Royal icing and edible caramel glue
A lovely icing for cookies, biscuits or for adding decorative touches to your cakes. Plus, get creative with some DIY caramel glue that's edible!
The caramel glue is great for creative baking projects like a gingerbread house. Making the caramel can be tricky and during preparation this syrup becomes very hot, so be careful not to burn yourself.
If possible, do this part without the kids, or alternatively, use a stiff peak icing to stick your gingerbread house together.
Get the recipe for gingerbread biscuits here.
250g icing sugar
1 lightly beaten medium egg white
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon water
Edible Caramel Glue
200g caster sugar
60ml cold water
1. Sift the sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the beaten egg white and lemon juice.
2. Whisk on a low speed, so you do not incorporate too much air into the icing, for 2–3 minutes until you have a smooth, but not wet, stiff peak consistency. It should be dense and spreadable but hold a stiff peak. If it looks dry and crumbly add a little water. If it looks slightly runny and glossy, add a little extra icing sugar.
3. You now have stiff peak icing for sticking houses together and placing decorations onto icing. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out. The icing can be prepared ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
You can adjust this icing to make soft peak and flood icing:
- Soft peak – Add a drop of water at a time until you have icing that holds a soft peak but does not spread on its own. Use for piping lines, borders and decorations.
- Flood icing – Add a teaspoon of water at a time until you have a thick but runny icing that smoothes out on its own within 15 seconds but not so runny that it runs off the edge of your biscuit. Use for filling in outlined areas of biscuits.
The recipe should give directions on which type of icing you will need.
Edible Caramel Glue
1. Put the sugar and water in a large, low-sided frying pan. Place over a medium-high heat. Without stirring, bring to 160°C/320°F on a sugar thermometer. If you do not have one, you will know the syrup is ready when the sugar dissolves and turns a light golden colour.
2. Swirl the syrup gently in the pan to even out the colour. Then leave to cool for a few moments to thicken slightly to the consistency of honey.
3. If the syrup begins to harden in the pan, place it back over a gentle heat until it has returned to the required consistency.
- If you have no piping bags make your own by twisting a tight cone out of baking parchment, or use a small plastic food bag and cut one corner off.
- If you do not have piping nozzles you can just cut the end of the piping bag off. Note that a nozzle will give you better results as you have more control.
- Only half fill the piping bag with icing so it does not ooze out of the top when you squeeze.
- To make chocolate icing, substitute 60g of cocoa powder in place of an equal amount of icing sugar.
- Using a big frying pan for the caramel glue makes it easy to dip the pieces of gingerbread into the pan to coat the edges.