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Royal Icing, after mixing, needs to be thinned before using and/or tinting. The consistency is right when the icing flows smoothly off the spoon, in an unbroken stream. It pipes better if it is not so thick.
SARAH SAYS: Some cookie decorators make an "outline" thickness and a "fill" thickness when they ice cookies. We like to ice our cookies with ONE consistency of icing, that is somewhere between the two, which we produce through thinning of the royal icing, shown here. We find that it is easier, and it has the added bonus of making a very smooth cookie, with no discernible outline around the cookie's edge.
This how to baking technique is used with the:
Thankful Cookie Tree Recipe Tutorial
Festive Caramel Mini Cake Petits Fours Recipe Tutorial
Heart Shaped Bridal Wedding Favor Cookies
HOW TO TIPS:
1. Prepare Kelly's Royal Icing Recipe. After mixing it is thick and very stiff.
2. Remove about 2 cups of thick royal icing from the mixer bowl at a time, and thin with water. Immediately cover the unused portion of the royal icing and set aside.
3. Using a spray bottle, slowly add water to the thick royal icing, stirring it in gently. Do not stir the icing aggressively, because it is possible to over-work the icing, which tends to make it flaky when dry.
SARAH SAYS: We found that the spray bottle adds in small amounts of water at a time and spreads it more evenly over the surface of the icing versus adding in water with a spoon. This helps to not deflate the icing or make some of it too wet in spots, making for better consistency. It prevents having to stir the icing aggressively.
4. The consistency is right when the icing flows smoothly off the spoon, in an unbroken stream.
4. Tint the icing.