Friday, May 20, 2011

Royal Icing with Dried Egg Whites



I'm actually kind of surprised that anyone cares how I do anything. When people first started asking me how I make royal icing I would reply with,

"You know...just like everyone else does. Egg whites...powdered sugar....done."

I really wasn't trying to brush anyone off or keep some kind of weird icing secret. And it was only later that I found out that most people use a meringue powder to make royal icing. But it's still basically the same way.

Dried Egg White Royal Icing

4 tsp dried egg whites
1/4 c room temperature water
1 tsp lemon juice (or 1/4 tsp cream of tartar) *** BOTH ARE OPTIONAL
3 c powdered sugar

~~OR, for a larger batch ~~
1/4 cup dried egg whites
3/4 cup room temperature water
1 Tbsp lemon juice (or 1/2 tsp cream of tartar) *** BOTH ARE OPTIONAL
2 pounds powdered sugar


Mix water and egg whites in the bottom of a mixing bowl. Let stand 3-5 minutes. Add lemon juice or cream of tartar if you choose. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix on medium just until combined. The resulting icing should also be about stiff peak thick. (Because I like it that way. If you don't like to make it stiff first, then don't add all the powdered sugar.) I usually wait until after I color my icing before I thin it down. But...you know....do what you want.

NOTE: The lemon juice and the cream of tartar are for YOUR protection. They stabilize the egg whites. If your beat egg whites too much, their protein structure will be compromised and they will sink and get all "weirdy" and then you will have to get rid of them. And probably cry. And then try all over again. BUT if you add lemon juice or cream of tartar, they will beat at stiff peak phase for a while longer, giving you time to realize they are ready even though you got totally distracted by the firetruck that drove into the river across the street. Personally, I love the flavor the lemon juice adds to the royal icing so I almost always add that instead of cream of tartar. Plus...let's be honest. It's WAY cheaper. And you can judge me if you want, but I'm totally the kind of person who cares.

39 comments:

Skye said...

Thank you! Now I can use up those cans in my pantry! So...let's say I'm you and I don't want to measure powdered sugar from the bag because it gets all over the counter and I want to dump a two pound bag in.....you don't have a ballpark for that by any chance do you? Thanks for this! (I wonder what the other secret ingredient is in MP?)

LilaLoa said...

Skye -- I NEVER measure powdered sugar. (Except today.) I just pour powdered sugar into the egg whites until it gets thick. If you want to use an entire 2 pound bag...I would use just over 3 Tablespoons of egg white powder; 1/2 c plus 1 Tablespoon of water and 2 tsp of lemon juice. It should be close. (But if it's not exactly right and it ruins your life...I'm claiming no responsibility.)

Estibaliz said...

Hi, I'm a fan of you long time ago! LOL, you`re very funny! Thank you for the ideas!!

Glora said...

Okay, this is SO awesome of you to do. I seriously had no idea that there was something called dried egg white powder. Where do you get something like that? I guess this tells you my baking skill level. You are amazing! Hugs- Glora

Lorraine said...

Hi Lilaloa. In your opinion, what are some of the difference you have found between using meringue powder vs. egg whites? Which do you prefer? Thanks so much. I just read the graduate cookie post - very funny and I love the fish idea. Awesome.

Katy said...

@Lorraine - Meringue powder is just powdered egg whites - they're the same thing :-)
@Skye - I think 2 lbs powdered sugar is roughly equivalent to 8 cups.
@Glora - you can find powdered egg whites at the grocery store, look in the baking aisle (my store carries them near the Jello and cake mixes and such.)

I always make my royal icing this way, no worrying about raw eggs or anything, and it beats up perfectly! Thanks for the tip about the lemon juice, I'll have to try that next time :-)

paddle attachment said...

Ok, sweet. This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I switched to a meringue powder recipe after many failed attempts to make royal icing with egg whites. I can't wait to try your methods!

Natalie said...

I have found pasturised fresh egg whites from an online supermarket in the UK and it makes the nicest and easiest royal icing. Mainly because I will only use free range eggs. I have my very own chickens because I am so anti battery farming. Anyways, I love my new found way of making RI. Plus point, if I add too much sugar, I can always just put in some more egg white he he.

SweetCharity said...

I'm with you. I normally use egg whites with no worries. I think that the resulting product tastes better and is shinier than meringue powder. I also think there is a differnce in texture and since I learned to pipe with egg white royal icing, I find the meringue version harder to work with. Thanks for the great post!

Lexy said...

I don't see any reference to using fresh lemon juice or the bottled variety. What is your choice?

Thanks for all your creative ideas.

LilaLoa said...

Lexy -- Personally, I use the bottled kind. The important part is the acidity -- which you can get from either fresh lemons or bottled lemon juice. And I like things that are easy. :) Like, you know, opening a bottle of lemon juice that someone else has painstakingly squeezed for me. But you could definitely choose either one!

Shirlene said...

I so want to try this! as soon as I can afford some egg white powder. That stuff is expensive!
P.S. You rock and I miss you!

Mintu said...

Hi I absolutely love your cookies. You are really talented!

Can I use fresh egg whites instead of powder in the RI? If so how would the recipe change?

Thanks.

LilaLoa said...

Mintu -- Techinically, yes. That's how royal icing was originally made. Just substitute 2 eggs for the egg white powder and only use 2 Tbsp of water -- and the water at the very end instead of the beginning. HOWEVER....there is a health concern with using raw eggs in anything. (How many times have we been told not to eat raw cookie dough?!) I would not recommend using raw egg whites if selling cookies or serving them to small children, pregnant mothers, or the elderly. An alternative is to use pasteurized egg whites instead.

shannysol said...

