Hey Besties! If you’ve spent 10 seconds cookie decorating, you know that royal icing consistencies is the hardest part of the whole game! And we’re all after the coveted, beautiful puffy royal icing! There’s just something about that puffy icing that makes us swoon. And today, we are getting into it! You’re going to learn some important things about royal icing! And I’m sharing my tips and tricks for how I achieve the beautiful puffy icing! I’m so excited to share all of this with you and get your feedback on your results!
Cutout Cookie Recipes
First things first, we need a great cookie canvas to start. You may already have a cookie recipe you love, but in case you need one, you can find our collection of no-chill cutout cookie recipes HERE. Take your pick! Delicious vanilla or are you going to try something new?! Salted caramel, chocolate mint, or another fun flavor? Have fun picking your fave!
Let’s Talk Royal Icing
I know you just want the magic trick to puffy royal icing. But before we get into all the details, there are some really important things you need to know about working with royal icing. This is rarely talked about and so many cookiers don’t realize this. The ingredients, recipe and method used to make royal icing can all contribute to very different results. This would all be much easier if everyone was using the exact same royal icing, but that’s not the case. These factors can greatly impact how your icing behaves compared to another cookier. Use a different meringue powder? You’re going to have different results. Use more meringue powder than another cookier? Your icing is going to start crusting faster. Use cream of tartar in your icing? Your icing is also going to start crusting faster than icing without it.
Why do I mention these things? Because everyone always just wants to know, “What consistency do you use?” But you need to realize that your icing may not behave the exact same as someone else’s. In fact, it’s likely not going to act the same unless you are using the exact same ingredients, recipe and method. This is why learning royal icing consistencies is so difficult. I’m happy to share what works consistently for me and I hope you get the same wonderful results! But just know that regardless of what consistency you’re trying to achieve, everyone’s royal icing is slightly different. With my help, I hope to get you the results you want or really close it so you can perfect it. Either way, I know you’re going to nail this!
Royal Icing Recipe
I’m happy to share the exact recipe and method I use to make my royal icing every day. It’s very simple and gives me perfect results consistently. Remember, how you make your icing makes all the difference in the world. You can find our recipe and method HERE. It’s a very popular recipe for good reason. And every cookie that you see on this website was made with this recipe. If you’re not getting the results you want with your royal icing, give our recipe a shot! I’ll also say that we only use Genie’s Dream meringue powder. Especially after the meringue powder showdown we posted HERE, it reinforces why we’ll always use Genie’s Dream!
It’s also important to know that when you want puffy, full icing, you really need to activate the meringue powder when you’re making your icing. This is just one step in our method of how we make our icing that helps us achieve the puff!
You always want to start with a good flood base! But you can start adding your puffy icing details as soon as your flood has started to crust. No need to wait until it’s completely dried the next day. If you are still learning flood consistency or technique, THIS Flooding 101 post should be helpful!
How I Achieve Puffy Royal Icing
Alright, let’s get to the goods! Bestie, if you skipped right to this section, please scroll back up and read the previous sections…there’s important information for you to know. Okay, some cookiers use a thick icing to outline their sections and then go back and fill them with thinner icing. If you like that look and it works for you, live it up! I prefer a seamless look, eliminating a visual outline. The key to achieving this is using thicker icing than what you’re usually using!
If you want puffy icing that holds its shape and height, it has to be thicker than what you’re used to. Many cookiers have seen or heard of the “glob and ribbon” consistency. In that video, she even says, if you want puffy icing, you have to leave it thicker. If it’s ribboning into the bowl, it’s too thin for puffy icing! The consistency you want is literally just going to glob into your bowl with very little to no trail from the spatula.
If you’re icing is ribboning, it’s too thin; add more powdered sugar. When you think you’ve got the right consistency, make some soft peaks in the surface with your spatula. They should curl over but should not settle back flat until you’ve given the bowl a good jiggle. This is when you know you’ve got the right consistency. It’s thick enough to hold a soft, curled peak, but smooths back out with a jiggle.
You’ll outline your section, or letter, and immediately fill, and I mean FILL, the area with this thicker icing. You can then use your scribe, if needed, to help the icing smooth out.
Every cookie we make goes into the dehydrator to lock in the puff, avoid any craters and get a pretty finish to our icing. THIS post shares the dehydrators we use and exactly how we use them for the best icing results. If you don’t use a dehydrator, I highly suggest using at least a tabletop fan or even just your oven light (oven off) to quick set your icing.
Our recipe, method and consistency is how I achieve beautiful puffy icing! And I’m really hoping it helps you achieve it too!
Puffy Royal Icing Demo Video
A Great way to practice perfecting the puff
My favorite way to practice consistencies and perfecting the puff is with royal icing transfers. No risk of ruining or wasting a cookie and its low stress. I use this same consistency when I make fonts transfers and have a whole post about it HERE. You’ll also find free access to my royal icing transfer collection if you’d like to practice puffy icing with them as well. Here are some perfectly puffy font letters made with transfers!
Besties, you’ve got options! Whether you use a projector, freehand or use royal icing transfers, you can have beautiful, puffy details on your delicious cookies. I hope this post all about puffy royal icing is helpful to you mastering the icing you want. I’d love to hear about your results or if you need any additional help!
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