Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

by doughmesstic on December 16, 2010

in christmas, cookies, gingerbread, holidays

‘Tis the season, ya’ll.

(I didn’t say that like Paula Deen, I swear.  I said that like me.)

‘Tis the season for making more crap than you and your cousins can eat in two lifetimes, but you eat it anyway.  ‘Tis the season for peppermint patties, homemade fudge, chocolate bark…and gingerbread cookies. But not just any gingerbread cookies – they need to be decorated.

Okay, maybe you aren’t going to be as anal retentive as I am when it comes time to decorate them.  Perhaps you just want a drizzle or two of color.  Maybe you want the kiddos to get involved.  Maybe you’ve never TRIED full on multi color icing piping.

Well, now’s your chance.

Here is the absolute perfect royal icing recipe, and I do not say that lightly.  Every cookie decorating scenario will benefit from this recipe – even if the kids are helping.  Starting with a foolproof icing ensures great results no matter WHO is doing the piping. (However, I take no responsibility for your teenage son or husband adding gray icing or  bloody appendages to your sweet little gingerbread men.  I only provide the helpful recipe.)

Royal Icing for Cookie Decorating

makes enough for about 4 dozen cookies

  • 1/2 cup Warm Water
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla (or other flavoring)
  • 3 Tbsp. Meringue Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1 1/2 pounds Confectioner’s Sugar

In bowl of stand mixer, whisk warm water, vanilla and meringue together for about one minute.  Add cream of tartar and whisk another minute.  Add all of the sugar at once.  Continue to whick on low speed for ten minutes, keeping mixer covered with damp kitchen towel.

Now, this recipe is going to give you a very stiff icing.  NOT good for piping yet.  Once you have it in this stage, divide it into separate bowls for each color you want to do.  In my case, I did a pink, teal, lime, and white.  Color the icing whatever hue you wish.  Stir it up.  Still thick, right?  Right.  So start adding a few drops of water at a time.  And I do mean drops. gbgir Eventually, you want the icing to be a smooth, spreadable consistency. One test to see if it is right is to drag a knife through it.  If the icing fills back in somewhere between 5 and 10 seconds later – you’re good to go.  Any faster and you’ll have a runny mess.  I like mine about 6/7 seconds.  It works for me that way for both the piping of the lines as well as filling in, or “flooding” the cookie.

You can find lots of great cookie advice around the web, but my two favorite sites are Marian’s “Sweetopia”, and Gail’s One Tough Cookie Blog.  I won’t pretend to know more than these two – it’s their business!!

Hopefully you’ll be a little adventurous this year and give cookie decorating a shot.  It really is fun!  And maybe, if you’re lucky, YOU will be able to pick all of the cookie cutters yourself, and not have to decorate cookies shaped like West Virginia and giraffes thanks to your three year old.

But then again, hillbillies like Christmas, too.

(I should know.)

Have fun!

PS – Need a great Gingerbread recipe? Try here.

gbgroup gbcmitten

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany December 16, 2010 at 6:09 am

These are so cute!! I am sure mine would look nothing like this, but your post is inspiring me to at least tackle the cookie decorating challenge!

PS. I like the giraffe.


Joy December 16, 2010 at 8:10 am

Thanks for sharing your gingerbread recipe! I have been looking for a good one!


Marian (Sweetopia) December 16, 2010 at 11:55 am

Why thank you for the lovely mention! I’m thinking you did a fantastic job on this whole post. Don’t think I could eat that adorable snowman!
Happy Holidays Susan!


BrerMatt December 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Those cookies are BEAUTIFUL!


Heather (Heather's Dish) December 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm

these cookies are the epitome of Christmas cookies!


Shannon December 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Wow!! You are so talented. Mine never turn out so pretty.


Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) December 16, 2010 at 2:55 pm

WOw those cookies look gorgeous. Great job :)


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction December 16, 2010 at 3:37 pm

LOVE the cookies! I’m especially loving the little snowman. Absolutely adorable :)


Rachelle December 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Very cute decotaing! I love the “fuzzy” mitten.


bridget {bake at 350} December 16, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Oh, these are going to put my gingerbread cookies to shame. :) Yours are SO cute!

{stumbled :)}


jayne December 16, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Those are adorable!! Makes me wish I hadn’t let the kids do all the cookie decorating this year!


megan @ whatmegansmaking December 16, 2010 at 6:45 pm

so cute!! I am getting so addicted to decorating cookies. I’m starting to get my mom hooked too!


Kristen December 16, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Gorgeous cookies! I can’t even begin to think I could do this! YOu can’t tell mine from my 6-year olds!


Meghan December 17, 2010 at 12:06 am

I love love LOVE Sweetopia… I spent all day at work on Wednesday just reading. hehe


KitchenRX December 17, 2010 at 12:41 am

These are perfect! I was almost tempted to try it… but, then I’d spend the rest of the day comparing mine to yours and end up ticked off. So, I’ll just read in awe and send a link to my sis who’s the cookie artist in the family.

Thanks for sharing.


Tracy December 17, 2010 at 4:12 pm

These are lovely! I’m so hungry now, and it’s all your fault. ;-)


Lora December 17, 2010 at 8:56 pm

wow oh wow just gorgeous cookies!


Jenny Flake December 17, 2010 at 9:54 pm

You are so talented it’s sickening! ….In the best way possible, Lol! We loved your cookies yesterday, you saved the day!


Jen @ How To: Simplify December 18, 2010 at 1:01 am

You are so talented! These look great…so festive!


Chris December 23, 2010 at 3:21 am

Perfection. You did a spectacular job. Can you come to Atlanta and do mine, please?


Cookin' Canuck December 28, 2010 at 5:25 am

These cookies are absolutely adorable! You must have had a ball making them.


Laura @ December 31, 2010 at 7:30 am

GORGEOUS cookies! I’d LOVE to try this technique with CHOCOLATE!!! Thank you for the lovely pictures. The snowman is my favorite!


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