Jared’s Top Tips for Leftover Royal Icing

Here at How To Cake It we are lucky to have an incredible roster of dessert artists working with us to teach live baking tutorials, create digital activity books and share their passion and expertise with all of you. This month cookie artist extraordinaire Jared Macpherson aka @sugar.baked shares some royal icing tips to make working with royal icing stress free!

I love royal icing to decorate my cookies, but it can be a bit tricky to work with, especially if you’re new to cookie decorating. One of my biggest tips if you’re a beginner is to make more icing than you need to ensure you have enough for the project you are working on. But to help you figure out what to do with your leftover icing so none goes to waste, I’ve put together a few of my best tips for leftover royal icing below!

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  • I always try to make enough royal icing for the cookie project I am working on, but often times I have leftover icing. My favorite thing to do with my leftover icing is create my own royal icing transfers. Once fully dry, royal icing decorations can be kept for months. You can find tons of transfer templates online, or make your own! I like to make extra eyes for my cookies by piping out different sized dots of white icing and adding black pupils, or rosettes with green leaves, and then I organize them into containers once fully dry. You can literally make any shape you want! The possibilities are endless.

  • Along with transfers, you can also turn extra royal icing into your own homemade sprinkles.  This is a great tip if you need specific colors of sprinkles for a baking project and you can’t quite find a match. Make royal icing in your desired colors, and then pipe lines onto parchment paper or acetate, and once dry you can crack them up into your own homemade jimmies. Another way to do it is to grab a scraping tool and any cookie stencil you have, and spread detail consistency royal icing through the stencil onto a parchment paper sheet or acetate. Once dry, you can peel the royal icing off and you’ll have homemade sprinkles in whatever shape you choose! It works great in a confetti stencil or polka dot stencil to make uniform shapes.

  • If I have a lot of royal icing left in my bowl after coloring and making my consistencies, I wrap my leftover icing in the bowl with plastic wrap and then place a lid on top to ensure no air can reach my icing, or transfer to an airtight container like these mix and store bowls. I pop the bowl into my fridge until I am ready to use it again! It’ll keep well in the fridge for 2-4 weeks, but it also freezes really well. To freeze my icing, I keep it in the tipless piping bag and wrap it in plastic wrap or put it into a container, and then pop it into my freezer. I like to keep a bit of every color in the freezer so I can quickly grab it and have it ready to go. You can just grab the bag from your freezer and let it thaw on the counter for 30 minutes or so, give it a mix or a massage in the bag, and then it’s ready to use again! This works especially well with darker colors like red or black, so I already have some on hand and don’t have to wait for the color to deepen as I do with fresh icing! Otherwise, I will take out a color that is close to the color I desire, and I'll mix that into a bit of fresh icing (e.g. - I want orange and I have yellow in my freezer) that way, I don't have to add much gel color at all to get a fun color, because my base icing is already slightly tinted.

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