Meringue Powder Buttercream Cookie Frosting/Glaze
This is my hands-down favorite, and the one I recommend the most. It is a cross between royal icing and regular cake decorating buttercream. It has meringue powder so that it dries well, but it also has shortening in it, so it remains soft on the inside and doesn't dry out the cookie. I like it so well because I think it tastes better than royal icing, and I can get almost as much detail with it. This icing, like royal, can be thinned down with water to make a glaze. Meringue Powder Buttercream takes a little bit longer to dry completely, but once they are dry, the cookies are stackable and can be shipped without damage. The biggest downfall of this icing is that it tends to bleed a little bit more than royal. You need to make sure your glaze is dry before adding the detail work. Even taking that into consideration, it is still my favorite to work with.
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 T. meringue powder
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (1 lb. 3 oz. If you have a scale)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you want a pure white icing)
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
Adapted from karenscookies.net
Place half of the powdered sugar and the meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk together well.
Turn on mixer (use whip attachment) and, while motor is running, slowly stream in the water. Mix until everything is incorporated.
Turn mixer to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form.
Add flavorings and mix well.
Change to paddle attachment (for stand mixer) or dough hook (for Bosch). If using a hand mixer, use the same beaters you were using before.
Add remaining powdered sugar and shortening and whip for 2-3 minutes more.
Note: Don't skimp on the whipping time after adding the shortening. You really need to whip it well to prevent separation later.
Frosting Prep: Making Glaze
Glazing is a technique that creates that super-smooth look you see on fancy cookies. Basically, "glaze" is just watered down frosting. Here is a basic how-to for making the glaze.
1. After you have colored all of your frosting, get a small container for each glaze color you will need (clean butter tubs and yogurt containers work great for this and you can throw them away when you are done!).
2. Put the desired colors of frosting in the containers by either mixing the color right in the container or squeezing it from a decorating bag.
3. Add water to the container(s) a few drops at a time, stirring after each addition. A basic rule of thumb for a good consistency is that a drop of the icing should disappear into the mass on the count of 6 or 7. It will be similar in consistency to Elmer's glue: fairly runny, but not so thin that it's hard to control.
4. Keep glaze colors covered while not in use. If your containers do not have lids, I recommend covering them with saran wrap and then a damp towel.
5. The glaze will separate as it sits, so you will need to stir the glaze well before and during use