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Hi,

I have been constantly looking for royal ucing substitutes for decorating sugar cookies/gingerbread cookies.

In one of Julia's videos, I saw that she mentioned glaze and rolled fondant as two other alternatives for decorating cookies. Have tried both.

Glaze, I think just doesn't give the same "beauty" to a cookie that royal icing does, maybe because it is translucent, as opposed to royal icing which is white. Coloured glaze also doesn't have the same "body/form/look" as colored Royal icing.

I not a fan of how fondant tastes. I have experienced that it dries up and becomes hard and stretchy after a while on the cookies. I used corn syrup to glue fondant onto sugar cookies.

I have tried Wilton candy melts and I was not happy with the result mostly because I could not figure out how to make the candy melts as smooth flowing as royal icing. So the coated cookies ended up with blobs of candy melts unevenly spread on the cookies.

Would any of you have any tips on other alternatives you have tried for decorating cookies or tips for making better use of glaze, fondant or candy melts for decorating cookies?

My main problem with using royal icing is the end product of sugar cookie + royal Icing is too sweet and also royal icing dries up too hard.

Last edited by Julia M. Usher
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It's tough to cut the sweetness of ANY icing, as all are mostly sugar. All I can suggest is adding some lemon juice (or cream of tartar; something acidic) to cut the sweetness a bit. Glycerin, glucose, and corn syrup can all be added to soften the bite of royal icing, but glycerin is most effective. Please see the "Toolbox Talk" blog post about "Corn Syrup" (under the Blog area) for all of these details. This article compared all three as softening agents. (Note, though, that the tradeoff of these additives is that the icing may never set all the way through, and thus it may become more difficult to stamp or stencil on the cookies. These additives can also increase the spread of the icing.) Please also search our "forums" (using the magnifying glass icon in the top right of the site). I am pretty sure this topic has been addressed in at least one other thread.

It's tough to cut the sweetness of ANY icing, as all are mostly sugar. All I can suggest is adding some lemon juice (or cream of tartar; something acidic) to cut the sweetness a bit. Glycerin, glucose, and corn syrup can all be added to soften the bite of royal icing, but glycerin is most effective. Please see the "Toolbox Talk" blog post about "Corn Syrup" (under the Blog area) for all of these details. This article compared all three as softening agents. (Note, though, that the tradeoff of these additives is that the icing may never set all the way through, and thus it may become more difficult to stamp or stencil on the cookies. These additives can also increase the spread of the icing.) Please also search our "forums" (using the magnifying glass icon in the top right of the site). I am pretty sure this topic has been addressed in at least one other thread.

Thank you Julia. Yes, I did see that you mention cream of Tartar in your video, but haven't tried that hack. Will definitely try it. Will read the Toolbox Talk too and try out the ingredients for softening, but I wouldn't want to compromise the drying of the icing, so have to experiment and figure out what will work.

Also, I did try to look for this topic in the Forum, there is a lot of good information and other related knowledge that I gathered however, I couldn't find any topic specifically addressing other substitutes for Royal icing.

I apologize if this is duplicate. I was just curious to see if more experienced cookiers may have something that they have tried and liked.

@Econlady posted:

For fondant you can make fondant which is delicious.  I like satin ice fondant.  It is tasty.  You could do buttercream icing.  A friend claims that with extra meringue powder it can get hard.  Iโ€™ve never tried it.  

Thank you, @Econlady would love to try satin ice fondant. I have mostly worked with the rolled ready made Fondant by Wilton. It has a sort of bitterness that I cannot explain. Not sure if it because of the extent of color in the fondant.

Would you have a recipe for the satin ice fondant that you could share or point me in the direction of a baker/cookier who would have this recipe on their blog or website?

Buttercream icing on cookies is something I haven't heard of, I don't have any experience working with buttercream, but love it on cupcakes, so I will try it out with meringue powder. I will have to figure out how much meringue powder will be needed to harden the buttercream without compromising the taste.

Thanks again

Thank you, @Econlady would love to try satin ice fondant. I have mostly worked with the rolled ready made Fondant by Wilton. It has a sort of bitterness that I cannot explain. Not sure if it because of the extent of color in the fondant.

Would you have a recipe for the satin ice fondant that you could share or point me in the direction of a baker/cookier who would have this recipe on their blog or website?

Buttercream icing on cookies is something I haven't heard of, I don't have any experience working with buttercream, but love it on cupcakes, so I will try it out with meringue powder. I will have to figure out how much meringue powder will be needed to harden the buttercream without compromising the taste.

Thanks again

Wilton fondant tastes awful and is hard to work with.  The white likes to pick up clothing fibers.  You buy satin ice.  I know itโ€™s on amazon, but Iโ€™ve seen it at Michaels.  I color fondant (Satin Ice) with Roxy and rich fondust. There are recipes for fondant, but Iโ€™ve never had success making it.  Iโ€™m not sure how much meringue powder to add to make it stiffer.  You will have to experiment.  My friend who is a teacher loves it.  Are you using wilton meringue powder?  I prefer Genies dream meringue powder.  I use the recipe on the container and I really like it.  

