Grand Central Bakery

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Royal Icing Recipe

This simple icing is all you need to turn a batch of U-Bake Ready-to-Decorate Holiday Cookies into gorgeous treats for your guests – or just for yourself. We’ve included instructions for piping on designs with a pastry bag, but you could simply apply the icing with the back of a spoon and add a dusting of colored sugar. Happy holidays!

Makes 3 1/2 cups icing

For icing
2 large egg whites, plus extra for thinning icing if necessary
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

For decorating
– Liquid or gel food coloring (gels are available at decorating or kitchen shops)
– Decorating kit and several additional pastry bags or plastic squeeze bottles, if using multiple colors

Make icing.
In a medium mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, lightly whisk the egg whites and lemon juice. Add 3 1/2 cups of the sifted confectioners sugar and beat well until smooth and glossy; for cookie decorating, it should pause slightly before it streams off the tip of the beater. If the icing is too thick, add more egg white or lemon juice (icing may take longer to dry if thinned with lemon juice); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar. If not using immediately, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. After storing, whisk before pouring into small bowls to add color.

Test icing.
Before you fill a pastry bag, test icing again with a spoon; for detail work, it should pause slightly before it streams off the tip of a spoon. For covering the whole cookie, you’ll want it slightly thinner, which will cause it to stream off the spoon immediately.

Add color, fill pastry bags.
Divide icing among small bowls and stir in food coloring a few drops at a time until desired color is reached. Transfer icing to plastic squeeze bottle or a pastry sleeve fitted with a gasket and No. 4 tip. (To fill pastry bag, place bag tip side down in a tall measuring cup or pint glass, with point folded up.) Practice piping icing on parchment paper or counter before decorating cookies.

Flooding: To “flood” or cover cookie surface, ice the outline of the cookie and then pipe to fill in empty spaces. Smooth with an offset spatula if necessary. Let dry for at least an hour before continuing with raised designs.

Raised designs: To dry base layer, add piped borders, stripes or other decorations to make raised designs. For a sparkling effect, apply colored sugar to wet icing then tip the cookie to remove excess sugar. You can use coarser decorating sugar as well; apply and let the cookies sit for about 15 minutes before removing excess sugar.

Marbleizing: For a marbleized look, flood cookie surface. Add stripes or dots in a second color, then drag a toothpick through.

For more tips and ideas, watch our Holiday Cookie Decorating Video.