Royal Icing

This is an egg white based icing used to decorate cookies and cakes.The thickness of the icing has to be adjusted suited to your need.I will try to share my experience with icing consistency.

Preparation time:20 minutes
Serves:about 6 cups icing

Ingredients:
2 pounds powdered sugar
6 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
food colors of your choice(optional)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Procedure:
1.Take half of the water and heat it to be slightly warm.In the rest of the water add the egg whites and gently hand whisk it to mix without lumps.

2.Transfer the egg white liquid to the mixer bowl and whisk for a minute until lightly frothy.Add the vanilla extract and cream of tartar until combined.

3.Add sugar 1 cup at a time and continue whisking at a low speed until combined before you add the next cup,until all the sugar is incorporated.

 4.Add colors of your choice and transfer to piping bags and decorate your favorite cookies or cakes.

Tips:
There are different consistences for piping,if you want to draw a border for the cookie the consistency has to be slightly thick,you can test this by dripping the icing in the shape of a figure 8 and count from 1-15,if the shape holds till the 15 seconds time then it is the right consistency for drawing borders.
For filling inside the border the icing has to be thinner,you can always sprinkle drops of water and mix for thinning the icing,do the figure 8 test and count for 10 seconds to get the consistency right for filling.
I haven’t used this for cakes yet but I will update this blog post when I used it as cake icing.
Do not add the egg whites directly to warm water there is a higher chance of forming lumps.
If you do end up with lumps try to mix it gently as much as possible and filter it to remove any lumps,having lumps in the icing wont let you pipe the icing and can get frustrating.
You can also use fresh pasteurized egg whites in stead of meringue powder.
I used a #2 round tip for decorating my cookies,you can adjust the tip to your needs.
If you have a lot of icing leftover from decorating just whisk it a little more to form stiff peaks and then  drop them or pipe them on cookie sheets and bake them at 225F for 1hr 45 minutes-2 hours to get meringue cookies,you can also add chocolate chips and nuts to these cookies.(I did not whisk them again so they kind of flattened out)

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