Royal Icing

You can make this with meringue powder, or use fresh egg whites.  When made with a thicker consistency, this icing can be piped on for details.  When a little thinner, you can dip the front of cookies, let it drip off and then set them down to decorate.

1. Beat until foamy, either 2 large egg whites plus 1/4 cup water or meringue powder to reconstitute to 2 egg whites — about 5 tablespoons plus water as specified. Total liquid should be about 1/2 cup.

2. Gradually add in about a pound to a pound and a half of powdered confectioner’s sugar.  When you need water, add in small amounts. I also add about a tablespoon of lemon juice.  Entirely optional.

3. Beat for several minutes until well incorporated.  For cookies the icing should drip from the beaters when lifted, not run off, and not be so thick that you grow old watching it . . .  play with it a bit.  For gingerbread houses, thicker is better, but not so thick that it doesn’t adhere to the gingerbread walls.  Also, thinner is better for making “icicles” on gingerbread houses.

4. The good thing about this icing is that it’s very adjustable.  And you can just add powdered sugar or water as needed without sending it back to the mixer.  Just stir it in with a spoon.  Color with food colorings if you want or keep white.

5. Have some extra powdered sugar on hand in case your icing turns out too runny . . . And have fun!

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