Royal icing is made from gently beaten egg white, lemon or lime juice and powdered sugar. The egg whites are sometimes substituted with meringue powder, to avoid risk of salmonella. Alternatively, pasteurized and refrigerated egg whites can be used.
This frosting dries hard pretty quickly, and is commonly molded into decorations for wedding cakes, like flowers, leaves and figurines. It's also used for gingerbread houses (not only as decor but to hold it together)and sugar cookies. Bakers sometimes add glycerin to prevent it from becoming too hard. It’s not common to use as the main frosting for a cake…but as decorative frosting for lettering, borders, flowers, and figurines.
Here is a typical recipe using meringue powder, submitted by one of our readers, Charmaine from Wessex, England. (originally from The Food Network with a twist)
3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (can also use almond, peppermint, etc.)
4 cups confectioners' sugar
In large bowl combine the egg whites and extract and beat until frothy. Add confectioners' sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is dissolved and mixture is shiny. Then, turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. Will take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner.
Make sure to cover or store in airtight container as it can harden fast. If stored properly in airtight container, will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Thanks Charmaine for submitting your ideas!
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