I’m a busy bunny making cookies for Easter (and for a special little girl’s birthday gift) so while I’m at it, I’m going to give you the scoop on preparing royal icing. If you need to “supply-up,” check out our list of 10 Tools for Decorating Fancy Sugar Cookies.

Find out how to prepare royal icing after the jump
And once you’re done here, visit our new post: Decorating Royal Icing Sugar Cookies.

Royal Icing Recipe:
3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 lb confectioners’ sugar sifted (if you buy it in bags, you don’t have to sift… nice)
8 tablespoons warm water (I use 6 tablespoons water plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice)

Instructions:
1. Beat all ingredients until icing forms a peak. I typically mix for 10-12 minutes at a medium speed in a KitchenAid Stand Mixer.
It should look something like the photo below (except white) and have a consistency similar to toothpaste.

Makes about 3 cups.

Now that your icing is made, you need to color it and get it into airtight containers. While you are working, drape a damp towel over your mixing bowl. It dries fast!

Move a percentage of your icing into a smaller bowl (recover the large bowl with damp towel)
If you are doing four colors, take 1/4 of the total.

Add color to the icing one drop at a time and mix thoroughly. Remember that the icing will dry a tad darker. If you are using coloring that is not in a dropper, use a toothpick to dip in the color and then into the icing. No double-dipping! But really, try to get your hands on some Americolor Gel Paste Food Color, it’s fabulous.

One of my favorite tips for making a great leaf green is to add a tad of red for a more natural (less bright) shade.

Now, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and fix your bag. I like to use disposable plastic pastry bags for royal icing. It’s so messy.

Push the bottom of a coupler firmly into the tip of the bag.

Cut off the tip of the bag.

Place the tip over the hole. For most purposes, you will use a #2 tip. This is not a #2.

Place the cap of the coupler over the top of the tip and twist on firmly.

Turn the top of your pastry bag down.

Spoon 1/3 of icing into bag, turn sides up and push icing down to tip.

Fold the top of the bag like so and add an elastic.

When you aren’t using your bag, wrap a piece of damp paper towel around the tip and store in a plastic bag.

Now, back to that bowl with the remaining 2/3′s of the same icing.

Add, a teaspoon of water at a time, mixing thoroughly after each, until your icing is just runny. The consistency of maple syrup. Pour this runny icing into your squeeze bottle and cap.

Repeat for your other colors!

Once all of your pastry bags are complete, they should be used within a day or two. If the icing starts to separate, pour it out of the bag and remix. store your icing in the fridge, in a plastic bag with the tips wrapped in wet paper towel .

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