Royal Icing Recipes With and Without Corn Syrup
The tutorials that follow test two types of Royal Icing against each other. One I call “crispy” and the other, “soft.”
According to a survey conducted by Liesbet Schietecatte in Julia Usher’s Toolbox Talk, crispy Royal Icing is the most commonly used in online tutorials. Its basic ingredients are egg whites (or a meringue substitute) and confectioners’ sugar. The Ingredients tend to vary by instructor and the resulting frosting tastes like hard sugar candy when applied thickly.
Because of crispy Royal Icing’s stiffness, it can be flowed flat onto a cookie surface, or piped into various designs and shapes. Unfortunately, during the drying process the outcome of this frosting can be unpredictable due to handling, humidity, or slow drying time. Consequently, without proper handling, this frosting can pit, crack, or collapse.
Soft Royal Icing contains the same ingredients as crispy, plus a small amount of corn syrup and Cream of Tartar, which also varies by instructor. This results in a firm, but softer surface whose dried appearance resembles polished leather.
Because this Royal Icing is softer, it cannot be easily used to build sculptural cookies with molded or transferred parts. It does, however, create smooth surfaces, patterns and lines that don’t break. Many people like the taste of its texture over the crispy icing, but its sheen fades after a few days when not bagged and refrigerated.
Recipe for Crisp Royal Icing
Ingredients in Stephanie Kappel’s words
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Up to 1 tablespoon flavoring extract of choice, such as vanilla or lemon (optional)
- Gel coloring (optional)
- 5-6 tablespoons lukewarm water
- Sift powdered sugar and meringue powder together into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Mix contents on low speed to combine further, using the whisk attachment.
- Add flavor and coloring as desired and mix on low until combined.
- Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing on low until desired consistency is achieved.
- Whip on high for 4 minutes or until royal icing is thick and forms very stiff peaks. Be careful not to over mix.
Recipe for Soft Royal Icing
This recipe was submitted to Julia Usher’s Cookie Connection by Karen Anderson, owner of SugarDeaux. She entitled her article, SugarDeaux Quick Dry Royal Icing.
Ingredients in Karen Anderson’s words
- 2 lb bag of powdered sugar ( I use Walmart’s)
- 6 tbsp of CK Meringue Powder
- 3/4 tsp of Cream of Tartar
- 5 oz warm water
- 1 tsp Clear Butter Flavor (I use Wilton’s)
- 2 tsp Clear Vanilla Flavor (I use Wilton’s) You can also use almond, lemon or whatever you choose!
- 1 tbsp of Light Corn Syrup
- Mix your meringue powder and warm water with your WHISK attachment on medium high speed until it is thickened up and doubled in size (about 1 min)
- Add Cream of Tartar, Butter & Vanilla Flavors. Mix about 30 secs.
- Still using whisk attachment, add half bag of powdered sugar and mix on LOW until smooth – about 30 secs. ( If you have a plastic cover- great! If not wrap a clean tea towel around mixer to keep sugar in.)
- Add Corn Syrup, mix in (10 secs)
- Stop mixer and add remaining Powdered Sugar. Mix on medium-low for 30 secs, then scrape down sides of bowl. Mix for ONE more minute.
- Makes enough RI to ice about 3-4 dozen medium cookies.
- Immediately store in airtight container(s)
- Voila! Done with less than 4 minutes mixing time start to finish!
Next . . .
The articles that follow use these two recipes to find out how they differ from one another and provide “best practice tips” when you set out to duplicate your favorite Royal Icing designs.
- Better Basics for Exceptional Cookies, a tutorial by Stephanie Kappel on Craftsy.com
- Julia Usher’s Cookie Connection
- SugarDeaux Quick Dry Royal Icing by Karen Anderson, owner of SugarDeaux
- For more Royal Icing recipies and online tutorials, do a web search on the phrase “Royal Icing Recipes.”
- Julie Usher’s blog area, Toolbox Talk
- Corn Syrup in Royal Icing, Liesbet Schietecatte’s article on Julie Usher’s site
To see a list of all articles in this series, CLICK HERE
Questions? Comments? Additions? Corrections? Write to Karen Little at karen@Littleviews.com
Written for Littleviews-Crafts.com by Karen Little, publisher. All rights reserved, but feel free to re-publish this article after contacting Karen so she knows where to find it.