As I mentioned, I am a student of Belleissimo Cookies, so all credit goes to Belle for what I've learned. And Belle will tell you her knowledge is garnered from many masters around the world. There are so many great cookie artists willing to share their knowledge and I have benefitted enormously from their generosity.
You will be shocked, no doubt, when I tell you my royal icing is made out of Pavlova Magic! This is an Australian product based on meringue powder. In other countries meringue powder is easy to get in quantities. Not so much here. So Pavlova Magic is the secret ingredient. Now you know!
2/3 cup warm water
1 Pavlova Magic
1kg pure icing sugar
1. Empty the meringue powder into your Kitchenaid mixer bowl. Add the warm water and whisk with a balloon whisk for 30secs.
2. Add all the icing sugar to the bowl. Using the paddle beater, mix to combine. Increase speed to sixth gear and beat for 10mins. Seriously. Use a timer!
3. Remove about a third of the royal icing and store it in a plastic container in the fridge.
4. Now it's time to thin the icing down. There is no easy way to get this right. It really is trial and error. Start by adding one tablespoon of water and stirring it in by hand. You will see the icing starting to soften. Add another tablespoon of water and mix to combine. You cannot do this on the mixer. It has to be by hand.
5. Now switch to teaspoons. Add another teaspoon of water and mix to combine. After each addition test your icing by dragging a knife through the top. You want to count in seconds how long the icing takes to "heal". Count one-elephant-two-elephant and so on. You are looking for a 10 count icing. 10 seconds for the mark you made to disappear.
6. Now add another teaspoon of icing, making sure all of it is mixed with the water so it's all the same consistency throughout. Are you there yet? Do another check with the knife.
Belle Harris says the icing should be as runny as warm honey. I say it should heal in a ten count. Don't forget - Belle is the master! You will need to find what works best for you. Once you have your icing you can colour it. This a whole other story. Stay tuned for my post on that topic.