The icing traditionally used to artfully decorate Christmas cookies or to "cement" constructions of gingerbread together. Either way, a delicious addition to holiday cookie-baking.
Makes about 4 cups of icing, enough for an average-sized gingerbread house and more than enough for one batch of cookies.
2 large egg whites (we recommend you use same volume pasteurized egg whites; read container for amount equivalent to 2 large egg whites)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or lemon juice
Food coloring if desired
1. Add egg whites to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until frothy.
2. Gradually add the powdered sugar a half-cup or so at a time with mixer on low speed, fully incorporating each addition before adding more.
3. When all the sugar has been added, add the vanilla extract or lemon juice and turn the mixer to high. Continue to beat until the icing forms stiff, glossy peaks.
4. If you desire multiple colors of icing, divide it among smaller containers and mix in the food coloring. If not using right away, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
5. Your Royal Icing is ready! Spread it onto cookies or gingerbread, or use a piping bag (or plastic storage bag with the corner snipped) to pipe it decoratively.