I’ve always loved sugar cookies but thought royal icing cookies were difficult to make. Turns out, making royal icing sugar cookies is obtainable if you find a simple recipe! Read below for the cookie and icing recipe that I love using for the holidays. Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure by clicking here.
Before you start your baking adventure you’ll need a few handy tools. I linked my favorite baking tools below:
- Icing coloring kit – Don’t skip and using food coloring from the grocery store. This concentrated color kit is perfect for baking and comes with 12 colors!
- Hand mixer – Or if you already have one: Kitchen aid mixer
- Wilton squeeze bottles – These are the best squeeze bottles for royal icing. Don’t try to create the icing bags… that will create a mess fast.
- Cookie cutters – I linked my favorite set of cookie cutters. I know.. it’s 101 cookie cutters, which sounds like a lot, but it has the whole alphabet, all the numbers, and cookie cutters for every holiday. I went ahead and bought it to avoid buying extra sets later.
- Cookie bags– You’ll want these for after the cookies are completed- they make a nice finishing touch.
- And some of the more basic baking items- cookie sheets, rolling pin… etc.
Besides these products, it’s not necessary for beginner bakers to get all the bells and whistles. Believe me, after reading many royal icing recipes online I could have bought a hundred product like a brush set or scribe tool. Stick to the basics for your first time making royal icing cookies and then expand as needed.
Cookie Dough Prep
In one bowl mix the fats [Butter and Sugar]- 1 cup softened butter and 1 cup sugar. Softened butter means it’s at room temperature and soft to the touch or easy to spread. The consistency of the dough won’t be correct if you mix it straight from the fridge or try to melt in the microwave.
In a second bowl mix the liquids- 1 tablespoon milk and 1 egg. Then combine into bowl 1.
In a third bowl sift together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Then slowly pour everything into the first bowl and mix together until the dough comes off the sides of the bowl.
Now split the dough into two pieces and let the dough sit in the fridge for two hours covered in parchment paper.
Preheat the oven the oven to 375 degrees F.
Take the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up for a few minutes. Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick using lots of powdered sugar on the rolling pin and counter/cutting board so the dough doesn’t stick.
Use the cookie cutters to cut into the dough and place cookies on your baking sheet for 7-9 minutes in the oven. Use parchment paper on your cookie sheets to make sure the cookies don’t stick. Take the cookies out of the oven as the edges start to turn golden.
Let the cookies cool on a cooling rack and start making your royal icing! I’ve made the most simplified royal icing recipe I could think of. It’s two ingredients + food coloring! It can’t get much easier than that.
- 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2.5 Tablespoons water
- Food coloring of your choose
Add more water if it’s too stiff and add more powdered sugar if it is too runny.
The ideal texture test is to put a spoon in the royal icing, then lift it up. If the icing falls back into the bowl at a slow consistent rate and the icing flows back together, then you have the correct consistency. If the icing from the spoon doesn’t conglomerate back with the icing in the bowl and just sits on top then add more water. If the icing runs too quickly then add more sugar.
Once you have the perfect consistency, then you can use a funnel and move the royal icing from the bowl to a squeeze bottle listed above. Use the squeeze bottle and start with an outline of the cookie. Let the outline harden for 5 minutes and then flood/fill-in the rest of the cookie with the icing. Go back and forth until you get the cookie fully covered with icing.
Here are a few tips to make it easier:
- The fewer icing colors the easier.
- Make a lot of your main color icing because it is impossible to recreate the same shade again after you’ve started icing.
- Any time that you are icing a cookie with two colors in the same layer- Start with the darker color to avoid colors merging. For example- candy canes, start with the red and let it dry for an hour, then finish with the white icing.
See below for the finished product :). Not exactly Food Network worthy, but I was pretty excited. Search on Pinterest for more fun designs. Once the cookie has fully dried, can take 24 hours. wrap in the cookies with ribbon for a nice finish.
I hope you enjoyed this royal icing recipe!
Have a great holiday,