Royal Icing and Natural Food Colorings

By • March 14, 2016 0 Comments

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Author Notes: I use this recipe to frost sugar cookies for the holidays. I've included a bunch of natural food coloring variations at the bottom to make colors like on these Easter egg cookies!Erin McDowell

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Makes about 4 cups

  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 4 to 5 ounces egg whites
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the confectioners' sugar and egg whites gradually, mixing to combine.
  2. The texture of the icing will depend on what you’re using it for. If you’re using it for piping detail, you’ll want it to be stiffer: When you lift the whisk out of the bowl, the icing will fall in stiff ribbons and hold its shape. If you’re using it for flooding, you’ll want it to be thinner: When you lift the whisk out of the bowl, the icing will fall in thin ribbons—it will hold its shape for a moment, before “melting” into itself until the line is no longer visible.
  3. For the natural food dyes:
  4. Pink: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons strawberry powder for every 1 cup of royal icing. You can dissolve the powder in 1 to 2 tablespoons water before you add it if you want to minimize the risk of clumps.
  5. Red: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons beet powder for every 1 cup of royal icing. Dissolve the powder in 1 to 2 tablespoons water before you add it if you want to minimize the risk of clumps.
  6. Orange: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons carrot powder for every 1 cup of royal icing. Dissolve the powder in 1 to 2 tablespoons water before you add it if you want to minimize the risk of clumps.
  7. Yellow: Bring 1 cup of water and about 1/8 teaspoon (1 small pinch) saffron threads to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the mixture from the heat, and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain, then return the mixture to the pot. Reduce to 3 to 4 tablespoons, then transfer to a small jar to cool completely. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon yellow color for every 1 cup of royal icing.
  8. Green: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons matcha for every 1 cup royal icing, dissolving the powder in 1 to 2 tablespoons water before you add it if you like.
  9. Blue: Combine 2 cups shredded red cabbage and 1 1/2 cups water in a small pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the mixture from the heat, and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain, then return the mixture to the pot. Reduce to 3 to 4 tablespoons, then stir in a small pinch of baking soda—this will turn the color from purple to blue! Transfer to a jar to cool completely. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon blue color for every 1 cup of royal icing.
  10. Purple: Combine 2 cups blueberries and 1/4 cup water in a small pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the berries burst and begin to break down. Use a potato masher to mash the berries, then strain the liquid, discarding the solids. Return the juice to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Reduce to 1/4 cup, then transfer to a jar to cool completely. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon purple color to 1 cup of royal icing.

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Topics: Cookies!, Baking, Dessert