Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Meringue Powder . . . Works for Me Wednesday

Using meringue powder is not the only way to make royal icing, but it's what I use to make mine.

When I first started decorating cookies, I used raw egg whites in my royal icing, but I started getting nervous.  Not nervous for me, but for other people who might eat the cookies.  About 9 years ago, I discovered meringue powder and I haven't looked back.

Does the brand of meringue powder matter?  Yes.  These are 2 of my favorites:

  • Williams-Sonoma brand (made by CK)
  • Ateco, available at bakery supply shops or Amazon
I also like:
  • AmeriColor
  • CK
There is another brand that is more widely accessible.  I won't mention the brand here because I think they do a lot of things really well, but I don't love their meringue powder.  Actually, I used it for years before even realizing there WERE other brands.  Once I bought one of the brands above from a bakery supply shop, I immediately tasted a difference and saw a better consistency with my icing.

{That said, if you are experiencing a cookie decorating emergency, you have my blessing to use the other stuff.} ;)

Gail of One Tough Cookie uses powdered egg whites with fantastic results.  She even has a vlog post about it if you want to learn more.

What do YOU use to make royal icing?

{Psst....here is the royal icing recipe I use if you're ready to make some of your own.}

49 comments:

  1. Oh~
    Back HOME at last on Bake at 350!!!!!
    I must CELEBRATE!
    It feels so good to be back!
    I have no idea WHY I haven't been able to pull up my FAVORITE person/cookie blog!!!!!!!!!! ;o)
    Well let me say!
    I learned everything there is to KNOW from YOU!
    The Cookie QUEEN of the WORLD!
    I never ever ever use that OTHER brand anymore!
    Why!
    Because BRIDGET said SO!!!!
    I love you my SWEET SWEET friend!
    And I really really wanted to dive into that icing!
    When you come to Bainbridge...will you make me some ICING and make my HEART beam BRIGHT! xo

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  2. I used the other brand first and absolutely hated the taste. Then when I had to make cookies for a shower, I remembered way back somewhere that someone had used egg white powder, so off to google I went, and it took me to her blog.

    The first time I tried the powder, I didn't let it sit and rehydrate long enough and ended up with little bits clogging up my tip. However, Gail was super helpful when I commented, and the second time it turned out perfectly the taste (with a lemon's worth of juice added) was so good that I licked the spoon. Once it set up, it still tasted eggy, but way better than W. meringue powder.

    Next time I'm at Williams Sonoma, I'm going to try theirs. It is still more convenient to use meringue powder, I think, and I'm curious as to the taste of the two brands you recommend.

    Thanks for all of your tips! I really enjoy reading your blog.

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  3. hmmmmm.........I always use the brand not mentioned. Guess I'll have to try the others!

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  4. I have always used the "other brand", but now I am kind of excited to use a better brand! I will definitely take your word for it Bridget, because your cookies are always beautiful! I will be ordering some ASAP, and save the other for an emergency! :) Thanks!

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  5. i have only used..."the other brand" it the only one i have tried so have nothing to compare to but once im out i'll try a diff brand to see the difference!

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  6. Well I took your advice on the food gel colorings (which I used this weekend and LOVED!) so I guess I better try these meringue powders too. I currently use meringue powder in my royal icing, but not either of the brands you've listed.

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  7. I too use the "other brand". I haven't tried the others because I use Penzey's Vanilla which isn't clear and you need to flavor the others, right? But I have to say, I get lots of compliments on the flavor, no one has "not liked" the taste of the icing.

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  8. Ah Meringue powder is a great idea. They have the most beautiful meringues ever at Ottolenghi a resto you HAVe to check out if ever in London!! Meringues are yummy but also beautiful presentation pieces for resto windows.

    http://thetastysidetolife.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-taste-at-local-producers-in.html

    www.tastysidetolifetours.com

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  9. I use CK too..(only because you recommended it) =)... I haven't tried any other brands.

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  11. I always used 'the other brand' and it has an 'electric bite' to it, for lack of better words. I was poking around your site just yesterday when I discovered there are better quality meringue powders out there and ordered mine straight away. I hope I taste a difference. Thanks for the advice. I love your blog.

