Consistency is EVERYTHING
I know you have heard it before - consisency is KEY. But when it comes to Royal Icing consistency is EVERYTHING. I learned pretty early on that if my icing wasn’t the perfect consistensy there was no amount of finess that would fix it.
Flooding - In my opinion flooding is the single most important part. You can have all the details in the world - but sitting on top of a bumpy bubbly icing things will never look good.
I like to use time to determine my icing consistency. Once you are mixed, colored, and ready to go- drag a spreader/knife right through the center of your bowl. Now start counting. The amount of time it takes for your icing to completely settle down, erasing your spread - is how to determine the time of your icing. I like to use a 10 second icing for flooding - 10 seconds for the spread to settle back down to completely smooth. A 10 second flood is thin enough to give you a beautiful glassy smooth icing but thick enough to not need a border around the edge of your cookie. CONTROVERSIAL I know - but I just don't like the way a border looks- my opinion- doesn't have to be yours.
Lettering - A common mistake is using a very thick icing for writing - which will create a very rigid word - with peaks and bumps. A 20-25 second icing is the sweet spot for writing. At this consistency the peaks will settle down and create a smooth line while holding great shape and not spreading.
Details - Florals and ruffles that require great detail need a nice thick icing. I tend to use my royal icing straight from my recipe (provided below) not thinned out at all.
Thinning icing- When you make your first batch of Royal Icing it will be very thick - this is because this is just your starting point. Taking a portion of your icing - you will begin to thin it out. DO NOT put water directly from your faucet into the icing - this is the easiest way to ruin your icing. Thinning needs to be very slow and gradual. A spray bottle is suggested until you get the hang of it.
Fool Proof Recipe - I have made hundreds of batches of Royal Icing and I can proudly say I have never had a batch not work out- if I remember to put all the ingredients, which tends to be important.
2 lbs Confectioner sugar
6 TBS Merengue Powder
1/3 Cup Warm Water
1 TSP Flavoring - (Butter Vanilla)
*** FUN NOTE *** Royal icing is almost all powdered sugar so by nature it is VERY sweet. I like to offset the sweetness a but by adding a little salt to my cookie dough. The salty sweet combo is amazing :)