How To Make Royal Icing from a Mix
Royal Icing is a classic frosting used to pipe intricate dried decorations and more often, used to cover decorated cookies. It's a stark contrast to buttercream because it dries firm. Every cake decorator should have a good royal icing recipe in their arsenal.
You can definitely make it from scratch and can find our Royal Icing Scratch Recipe here, but when I'm rushed to make cookies, I opt for a ready-to-use mix. It not only saves time, but works perfectly and tastes delicious. Our royal icing mix can be made with less water for a pipeable, fluffly frosting or a little additional water to create "flood" or "color flow" icing for cookies. Here are the steps to create royal icing quickly with some trouble shooting tips and tricks:
One 1lb. bag of royal icing mix makes enough to ice 25-30 3" cookies with color flow icing.
PIPING ROYAL ICING:
It's essential that you have an extremely clean and grease-free mixing bowl and utensils or royal icing, whether it's from a mix or from scratch, will not dry and set up properly. So, start by placing one 1 lb. bag of royal icing mix in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle.
Add 5 Tablespoons of hot water and turn the mixer on low.
Once the ingredients are moistened, switch the mixer to high and paddle the mixture until it's fluffy and stands in peaks. 3 minutes or so.
Now you can place it in a clean, grease free piping bag and pipe stiff royal icing decorations on top of a cookie. You can also pipe a design on wax paper, such as filigree or flowers, let the icing completely dry and remove the decorations to apply to a cake.
RUNNY ROYAL ICING (ALSO KNOWN AS COLOR FLOW OR RUN IN ICING)
To make runnier icing, you need create the stiff icing as listed above. Then, you will need to add some additional water (approximately 1 or 2 tablespoons) to thin the icing. Rather than adding in an exact amount of water all at once, you need to look for the correct consistency and this will let you know when you've added the right amount of water.
CONSISTENCY: You will know that the runny royal icing will be just right when you scoop out a small spoonful of icing, drop it back onto the surface and it takes 10 full seconds to dissolve back in and become invisible. If it takes longer than 10 seconds, the icing will be too thick, if it dissolves quicker, the icing will be too runny.
So, start by drizzling in a teaspoon of water at a time, mix thouroughly and then test to see if the consistency is correct.
When the icing is ready, you can place it in a piping bag or a squeeze bottle (which helps things stay a little neater)
Whether you are using stiff royal icing or color flow icing, you will need to keep any excess icing covered while you work so that it doesn't get crusty. Any left over icing can be placed in the fridge for a day or two for later use.
HOW TO COLORFLOW A COOKIE:
Start by creating an outline on the edge of the cookie. You could use the tip of the squeeze bottle, or a #2 or #3 tip depending on your piping strength.
Then, zig zag icing back and forth and fill in the cookie. There may be some gaps in your piping so use the tip of your bag or squeeze bottle to swirl around and connect the icing. While the icing is wet, you can add sprinkles or sanding sugar and then shake off the excess to give your cookies some zing.