Cookie Icing Troubleshooting Tips
Is this your first time trying to decorate your newest batch of cookies like a pro? Let the Wilton team lend a hand with a few handy troubleshooting tips to ensure they, and you, come out looking like rock stars. We think its always a good idea to be aware of some stickier situations of cookie icing and flooding as you start decorating. So heres a batch of things you can do to avoid mistakes thatll make you one smart cookie.
Here Are The Steps To Making Royal Icing:
4. Add 1 tsp of flavor and mix until incorporated. I use vanilla . You may wish to use clear vanilla for an extra white base icing. Lemon and/or almond are also popular icing flavors.
5. Once the water and meringue powder mixture is fluffy and foamy, add 1 pound of powdered sugar which is approximately 4 cups. Keep mixer on low, add slowly to avoid a powdery explosion. Using the plastic shield or putting a kitchen towel over the mixer also helps to contain sugar spills and poofs. To reduce lumps/tip clogs, you may wish to sift your sugar first
6. Once all the sugar is added, I increase the speed to 4 . The amount of mixing time can vary from 4-7 minutes depending on the humidity. Beat icing until it changes from the ivory color to a white. After a few minutes of mixing, youll notice the icing will become stiff and it increases in size.
7. Add WHITE food color to the icing. I usually add 2 tsp . Adding the white food color reduces/eliminates butter bleed issues for me .
If your icing seems too stiff, add another tablespoon or two of water to loosen the icing a bit. I like to mix the icing thick, but then use the water to bring it to a nice soft peak/piping icing consistency.
This photo is a great example of a soft peak…perfect for PIPING!!
How To Use Piping And Flooding Icings
Piping icing in a piping bag is used to create the border around your cookies or separate the sections of color designs on the top of the cookie.
It can also be used to add flourishes on top of the fully iced and completely dried cookie.
Flooding icing is wetter and smoother and is used to fill in the open spaces created by the piped borders.
It can also be used to create gorgeous “Wet on Wet” designs that I’ll demonstrate below.
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Tips And Tricks For Cookie Decorating
- Before decorating with royal icing or buttercream, make sure your cookies are at room temperature. If your cookies are still warm, the heat from the cookie can melt the frosting
- If you want your cookies to dry hard for easy gifting or packaging, use royal icing. But keep in mind that royal icing takes time to dry, sometimes as long as 24 hours, so plan ahead when youre decorating your cookies.
- Use a toothpick to help guide icing into smaller areas of your cookie.
- If youre decorating with kids, put their cookies on disposable paper plates to help contain the mess!
- Since royal icing has a high water content, it can cause sprinkles, sparkling sugars and nonpareils to bleed. Instead, use sprinkles on the cookies you decorate with buttercream or bottled cookie icing.
For even more helpful tips and tricks, check out our post on How to Decorate Cookies Like a Pro!
Tutorial: Cookie Decorating With Glace Icing
I consider myself to be a pretty good artist. My education and former profession is in the design field and Im pretty good at craft stuff. I also think Im a decent cook, so I figured with those two things going for me, decorating fancy sugar cookies would be right up my alley. Imagine my surprise when I attempted to play around with royal icing for the first time and my little masterpieces looked more like something in a 1st graders art pile. So I gave up on ever decorating fancy-schmancy cookies again.
That was until I met THIS style of icing. Now my confidence is back in tact because even my very first batch turned out beautifully! Its super forgiving, easy to use, and it actually tastes good!
The benefit of using an icing like this is that it dries to a solid sheen, making the cookies stackable and packable- perfect for giving or displaying on a platter. With a soft, fluffy buttercream, theres just no easy way to give them away so you have to eat them all yourself
All you need for this icing is powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and extract of your choice And we all know that corn syrup is not the same thing as high-fructose corn syrup, right?? Like, we dont have to have this conversation again? Okie-dokie then.
You can simply spoon this icing onto your cookies and gently spread out with a spoon and be done! One of the easiest ways is also to just quickly spread and let it go completely off the edges like this:
You honestly cant make an ugly cookie here.
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How To Decorate Christmas Cookies
Now comes the fun part decorating! Whether youre looking for simple, kid-friendly Christmas cookie ideas or youre aiming to gift cookies to family and friends, decorating sugar cookies for Christmas is sure to be a holly, jolly time if you keep these tips and tricks in mind!
All of these cookies begin with our tasty roll-out cookie dough recipe above, but you can also use these techniques on chocolate roll-out dough, gingerbread or your favorite roll-out cookie dough recipe.
How To Store And Freeze
- Royal icing dries to a very hard consistency and it will begin setting as soon as it is made. Depending on the temperature, humidity, and amount of icing used, royal icing will dry within 15 to 60 minutes of application.