Hi
This looks like a big anount of icing. Is it possible to store it? If so, How?
Thanks a lot. Love your blog...
Shanny

LilaLoa said...

shannysol -- It DOES make a good amount of icing. And the good news is that it is easily stored. Put it in an airtight container and you can keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks. Just let it come to room temperature and give it a GOOD stir before using it again. OR you can keep it in the freezer too! Just obviously...let that one come to room temperature also. Good luck!

Jodi said...

Hi Georgeanne! I just found this yesterday as I have been playing around with different ways of making RI. I used the liquid egg whites. I love it! It came out SO creamy and was SO easy to pipe. I need to find the powdered version just for its shelf life. Question...mine has not turned hard yet. Will it eventually? Or does it stay soft to bite? It WAS stackable though, it formed a shell on top. Thanks! <3 Jodi

LilaLoa said...

Jodi -- That option is something I LOVE about using egg whites (powdered or raw.) If you want it to be crunchier....make the icing stiffer to begin with and then water it down a lot. If you want it to be not so crunchy...only add enough powdered sugar to get a piping/flood consistency to begin with.

Actually...I have no idea if it is the raw egg whites that do this. It might be an option even with meringue powder if you just mix it the same way as this.

Some day I will have to find me some meringue powder and experiment!

Unknown said...

we have a store here in Utah that sells baking supplies, beans. rice etc. they sell dried egg whites by weight..It is SO much cheaper than meringue powder.Thanks for showing us how to use it..I was afraid to try...

cb said...

Thank you SO much for sharing ths recipe! It's just what I was looking for----i googled royal icing with dry egg whites and your recipe popped up. So glad it did!! It was my first time decorating cookies and was a huge success! I feared the icing ruining my cookies as I've had yoall icing in the past that I didn't like at all. Ths recipe was just the opposite. It was so yummy and really enhanced my cookie favors. It was crunchy and hard like you want it while still being creamy with some give---lovely! I followed directions just as you had shared for the smaller batch using fresh lemon juice in the amount indicated and then I added 1 T pure vanilla. I decided to have off-white frosting in exchange for a tastier frosting. I was surprised by how white the frosting still was and didn't seem to affect my colors. Plus, I did get bright white coloring if needed. I just love pure vanilla. And the consistency was perfect! I love how you start with a stiff batch and then can spray water on the various colors to get the consistency needed for each color. Worked great! Piped beautifully with my bottles with tips. Thanks so much!!!!

Anna said...

Hi, I'd like to try your recipe of royal icing, because yours decorated cookies are simply faboulous. Compliments! but I don't have cups measurement. Can you tell me the recipe in grams, especially for dried whites eggs?
Thank you. Anna

Rubi said...

what does Royal Icing taste like?

LilaLoa said...

Rubi -- It tastes like sugar...and whatever other flavoring you add to it. (My royal icing tastes like artificially coconut flavored sugar.)

Anonymous said...

Hi! could you translate cups into grams?! that would help me a lot!
thanks silvia

Rosalinda said...

I love your blog! thank you so much for this recipe. Quick question: You mentioned not to over mix, so about how long do you mix this icing?

Georganne(LilaLoa) said...

Rosalinda -- I usually mix the egg whites on speed for about 1-2 minutes (JUST until the reach stiff peak) and then pour the powdered sugar in 2 portions and mix it for another 30-60 seconds each time.

Jaded_one47 said...

Hi I just wondered what the c measurement meant.

LilaLoa said...

"c" stands for "cup"

Mae Cheah said...

May I know how long can the RI be kept for?

LilaLoa said...

It will keep up to 3 weeks in the fridge.

Tory022 said...

I used CK dried egg whites and the taste was awful. Can anyone suggest a brand that tastes good please?

Mae Cheah said...

Great thank you I enjoyed this new found hobby:) but never have time to used up RI on the same day... May I check with you do you have problems getting RED and BLACK to be truly strong.. I used Wilton Christmas red and get pink. The black just greyish..... How much shd I add the whole bottle....?

Mae Cheah said...

Has anyone experienced bitter flavour of the RI? I'm using Wilton colourings. My friend told me it tasted bitter.

Georganne (LilaLoa) said...

@Tory022 -- I use Honeyville Farms powdered egg whites. And aside from smelling like raw eggs when you add them to water... the royal icing tastes just fine. :)

Georganne (LilaLoa) said...

@Mae Cheah -- My secret for red icing -- http://www.lilaloa.com/2012/01/for-love-of-red-icing.html and my secret for black icing -- http://www.lilaloa.com/2013/07/back-to-school-cookies.html is pretty much the same thing -- cocoa powder. It deepens the color while covering the bitter taste of the food coloring. (You CAN taste the bitter food coloring when you have to use a lot. Especially in colors like red, black, and purple.)

Mae Cheah said...

I would give you a BIG hug now solving the mystery of bitterness and colour for me!! Those 2 issue can actually dampen my new found love in cookie decorating.

You are an angel. Thank you:)

Tory022 said...

You ARE an angel! Thank you for the suggestion on the dried egg whites!!

Nikki Darwin said...

Ive been looking for this sort of thing as Meringue powder is not readily available (other than 4oz tubes for $10 aud) in australia and I make ALOT of RI. but because of our humidity it dosent last so long so using egg whites (raw) isnt really an option coming up to christmas where I want to decorate a couple weeks ahead. *breath* Anyway thank you! :D

Heather said...

Making this now....nervous because the water, egg whites, and cream of tartar are not "peaking" yet ~ fingers crossed =)

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