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How To: Decorate Sugar Cookies Using Royal Icing

Annie Marshall, from the food blog Annie's Eats, gives tips and tricks on how to make and use royal icing.

Hi, I'm Annie from the food blog Annie's Eats and I'm going to show you a little bit about how to decorate cookies with Royal Icing. This is one of my favorite techniques for decorating sugar cookies because it gives the cookies this really nice, smooth finish. When I am tinting Royal Icing different colors, I always use gel food coloring because it helps prevent thinning out of the icing too much like when you use liquid-based food colorings. Also, gels are usually available in more colors. When you start adding the color, it's just important to only add a little bit at a time, a drop at a time. The first step with Royal Icing is going to be putting a border of icing around the edge of your cookie. This icing will be a little bit stiffer than what we used to fill it. So we'll start out by piping an edge of icing around the cookie, and it's important when you're doing this step to keep the tip really close to the cookie because it prevents shaking and it helps you make straighter lines. The higher up your tip is, the more wiggle room there is for the icing on its way down. Once you're finished piping the outline on all your cookies, you can just go ahead and put the icing bag with the tip in a little bit of water in a glass to prevent it from hardening. The next step with Royal Icing is that we're going to flood the centers of the cookies with thinner icing. When you thin the icing out, it's important to just use a little bit of water at a time so that you don't get it too thin. This is about the consistency that you want. It's a little thicker than glue. After you've gotten the icing to the consistency that you want, you're going to want to let it sit uncovered for about 10 minutes so that all the bubbles you incorporated during the mixing process will rise up to the surface. And then once the bubbles rise, you can just give it a little stir with a spoon…a gentle stir and it will just pop all the bubbles. After you've flooded all your cookies, you're just going to go ahead and let them dry at least eight hours or overnight. Then you can just finish up by detailing the cookies however you like with the stiffer consistency icing. I'm just going to put a little curlicue on these. And once you're finished putting all the details on your cookies, then you just let that icing dry for a couple of hours until it feels hard to the touch and you're all done!