- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup meringue powder
- 2 lbs powdered sugar
- Paste food coloring in a variety of colors
- An electric stand mixer
- covered container
- disposable cups
- wooden popsicle sticks (optional to use in place of a spoon for mixing the colors)
- pastry bags (one for each color)
- decorating tips (optional)
Add all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix on high for a minute or two, then scrape the sides of the bowl down to make sure everything is mixed in. Beat on high for another 7 to 8 minutes. Once the icing is mixed, pour it into a container and put the lid on to keep it moist. Because it has no fat in it, Royal Icing will dry out fast.
Get out as many disposable cups as you need for each color. We usually use 6 to 8 colors, but you may need more or less than that. Divide the icing into the cups evenly. Use a wooden stick or other utensil to scoop out some of paste food coloring and stir it into the icing. A pea-size dollop will work for a lighter tone and you may need three or four pea-size amounts for an intense hue. Thoroughly mix the icing until no streaks are left. As soon as it is properly mixed, spoon or scrape it into a pastry bag. This is best done with two people, so that one can hold the bag, and one can get the icing in. Hold the bag point-down and wrap the upper portion of the bag down around your hand. Then spoon the icing in, and pull the top of the bag off of your hand. That will keep the icing in the bottom near the tip. Twist the top of the bag where the icing stops, to keep the air out.
Repeat that same process for each different color of icing. If you are going to have more than three people decorating, you may want to double up the colors and have two of each.
When you are ready to use the icing, snip the tip off the pasty bag and squeeze the icing onto the sugar skull slowly with the tip facing directly at the skull. Place additional decorations into the freshly applied icing. The outside shell of the icing will dry in about 30 minutes to an hour. But you will need to allow up to 24 hours for it to dry solid.