How To: Royal Icing Christmas Cookies

Royal Icing cookies are some of my all time favorite desserts! I have admired the local bakeries work all year round, ordered very expensive collections myself for special occasions, as well as follow way too many baking pages and watch way too many decorating videos online… so after lots of studying, I decided it was officially my turn to give royal icing cookies a try!

I will warn you, it was much more difficult than the 30 second clips I had watched online, but after obsessing over this process, lots of trial & error, and producing 100s of cookies this season! …I feel like I have a good starting point to say I know what I’m doing… Now that all of the learning is out of the way, I look forward to knocking out the next batch!!

This process required going through lots of burned/deformed cookies, flimsy cookie cutters, gross icings, craft store shopping trips, bad color mixing… you name it! So, here is everything I have learned so far in the process!

COOKIE CREATIONS TIME LINE-

  • Day 1- shopping, online/grocery store, pick up the tools & ingredients, make sure all cookie cutters are accounted for… figure out your design- dye colors you’ll need & overall plan
  • BAKING DAY- this is a day’s work! You’ll want your cookies to be shaped correctly & nice, cooled ready for icing… but in order for the cookies to be fresh this needs to be a max of 24hrs in advance
  • ICING PART ONE- this includes piping the outline and flooding the inside to get a perfect base… this takes a long time to dry, so if you’re trying to do this in the same day, do this part 1st thing in the morning… or allow to dry over night
  • ICING PART TWO- The fun part! Decorating! You will use the piping consistency to draw on your cookies, add designs, pour over sprinkles, etc… get creative!
  • TIME FOR DELIVERY! package your collections & distribute to friends & family… the most fun part! I got the tins at Target

SHOPPING LIST-

  • Sugar cookie dough- maybe one day I’ll create a good recipe, but I literally only used Pillsbury premade dough tubes & it was perfect!
  • Royal icing ingredients: Confectioner’s Sugar + Meringue Powder
  • Cookie Décor: sprinkles, food coloring- GEL ONLY
  • Baking Supplies: cookie cutters: 3″-5″ in size, ANN CLARK is the best brand/selection to chose from, cookie drying racks, cookie tools- silicone scraper & etching tool, parchment paper, Silpat mat

DO NOT WASTE TIME OR MONEY ON- royal icing mixes, pre made royal icing… you will run out and it’s hard to gauge how much you need to buy. The small tub pictured above was good- but not sustainable, especially for the price… the large tub pictured above tasted & smelled like Elmer’s glue, I literally threw away all of it.

BAKING COOKIES

  • if you’re using the Pillsbury dough, follow package instructions, adding flour mixing and baking
  • For the cookies to be the desired shape, cut with ANN CLARK cookie cutter, arrange on the cookie tray 1 inch apart
  • Place cookie tray in the freezer for approximately 10 minutes -it helps the cookies hold their shape while baking
  • Then bake the cookies following Pillsbury instructions
  • Let cool & prep for icing

To make royal icing you will need to make 2 consistencies- 1 to pipe & 1 to flood of each color you choose, so prepare for 2 batches per color. Piping icing is thicker and creates the border for your cookies. Flooding icing is much runnier and spreads quickly to fill the outline of your cookie.

OFFICIAL ROYAL ICING- PIPING RECIPE:

  • 1.5 pounds of Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of Meringue Powder
  • 6 tablespoons of warm water
  • Mix on medium for 9 minutes

OFFICIAL ROYAL ICING- FLOODING RECIPE:

  • 1 pound of Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of Meringue Powder
  • 6 tablespoons of warm water
  • Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes

*NOTE- Piping = thick, add more Sugar as needed, Flood = thin, add more water as needed…

DO NOT WASTE TIME OR MONEY ON- fancy tips or decorating couplers (at least not at the beginning, you definitely won’t be doing cookie calligraphy any time soon, lol- I thought I would be!) But either way, they’re not necessary, the pros I keep up with don’t use them & the icing spills out all around, making a mess

To fill icing bags- purchase official icing bags, and fold down the edges to fill, once the icing is poured tightly close off the top using a rubber band and snip a tiny hole in the end. When coloring, mixing, pouring, squeezing any icing– I highly recommend: wearing gloves or repeatedly washing your hands… You won’t believe the power of the dye! It can/will stain everything!

& if you’re lucky, you can enlist some help! I didn’t really think ahead about the magnitude of work when I decided to make 200+ cookies! I was very appreciative of Devon & Dillon’s help in completing the project. This is definitely a lot more fun as a group activity, there are just so many steps!

Ta-da! Very happy to have figured out royal icing!
& so glad they look + taste good! 🙂

Merry Christmas!

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