Royal icing is great! It's easy to make, easy to use, and there are tons of great tutorials all over the web, like this one, this one or this one. I followed the steps there, and the cookies turned out great! The biggest lesson learned is that I need to practice before actually icing the cookies -- the best ones are the ones I did last. But, like anything, I learn as I go and improve as I go, so the next batch will be even better, I'm sure. It's encouraging at least!
My recipe differs a little from some of the others floating around, and for these cookies I made only a half-batch, (since I only made a half-batch of cookies) and it was still way more than I needed. Regardless, it's better to have too much than too little, and the leftovers were put to good use: I made little designs on wax paper to be used later as sprinkles or cupcake toppers.
I decided upon the Wilton recipe for Royal Icing since I had made Wilton's sugar cookies, and since the cake decorating class I'm following is Wilton. I've got them on the brain, I guess, but really any recipe should turn out more or less the same, provided you follow the steps in the tutorials. The only thing I'd change were I to do it again with the stand mixer, is to add another teaspoon of water in to thin the first batch (the writing icing) -- it was a little too thick and burst through the piping bag. It was also hard on my hands to use. So, with a little bit more water, I'm sure it'd work better. I just wouldn't try with too much more water than that because if it's too thin I really can't pipe with it!
Wilton Royal Icing
Makes: about 3 cups of icing*
3 Tbsp Meringue Powder
1 pound (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
6 Tbsp warm water
Add all ingredients to your mixing bowl.
Notes from Wilton:
- Keep all utensils completely grease-free for proper icing consistency.
- For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.
- When using large counter top mixer or for stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.
* I'm providing the whole recipe, but I halved it and was fine. Adjust as you see fit.
Thinned Royal Icing: To thin for pouring, add 1 teaspoon water per cup of royal icing. Use grease-free spoon or spatula to stir slowly. Add 1/2 teaspoon water at a time until you reach proper consistency.
Source: Recipe & notes, Wilton.