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  12. I too use the other brand and would love to try different brand. I have never been too crazy about the taste of the other brand no matter what I use to flavor it up. Thanks!

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  13. You know this is something that I have always wondered about, because really, how often do you hear of someone getting salmonella poisoning from royal icing? I use real eggs in my royal icing and have for years and have never had a problem. I just looked it up and found this: "As much as I love doing cakes, my field of study is actually microbiology. You can eat the flowers made from royal icing with no problem. They're just like the "glue" royal icing you use in gingerbread houses. Once they're dried, there is no moisture for the bacteria (assuming it's present at all) to live or grow. If they are there, they will die in the drying process. Salmonella does not create spores, so they can't survive the drying process. Hope that helps."
    Of course your post is informative and appreciated but I have yet to hear a horror story when using real eggs, yet people are so nervous about using them! Curious. : )

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  14. I use "that" brand, but I add a few drops of vanilla and butter flavouring. They don't hurt the white white whiteness of the icing, and they make it taste so very much better.

    We do a cookie decorating party that usually involves multiple gingerbread houses, so we go through a lot of icing around Christmas!

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  15. I agree! I noticed a nice difference when I switched to CK!!

    Thanks for all your awesome tips Bridget!!

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  16. Thank you, Bridget. I didn't notice a strange taste until the royal icing sat for a day, and then I tried a big scoop ;-)It left a bit of an after taste, with a little grit. That said, my cookies taste amazing when they are all put together, but I will try the new meringue and make them even more amazing! Thanks for your tips. I love this blog!

    Andrea

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  17. I've recently started decorating cookies with royal icing thanks in huge part to your tutorials! I have a question though, the cookies always LOOK amazing, and the actual cookie tastes good, but the royal icing just doesn't taste very good. It’s not like it tastes BAD but it's not like "yummmm! Let me eat some more". I use the widely known brand of meringue powder that you get at craft stores and I'll probably take your advice and buy the other brands. I also add clear vanilla extract, but I just don't know. I was hoping that you or some of your readers may have some advice? I love love love your cookies and would love to make some that taste and look wonderful!

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  18. I have used pasteurized egg whites (available in the big cartons, refrigerated). Wonderful results.

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  19. I've been using the "other brand" for years but it's mostly kids eating my cookies so no one's complained about the icing tasting badly. Once I'm out of my current can, I'll try the WS brand (since it's close by). I've used the WS brand before but since I don't really even eat the cookies myself, I hadn't noticed any flavor difference. Thanks for the tips!

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  20. Meringue powder is not easy to come by in Australia. I have seem some of the one you won't mention in some online stores, but it's riduclously priced, for example $20 for a small pot.

    I've not start my cookie decorating yet, but I am eager and have been researching a lot. We don't have the issues with salmonella here that you guys do, so I think I'm going to start with egg whites and go from there.

    I have got my eye on one online Aussie store who is about to release Americolor meringue powder. If they offer it at a reasonable price, I'll definitely give it a go.

    Also, if I happen to see the non-mentioned brand in an actual shop I can walk into, I'll buy it just to see what it's like.

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  21. I used the other brand and added a bit of vanilla to it for christmas cookies this year. I didn't think they tasted bad. I'll have to keep the other names in mind for future purchases.

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  22. Thanks for the suggestion.I'll give this one a try.

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  23. We are horrible at baking/cooking and anything in the kitchen! But reading this blog inspires us to try!

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  24. I use ChefMaster I found in my local grocery store. I have never tried any other brands. Hmmmmm, maybe I'll try and see what the differences may be. Personally, I don't mind the flavor of my brand. I add 2 tsp of vanilla to each double batch. Thanks!

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  25. I know what you mean about that "other brand." Their fondant tastes awful too!

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  26. Did somebody get a new camera?!

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  27. I don't know what brand mine is--we looked all over the stores for it and finally inquired at the bakery of our favorite. They sold us a container of it from their supply. And looking for icing colors--well, that's another story altogether.

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  28. i will have to look for that WS meringue powder...never tried that one!

