Make Royal Icing Cookies with a Food Network Baking Champion

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Learn How to Make Royal Icing Cookies from a Food Network Baking Champion

Photo by Carlye Klick

Give your cookies the royal treatment with techniques worthy of the Food Network.

Before it got its noble name, royal icing was once aptly known as “egg white icing,” which makes sense considering it is one of the few ingredients in the classic recipe. But, at the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840, royal icing was used to decorate the intricate wedding cake, and the rest, as they say, is history.

With its name coming out of a union of love, it is only fitting that ICONIC LIFE Publisher Renee Dee’s first go at royal icing is on heart-shaped cookies—just in time for Valentine’s Day! And who better to show her the ropes than two-time Food Network champion, Nicki Pepin? In addition to her recent win on Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship Gingerbread Showdown, Pepin is also a skilled cake artist who has been professionally baking for over seven years. You can even special order some of her edible art from her local business, Layla Bean Cakery!

Renee and Nicki

Photo by Carlye Klick

While royal icing only consists of three ingredients (“four if you’re feeling fancy,” according to Pepin), it can be quite intimidating to those who aren’t confident in their artistic abilities. However, we know after you step into the kitchen with Dee and Pepin, you’ll be a royal icing pro in no time! 


Photo by Carlye Klick

Check out the video to see Pepin’s advice on the best types of cookies to use for the perfect icing every time, how to get the perfect icing color and how to make the perfect royal icing that tastes just as good as it looks. You may even learn some good-to-know piping techniques!

Renee Dee-IY: Royal Icing with Food Network Campion Nicki Pepin





  • 1 Cup unsalted butter
  • 1 Cup granulated white sugar l
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour


  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • In the bowl of your mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium low, until smooth. About 3 minutes.
  • Beat in extracts and 1 egg.
  • In a separate bowl, combine baking powder and salt with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients in your mixer bowl.
  • If the dough looks crumbly, keep mixing for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the mixer. It will eventually form a soft dough ball.
  • If the dough still looks too dry or stiff for your mixer, put the dough onto a countertop surface, flour surface as needed. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand.
  • Roll out onto a floured surface, and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).
  • Line an ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.




  • 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons powdered meringue
  • ¼ cup of room temperature water
  • Optional: a concentrated flavor extract


  • Sift the dry ingredients together in a stand mixer. Add water. Mix on high speed for 7-10 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Add more water, stirring in a little at a time, until fluid. Add icing into piping bags, and outline the cookie with icing. Once the outside layer has slightly dried, fill in the center of the cookie with icing. Use a toothpick to move icing into any gaps.

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