- To prevent the icing from getting hard before you use it, thoroughly wet a paper towel and place it over the top of the icing in the bowl. It is very important to keep the icing covered. If you are using a pastry bag and piping tips with the icing, tightly twist the back end of the bag and wrap a wet paper towel around the tip when not in use.
- To store leftover royal icing, press plastic wrap against the surface and refrigerate it. It’ll keep for about three days, but you’ll need to let warm it up to room temperature and whisk it again to get the right consistency.
- You can freeze leftover royal icing in zip-top freezer bags for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge and then let it come to room temperature and re-whip before using.
- Do not refrigerate products with hardened royal icing as the icing can become soft and sticky.
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Hand Mixer Or Stand Mixer
To fully get the meringue powder incorporated into the icing, some sort of electric mixing is a must! You can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer, either will work. When I only need a little bit of icing, I typically use my KitchenAid Hand Mixer because its easier. But when making large amounts of Royal Icing, a KitchenAid Stand Mixer will really help your efficiency.
No matter which you use, you will need to keep the speed low . If you beat on too high of a speed, you will get air bubbles in the icing which will show up on the cookie. Trust me, these are a pain in the butt to pop, so its easiest to try and avoid them all together.
What Piping Tips Are Used To Decorate Christmas Cookies
For outlining or piping facial features , we suggest round piping tips. Smaller numbers, like 1 through 5, are great for tiny lines and fine details, while larger numbers, like 6 through 10, are good for thicker outlines and flooding.
Small star tips, such as numbers 16 through 21, can be used to pipe stars, rosettes, swirls or hair on a Santa cookie. You can also use petal or leaf tips to decorate Christmas tree and wreath cookies.
You can learn more about round, star, petal and specialty piping tips in our post, Piping Tips 101 A Guide to Get You Started.
You can write messages on cookies using royal icing and a very thin round tip . You can also use edible FoodWriter Markers to color, outline or draw your design on hardened royal icing.
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Royal Icing And Flood Icing
Do you ever wonder how bakeries get that shiny, smooth, perfect icing on cookies? They are gorgeous and can look really complicated. But heres a secret: they arent complicated at all. In fact, this smooth royal icing recipe is simple to make and easy to use. Its perfect for decorating cut out cookies.
Christmas Cookie Royal Icing Decorating
The pink & green cookies that youre going to see here in this post, are actually my second attempt in decorating cookies. The first time I gave it a go, was on the Christmas cookies below and all that did was begin my cookie decorating obsession.
Although they are SO far from perfect, they were so fun to make, addicting, and extremely therapeutic!
You can see in the above photo, that my little snowman is cracking, and my royal icing on the stocking isnt a smooth flat surface like Id like. This will iron out in the future cookie decorating attempts, I hope!
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Simple Designs For Beginners
As you’re learning to use royal icing, it is best to choose designs that are simple but stunning. These easy techniques are perfect for beginners to use for learning how to use the piping and flooding icings.
When you’re finished, your cookie tray will be simply breathtaking. Never underestimate the power of simplicity in design!
All the designs below use just two colors of icing — white + one tinted color of your choosing.
Change the shape of the cookie and the color of the tinted icing and you could have a wide range of designs available at your fingers using these same simple design tricks!
You’ll find a list of fun ideas after the demonstrations to get you started.
Favorite Baking Tools For Cookies
- Silpat Mat This is a GAME CHANGER when it comes to baking cookies. Trust me! The bottoms never burn and all of my cookies turn out lovely with this!
- Kitchenaid Mixer Definitely not necessary, but if youre getting in to baking, youd love to have a stand mixer if you dont already!
- GOOD baking sheets for cookies!
- Mini Serving Spatula I love being able to lift the cookies off of the baking sheets after theyre finished, without rubbing up against the others on the sheet, damaging them. Thats why a mini is handy!
- Cooling Rack Any should do, but I can barely pass up a gorgeous rose or champagne gold cooling rack.
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Easy Royal Icing Recipe For Sugar Cookies
Published: by Amy · This post may contain affiliate links ·
Beautifully decorated cut-out cookies for every celebration and holiday are totally attainable at home with this easy royal icing recipe for sugar cookies and a few tips & tricks to give you the confidence you need to try this technique yourself!
I’ve shared three of my favorite sugar cookie recipes , but I can’t just give you a cookie recipe without sharing an easy royal icing recipe for sugar cookies, now can I? Be sure not to miss any of my cookie recipes!
Glossy Sugar Cookie Icing
I absolutely love the shiny appearance of my cut out cookies using this Glossy Sugar Cookie Icing !
