mark)
If it covers up/blends within 10-12 seconds, its good for detail work.
Anything over 15 seconds and its too thick, add 1 teaspoon of water and mix. Repeat with caution until consistancy is correct.

Colouring:
Divide icing into bowls, one for each colour you’ll need (use more in the bowls you’ll need more colouring for). Add colouring as needed. If it gets too runny, add a teaspoon or two of sifted sugar and mix well.

Decorating:
Each layer will need an hour or two, if not more, between decorating. I did my piping and flooding on Saturday after baking. Then I did the eyes and details later that night, and I waited a day before packing into the individual packets (I recommend waiting 12-24 hours before packing into packets). The cookies dont go stale cos the royal icing preserves them. Dont put them in a container to dry, leave them out in the open. Containers make them soggy, as does the refrigerator.

Put into piping bags and have at it!

Dont forget to take pics and show me what you’ve made!

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