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Versatile Vanilla and Royal Icing Recipes: A Great Addition to Your Cookie Tradition


Perfect for piping, delightful for dipping, and oh-so-sweet for swirling or spreading—this pair of icing recipes will give your girl the frosting foundation she needs to decorate cookies that are as creative as they are delicious.

Vanilla Icing


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring (optional)


In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, warm water, light corn syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add 2-3 drops of food coloring, if you like, and whisk to combine. Add more water if icing is too thick.

This icing has a softer set, so let decorated cookies dry at room temperature until the icing is firm enough to handle, at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

Royal Icing


  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • ½ cup warm water, plus more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract OR
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • gel paste food coloring in your favorite colors (optional)


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, meringue powder, water, and extract on medium speed until the mixture is very thick but drizzleable, 7 to 8 minutes. To test if the consistency is correct, drizzle a spoonful of icing onto itself in the bowl; it should sit on the surface for about 5 seconds. If it is too thick, stir in additional warm water 1 teaspoon at a time with a rubber spatula.

This stiff white icing will pipe well and settle smooth when fresh, then set very firm. If your girl wants to decorate with sprinkles, candies, or sanding sugar, add those decorations before the icing fully sets.

Let the icing on the cookies dry at room temperature until very firm, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

For sweet ideas and helpful tips for using your icing, check out this OMaG cookie decorating video. We'll show you a few great techniques for flooding, swirling, and striping that will make your cookies a decorated delight.

Adapted from American Girl Cookies, © 2018 Weldon Owen, Inc. and American Girl.
All American Girl marks are trademarks of American Girl.

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