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  29. I actually don't mind the taste of the W Brand, it's the consistency I don't like. Even though I follow the recipe to the T it always seems to crack - like it's over beaten or something. I use the Ateco which I just love. I make sure I don't run out cause I hate to use the other kind. I feel like it takes me twice as long to decorate the cookies cause I'm trying to fix mistakes.

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  30. I still use meringue powder, too... I have trouble finding the powdered egg whites that Gail uses... I totally agree about the taste of the brand that shall not be named, though. The brand makes a big difference!

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  31. I used to use meringue powder all the time when making my royal icing. I loved it and always had great results with it and received many compliments. Flavoring the royal with extracts is key to a terriffic royal icing. IMHO.

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  32. SO timely!! I've been wondering if its even possible to get ANYthing non-Wilton in this country. :)

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  33. I've dabbled in cookie decorating, but now that I see your work, I want to do MORE!! Love your work! I thought it was just me in thinking "W" had a different taste... sort of Zingy ... and I also tried covering with flavorings. I will certainly try your recommendations! By the way, If you get a chance check out my blog! http://www.bexbayx.blogspot.com ...I am new to the scene, but am having a blast so far and discovering so many talented Blogs, yours included!

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  34. Thanks for the post! I don't like that other brand either, but have never tried any other kind. Nice to get some reviews :)

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  35. I have always used the "other " brand, and never understood why the icing just didn't come out like I thought it should. Thanks so much for the enlightenment! I am now going to try another brand- even though I have a huge can of the "other" left- doesn't matter. Hoping to get better results with one of the brands you mentioned. Thanks!!!

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  36. Uh oh, I think I'm using that "other" brand of meringue powder. It was all I could find at the store but good to know I can get it from Williams Sonoma and don't necessarily have to order from Amazon.

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  37. I have only made royal icing once with "the other stuff". I don't know if I did it right. It never got very hard and it was not on there very thick...what did I do wrong. I thought it tasted kind of funky too but then I don't have a lot of references for better tasting stuff. If you could give advice on what I might have done wrong with the icing I would appreciate it.

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  38. I only use Williams Sonoma. It really makes a big difference.

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  39. hello! i cannot find meringue powder in our country. can i use egg albumin powder instead? thanks for the help!

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  40. I can't find WS merengue powder!!! look at ws website on amazon and nothing!

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  41. I just want to tell you, I read your tip about the different merengue powder. I had been using the Wilton brand. I ordered some of the Americor brand, and the instant I opened to box, I knew it would make a huge difference in the taste and quality of my royal icing. The inside of the box smelled so yummie! And now the cupboard where I store my baking supplies smells so good! My first batches of royal icing were ok. It's not something I'd sit there and want to lick the spoon or anything. But I can't wait to try this new merengue powder! Thanks for the wonderful information!

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  42. Oh, it's really hard for me, since I live in The Netherlands and they only sell 'the other brand' over here. so I guess I'll have to find other ways to get better meringue powder.

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  43. Thanks so much for this- just ordered a big 20 oz. Americolor one, cannot wait to try it!

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  44. I have been buying the meringue powder from Williams Sonoma for years. Imagine my disappointment when I tried to buy some and they told me it was DISCONTINUED!!!!! They will be offering a new meringue powder and the ship date is May 3. If you find any on their shelves, BUY IT NOW!!! (BTW.... I've already checked the stores in the Houston area)

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  45. Meringue powder's extremely difficult to come by where I live; I can get it online for ridiculous prices. Pasteurised egg whites, on the other hand, I can get for cheap at the supermarket and they're safe to eat... so, do you have a recipe with egg whites that you'd recommend? Thanks so much!

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  46. i just bought Meringue powder from Tavola. They only had one brand by Wilton. Do you recommend this brand?

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  47. Bridget and other cookie bakers: What is the taste difference between using real egg whites and meringue powder? Do you like the taste of real eggs better? Or . . . ? I'm not worried about health concerns. From my reading the place where one needs to be concerned is in restaurants where they break lots of eggs, beat them up for scrambled eggs, then let them sit around waiting to be scooped out to use for individual servings. But maybe I'm being too cavalier?

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  48. Thanks for the "eyes wide open" moment. I've always used "the other brand" as well and hadn't even thought about other brands. I'm making it my mission today to hit the bakery supply shop and try something new! Thanks again!!

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