This icing is perfect for either dipping your sugar cookies or flooding Christmas cookies, as well as using for a semi-transparent thin glaze on cookies, cakes, and other desserts. It’s so quick and easy and made with only 4 ingredients!
Glossy Sugar Cookie Icing is an easy icing for holiday sugar cookie decorating!
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How To Make Powdered Sugar Icing For Cookies
Step 1: Add powdered sugar into medium-sized bowl and add milk, vanilla, almond extract, and salt.
Step 2: Use a rubber spatula to mix until smooth. The consistency should be thick enough that it wont run off cookies, but thin enough that the icing melts back in on itself when you drizzle a spoonful over the bowl.
Tip: If your icing looks too dry, add 1 teaspoon of milk until it looks like the consistency in the video above. If it is too thin, add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar until it looks like the consistency in the video.
Step 3: Once you reach the correct consistency, add food coloring. I recommend squeezing a dot of food coloring on a paper plate, dipping the tip of a toothpick through it, then swiping it through the icing. This will allow you to control the amount of color you add.
Tip: To achieve this peach color, I did 2 swipes of red with 1 swipe of yellow. If making Christmas cookies, check out my formulas for How To Make Dark Green Icing .
Step 4: Once colored, spoon the icing into a tipless piping bag . To ice the cookies, pipe an outline around the edge of the cookie then working your way from the outside in, fill in the center.
Step 5: Immediately after piping on the icing, use a toothpick to spread out the icing and fill in any holes. Top with sprinkles, if desired.
Tip: For more decorating ideas, check out my 7 Easy Sugar Cookie Decorating Techniques guide!
More icing & frosting recipes:
Royal Icing Decoration : Pipe Designs
Taste of Home
If youd like a more intricate design on your cookies, you can create those too with the same tools. Instead of piping cookies while the base layer is wet, youll let the base dry completely.
Using a slightly stiffer royal icingjust add in some extra confectioners sugaryou can pipe on whatever design you like with either a piping bag or the decorating squeeze bottles. Our Test Kitchen likes a simple tone on tone design. White on white is great for winterbut you can easily make flowers, dots or other patterns using the same tools. The skys the limit.
Editors note: Experiment with your design on a piece of parchment paper to get the icing flowing before you decorate the actual cookie. And remember, practice makes perfect!
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Easy Sugar Cookie Icing
You know those fancy decorated cookies that look almost too pretty to eat? Well, you can make impressive looking cookies like that, too and its easier than you might think! All you need is sugar cookies and this icing were sharing today.
This icing is so easy to make with only a few simple items, and creates a hard shell so you can stack your cookies or bag them.
Can You Freeze Cookies
Yes, you can freeze iced cookies! Ensure the icing has fully dried. Place your finished sugar cookies in an air-tight container or freezer bag and pop in the freezer for up to three months.
To defrost, remove cookies from the freezer and pop in the refrigerator overnight or leave at room temperature from a few hours!
- 2 ½cupspowdered sugar
- 1teaspoonvanilla extractclear
- 1 ½tablespoonslight corn syrup
- Beat powdered sugar, vanilla, corn syrup and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl until smooth.
- Add milk a little at a time to reach desired consistency.
- Stir in food coloring to reach desired color. Decorate cookies and allow icing to set.
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Medium Consistency Royal Icing
Medium consistency royal icing can be used for outlining, text, and some detail. The best way to ensure your flood icing does not run off of the edge of the cookie, is to use the outline method. This simply means, outline around the edge of the cookie . I also use this consistency for text and details such as leaves and small areas that need to be filled with icing.
For the counting method, you will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-25+ seconds: closer to 15-20 seconds for small areas that need filling such as leaves closer to 20-25+ seconds for writing text. The best way to determine what works best for you is, of course, practice!
Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe
If you prefer not to read the helpful information and recipe tips, you can skip to the bottom for the complete printable recipe card.
- Powdered sugar: You need powdered sugar for this recipe. Do not use granulated white sugar. Sifting the powdered sugar is highly recommended to avoid lumps and render a smoother icing.
- Whole milk: Milk is used to thin the icing. I recommend whole milk or 2%. Avoid skim and milk substitutes for this recipe.
- Light corn syrup: This helps the icing harden and what gives it that brilliant shine!
- Vanilla extract: For flavor. If you need your icing to be bright white, use clear vanilla extract.
- Pinch of salt: Just a pinch of salt elevates all the other flavors, but this ingredient is completely optional.
How to Make Sugar Cookie Icing:
You simply stir all the ingredients together until combined and smooth. If icing is too thick, add a bit more milk , until the icing is thick but pipeable. Alternatively, if its too thin, add a little more powdered sugar until desired texture is reached.
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