Royal icing is a hard and firm icingwhich dries to a matte finish, and is used for decorating cookies, biscuits, gingerbread men and houses and cakes. It is typically made from whipped egg whites and pure icing sugar, however I use a meringue powder- based product, called Royal Icing Mixture.
Janice from Baking Pleasures in Australia, has kindly let me use their photo for Cake Art's Royal Icing Powder. Baking Pleasures are an online baking store, they are my defintie favourite one-stop-shop, the baking essence flavours are yummy.
TOP 5 Tips for Royal Icing:
1) The great use for royal icing, is that you can make it smooth to make a hard thin layered icing onto cakes and biscuits and decorate with all sorts of sprinkles. The icing remain hard and not squishy like it would if you used icing sugar and water.
2)You can make the icing more stiff or firm to do intricate trellis work. I usually I pipe these designs onto baking paper, let them dry and then attach with a dab of royal icing onto my cake or gingerbread house. I use a number #00 or #0 size piping tip for this.
3) You can flavour it with baking essences, and really enahnce the overall taste of your baking. For gingerbread, I like to use raspberry and mint essences.
4) This icing is a must for gingerbread houses or gingerbread men, as it set hard fairly quickly and if prepared properly will hold your lollies and decorations, like in the examples in the pictures:
5) To do the piping of fine work, the mixture must be firm enough to hold it's shape, but not too sloppy. I follow the instructions on the back of the packet of royal icing, but you may need to adjust it to get the right piping consistency, see in the image below, it's smooth and fir, but not dripping.
I always use disposable bags for convenience and basic hygiene of your food preparation tools. If I'm decorating a gingerbread house, I like to use two or three colours (one flavour so as not to over do it), and I have all the colours filled in the disposable bags ready to go. You can put these bags in an airtight container in the fridge for a fews days as well, particularly if your icing a lot of biscuits or gingerbread!
If you have any extra tips or hints, or want to ask a question about royal icing, please add you comment. Have you had any icing failures? Happy decorating.