The first step to coloring your cookies and other confections is to choose the base, such as a cake or cookie icing, frosting, or a glaze. Is there a difference? While casual cooks often use these terms interchangeably, pros might point out a few differences:
Follow along to see how to color your icing of choice. And if you need to know how to make icing, we have that here, too.
Here’s how to color royal icing, powdered sugar icing, cream cheese frosting, cream cheese icing, and other white or neutral-color recipes for icing cakes and cookies.
Paste or gel food coloring
These highly concentrated food colorings are available in a many colors and shades. Look for paste or gel food coloring at hobby stores and specialty cooking stores. They are becoming more readily available at many grocery chains, too.
Liquid food coloring
Readily available at most grocery stores, liquid food colorings generally come in four color options: red, yellow, green, and blue. To use, stir drops of food coloring into the cake or cookie icing or frosting until you achieve the desired shade. You can also mix colors to get the color or shade you want.
Powdered Sugar Icing is one of the easiest recipes for a quick cookie icing. You can also use it to drizzle on cakes and cupcakes.
Here’s how to make Powdered Sugar Icing:
Royal Icing is easy to color and pipe, plus it sets up firmly when dry. Royal Icing is our go-to cookie icing. It is often used for decorating cutout cookies and gingerbread cookies and for piping decorations and writing onto any kind of cake.
Here’s how to make Royal Icing:
Tip: Meringue powder is a mixture of pasteurized dried egg whites, sugar, and edible gums. Look for it in the baking aisle of your supermarket or at a specialty food store.