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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Royal Icing Recipe

It occurred to me, I've never really paused to take photos when I'm making "stiff-consistency royal icing"; mostly because it starts drying almost immediately if it's allowed to sit around. I thought it would be good to demystify the process though, so here's all you'll need: 2 pounds of powdered sugar, 6 tablespoons of meringue powder, and 3/4 cup of warm water. You'll also need an airtight whatever-ware 6-cup container, a sifter, a scraper, and a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater. Can royal icing be made without a stand mixer? I'm sure it's been done, but the prospect gives me cramps in muscles I don't even have. 
 Put the sifter into the mixer's bowl and fill it with the powdered sugar and meringue powder. Sift it gently; no matter what, the air will be filled with sweet, powdery dust.
 Start a timer for 10 minutes (all of which you might not need; it's just a guide). Attach the bowl to the mixer and turn it on low speed. Pour a very slow, thin stream of the warm water; use maybe half of it.
 Listen to the motor. It might start to strain or moan at you. Switch it off right away and quickly scrape the sides of the bowl and the flat beater. Pour in another tablespoon or two of water, and start the motor up again on slow to low-medium speed.
 Eventually the consistency should start to look like this. The above step may need to be repeated. I'm often left with a tablespoon or two of water that go unused, but it's good to have them handy. Stiff-consistency royal icing is frequently compared to toothpaste, but these days most people think of toothpaste as being a blue gel full of glitter.
 Just know that when you lift the flat beater out of the bowl, the icing shouldn't move and it should have almost a matte finish. Don't overbeat it; you don't want it to be unnecessarily frothy or full of air.
 Scrape it all into an airtight bowl as quickly as possible, and store it in a cool, dry place like a cupboard. Wash the mixer bowl, beater, scraper, etc. quickly before the icing sets. This recipe makes 6 cups, which may seem like a lot of icing (but I'm pretty sure you can find some inspiration on this blog and elsewhere to use it all up).

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