This is the 2nd of my 3 part series on how to make a gingerbread house. Don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed to follow up on the series!
To continue on in the gingerbread house journey, I decided that I wanted to make my own royal icing.
I had never done it before, but royal icing seemed like the best choice for assembling a gingerbread house.
I made a trip to Sur la Table and picked up some cookie cutters, meringue powder, food coloring (in gel form), decorating tips, 1 nice pastry bag, and a box of plastic decorating bags.
When I was in high school I worked at a cookie store in the mall called Blondie’s.
Blondie’s was the first place I learned how to make gourmet cookies, decorate cookies/cookie cakes using pastry bags and tips plus all sorts of colored sugars and sprinkles. It was so fun!
But surprisingly we never used royal icing to decorate our cookies. All we had was this super thick (and delicious!!) buttercream. I was a bit nervous to try the new frosting, but it was well worth the effort.
Royal icing is simply a very hard white icing, made from softly beaten egg whites and powdered sugar.
In my case, I used a nifty little ingredient called meringue powder. I had never used it before, but I have been hearing about it on other blogs. So I went with this method.
I also like that you could safely eat the icing with out running the risk of consuming raw eggs.
This recipe is easy to adjust if you need your icing to be more, or less fluid. They meringue powder came with a list of other recipes for different frostings that I can’t wait to try!
- 3 tbsp Meringue Powder
- 1 lb powdered sugar
- 6 tbsp warm water
To make the icing:
- Beat everything together until it form stiff peaks. This took me about 12 minutes with a hand mixer, but it should take less time (somewhere around 7-10 minutes) if you are using a stand mixer.
- To change the consistency add more, or less warm water by the tsp.
To prepare your frosting to assemble the gingerbread house you need to do a few more things,
To assemble a decorating bag:
- Take the coupler, and unscrew the ring part and set aside. Push the tube like part down into the pastry bag until the material is slightly stretched over it.
- Cut off the end to expose the bottom tip of the tube like part. I cut up above a little bit more to make it easier to fit the decorating tip on.
- Take which ever tip you want, put it on the end of the tube part of the coupler, and screw the ring part over top of the decorating tip to keep it secure on the bag, and to make sure the frosting won’t leak out the sides when you squeeze it.
- Fold over the top part of the bag so that is like a funnel, and you have more access to the bottom of the bag close to the tip. That is how you want to fill up your bags, it makes it so much easier!
- Once your bags are filled, twist the top of the bag to close it.
I like to hold the bottom with my writing hand, and the twisted part/top of bag with my other hand. I use the non-writing hand to keep consistent pressure on the icing. That makes it all flow out at the same speed so you can control it a little better. But that is just me! You can practice to find out what feels most comfortable for you.
Divide and color the icing!
- Fill the first icing bag with as much white icing needed to completely assemble the gingerbread house, I used about half of the total amount of icing.
- My boyfriend wanted purple icing, so I took a tiny little amount of the gel coloring and mixed it into the icing. To put into perspective a tiny amount, I used the very tip of a sharp knife to measure the gel.
- And then I filled another bag with half the amount of the purple icing.
Remember when coloring, royal icing tends to dry darker so make it slightly less intense then you want it to look when it’s finished.
I wanted some blue icing too, so I added in a tiny amount of blue coloring to what was left of the purple and mixed it well, and filled up my final decorating bag. You can make as many colors as you want by first dividing the icing, then coloring and filling up the bags.
You are now ready to decorate anything you want. Remember the icing hardens fairly quickly so you need to work kind of fast!