Royal Icing is the icing that dries hard for cookie decorating. I usually make my Royal Icing with Meringue Powder. But sometimes I’ll get questions about making royal icing with egg whites instead of the powdered version.
So, I made some with egg whites for these gingerbread houses. It’s really quite easy, you just want to be sure you don’t use the egg whites raw, to avoid any potential for food poisoning.
What You Need
3-4 egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 cups powdered sugar
Combine the egg whites and the granulated sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl, being careful to keep any yolk or other grease from coming into contact with the whites. (Grease makes royal icing melt, and not set up correctly.)
Set the bowl over simmering water, and whisk constantly until the egg whites reach the food-safe temperature of 160-degrees. (Be careful to keep the heat low, or the whites can cook.)
Remove from the heat, and set aside for about 15 minutes or until whites are just lukewarm, not hot.
Add 4 cups of powdered sugar. Mix on high speed with a hand or stand mixer for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. If icing seems runny, and won’t form a stiff peak, try adding another 1 cup of sugar. (If it requires more than one more cup, you may have gotten grease in the icing, and it won’t set up, regardless of how much sugar you add.)
I don’t recommend using pasteurized egg whites. When I tried this, they would not mix up, even with 8 (EIGHT!) cups of sugar added, about 15 minutes of whipping… and the icing smelled bad in the end.
Compare this photo above with the one above it… you can see the difference.
Store royal icing in an airtight container. (I usually store it in zipper baggies so that no air comes into contact with it.)
*Note: I’m having some of the white icing turn yellow in the sunlight… I will update if/when I figure out a cause. In the meantime, if you need it to stay white, you may try white icing coloring or just be sure to keep it out of the sunlight.