Cookies Sweet

Easy Cookie Icing

Create a simple yet effective icing for all of your favorite cookies, using ingredients already in your cupboard.

There are a host of techniques you can use when icing cookies. This following method is my favorite for icing Christmas sugar cookies, but it would also work well if you on gingerbread or any other cookies that required sturdy decoration.

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There are two main components to this recipe: “border” icing and “flood” icing. Both are essentially the same recipe, with different amounts of milk added depending on the desired thickness.

Start by measuring out your powdered sugar into a small bowl — ideally, one with a pour spout. I use a liquid measuring cup.

Next, add your wet ingredients – milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract. If your goal is a pure-white icing, omit the vanilla extract; you may use a colorless flavoring, like almond extract, or omit the flavor completely. The amount of milk you add here is very important! The amount of milk you add (1-2 tablespoons vs 3-4 tablespoons) will determine the final texture of your icing.

  • For border icing, you want an icing that drips in a thick stream from your mixing implement. You should be able to see a pattern from the stream on the top of your bowl of icing.
  • For flood icing, you want an icing that drips much more quickly back into your bowl from your mixing implement. The icing should absorb back into your bowl of icing, leaving a mostly-clean surface.
  • If your icing is too thick, add additional milk. If it is too thin, add additional powdered sugar.

If you are making border icing, I recommend adding your preferred food coloring now, and transferring to a piping bag. I highly recommend disposable Wilton brand piping bags, but you could use a Ziploc or other plastic bag. (I’m not part of any affiliate program; buying from Amazon does me exactly zero good. Buy the bags through whatever store you like best!) You can use a piping tip, or you can cut the edge of your bag to the desired size. Protip: first cut your tip smaller than you expect, and test the size of the frosting flow. You can make the hole bigger, but you can’t make it smaller.

Test the size and flow of your icing on a piece of wax paper, and practice a little bit before starting on your cookies. This thick icing is perfect for lining the edges of cookies and for drawing on top of dried, flooded cookies.

Once you have drawn the outlines on your cookies, allow them to dry until the frosting has set — at least 30 minutes. Now we’ll address the flood icing.

I like to separate my flood icing into several smaller containers and then add food coloring to each one. Use a spoon or a toothpick to mix in the food coloring, stirring thoroughly to ensure the color is consistent throughout the icing.

Carefully apply the flood icing to each cookie. For larger spaces, you can use the back of a spoon to spread out the frosting. For more delicate spaces, I use a toothpick to drop globs of icing onto the cookie, and then spread them around so they connect. You may also use a piping bag for this icing. If, like me, you are not a professional cookie decorator: feel free to experiment with different styles! This is supposed to be a fun experience, so don’t get too stressed about technique. Experiment and find what works best for you.

If you want to add sprinkles to your cookies, sprinkle them on immediately after applying the flood icing. Otherwise, the icing will start to dry, making it harder for the sprinkles to stick.

Important note: you don’t have to use border icing! It is an easy way to add extra decoration and to make your cookies look more professional, but the flood icing still works fine without the border.

In normal temperature and humidity levels for houses in the Northern Hemisphere during winter, your flood icing should be “soft set” in about 30 minutes. At this point, there will be a crust on the top of the flooded icing, but if you press down, it will crack and leave a dent. This a good time to add additional decorations on top of your flooded icing using the border icing.

Total, it will take your flood icing at least 12, and up to 24 hours to dry completely. Once dry, it will be safe to stack these cookies on top of one another without fear of the icing getting smooshed.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and that it helps your family continue your holiday traditions — or perhaps even start new ones!

Easy Cookie Icing

Create a simple yet effective icing for all of your favorite cookies, using ingredients already in your cupboard.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Drying time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Piping bag or Ziploc

Ingredients
  

Border icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract omit if you want a pure white icing
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • Food coloring optional

Flood icing

  • 1 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk more if you prefer a thinner icing
  • Food coloring optional

Instructions
 

  • Mix powdered sugar with corn syrup, vanilla extract (optional), and milk. Mix together thoroughly, using a fork or whisk, eliminating all lumps.
  • For border icing, you want an icing that drips in a thick stream from your mixing implement. You should be able to see a pattern from the stream on the top of your bowl of icing.
  • For flood icing, you want an icing that drips much more quickly back into your bowl from your mixing implement. The icing should absorb back into your bowl of icing, leaving a mostly-clean surface.
  • If your icing is too thick, add additional milk. If it is too thin, add additional powdered sugar.
  • Once your icing has achieved the preferred texture, mix in 2-3 drops of food coloring, adjusting until you get your preferred color. If you want a pure-white icing, omit vanilla extract.
  • Draw a border around the edges of your cookies using the border icing. Allow this to dry for 30 minutes.
  • Using a toothpick, spoon, or brush, apply flood icing within the borders of your cookies, if drawn. Allow this to dry for at least 30 minutes for a soft set, and about 12 hours for a hard set. (Drying time will depend on the thickness of your layer of icing, and the temperature/humidity of your house.)
  • If you would like to add additional decorations, apply border icing on top of flood icing once it has “soft set”
Keyword christmas cookies, cookies, frosting, icing

1 comment on “Easy Cookie Icing

  1. Pingback: Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies – Whisk Averse Baking

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