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
1 tsp vanilla or coconut flavoring
~~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
1 Tbsp vanilla or coconut flavoring
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.
Check out this post on ICING CONSISTENCY.
Grab some DRIED EGG WHITES HERE.
Trouble with your icing? Solve your ICING ISSUES HERE.