Hi @Anupama Joshi,
I don't particularly like the taste of fondant either. Especially when he's so thick on the cookies. If you are looking for a softer alternative, I can recommend adding modeling marzipan! Or rather, 2/3 modeling marzipan, 1/3 fondant. It tastes like marzipan. However, you don't get pure white with it and with lighter colors you can also see the tiny almond pieces in the marzipan. And: it can only be painted with powder paints. But it tastes good and stays soft! I would like to show you an example of my marzipan fondant:
The cones and holly leaves are made of marzipan with fondant.

P1240844cc

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  • cones and holly leaves with marzipan fondant: icingsugarkeks

I completely agree that royal icing is far too sweet and fondant tastes terrible. In my experience, you can offset some of the sweet (as well as the texture) with your base cookie. A really deep chocolate cookie made with high quality cocoa powder (cooked until just barely set so it remains soft and almost brownie-like) was the best way I found to counteract the sweetness and the hardness of royal icing.

I completely agree that royal icing is far too sweet and fondant tastes terrible. In my experience, you can offset some of the sweet (as well as the texture) with your base cookie. A really deep chocolate cookie made with high quality cocoa powder (cooked until just barely set so it remains soft and almost brownie-like) was the best way I found to counteract the sweetness and the hardness of royal icing.

Mmmmm... Samantha, I'll get a "droplet" on my tongue in a moment ... that sounds sooo delicious !! And a great idea !! โค๏ธ @Aproned Artist

@Econlady posted:

Wilton fondant tastes awful and is hard to work with.  The white likes to pick up clothing fibers.  You buy satin ice.  I know itโ€™s on amazon, but Iโ€™ve seen it at Michaels.  I color fondant (Satin Ice) with Roxy and rich fondust. There are recipes for fondant, but Iโ€™ve never had success making it.  Iโ€™m not sure how much meringue powder to add to make it stiffer.  You will have to experiment.  My friend who is a teacher loves it.  Are you using wilton meringue powder?  I prefer Genies dream meringue powder.  I use the recipe on the container and I really like it.  

I am not yet experienced enough to make fondant on my own for sure, so currently if I want to experiment it on cookies, it has to be store bought fondant.

Yes, I use Wilton meringue powder. Will try out Genies meringue powder too.

Thanks again @Econlady

Hi @Anupama Joshi,
I don't particularly like the taste of fondant either. Especially when he's so thick on the cookies. If you are looking for a softer alternative, I can recommend adding modeling marzipan! Or rather, 2/3 modeling marzipan, 1/3 fondant. It tastes like marzipan. However, you don't get pure white with it and with lighter colors you can also see the tiny almond pieces in the marzipan. And: it can only be painted with powder paints. But it tastes good and stays soft! I would like to show you an example of my marzipan fondant:
The cones and holly leaves are made of marzipan with fondant.

P1240844cc

@Icingsugarkeks What a great hack! When I was in Europe I have tried enough and more of marzipan and would say it definitely tastes was better than fondant. I am now eager to try this mixture of marzipan and fondant and see how that works out taste wise and consistency wise, both. However, as much as saw on Amazon.ca (Canada) Marzipan doesn't seem to be as easily available as fondant also, seems pricier. Am I missing something? Would you have recommendations for from where can I buy it or order it online? And also any Marzipan brand recommendations?

Love the cookies you have made and the detailing on cookie decorations is amazing! Would love to buy these!

I completely agree that royal icing is far too sweet and fondant tastes terrible. In my experience, you can offset some of the sweet (as well as the texture) with your base cookie. A really deep chocolate cookie made with high quality cocoa powder (cooked until just barely set so it remains soft and almost brownie-like) was the best way I found to counteract the sweetness and the hardness of royal icing.

@Aproned Artist Thank you for the tip. Even though I love chocolate somehow have never tried baking a plain chocolate cookie. Will definitely try this out

@Icingsugarkeks What a great hack! When I was in Europe I have tried enough and more of marzipan and would say it definitely tastes was better than fondant. I am now eager to try this mixture of marzipan and fondant and see how that works out taste wise and consistency wise, both. However, as much as saw on Amazon.ca (Canada) Marzipan doesn't seem to be as easily available as fondant also, seems pricier. Am I missing something? Would you have recommendations for from where can I buy it or order it online? And also any Marzipan brand recommendations?

Love the cookies you have made and the detailing on cookie decorations is amazing! Would love to buy these!

Thanks! Here in Germany, the finished marzipan tastes a little different everywhere. It also depends on what ingredients it was made from. Whether almonds, pistachios, apricot kernels ...
I don't use this ready-made marzipan !! I ride with "fine marzipan raw mass". This tastes pretty much the same for all brands. I buy mine at the supermarket. Available in 200g packs. To mix this with fondant, I add powdered sugar, otherwise it will be too greasy ... You can color the whole thing with gel paints. This marzipan and fondant mix has advantages and disadvantages. I would see the slightly glossy effect on the finished figures and the taste as an advantage. A small disadvantage: here too, the fat in the marzipan makes it harder to paint! However, it should work great with powder paints! Unfortunately I haven't tried it yet because I don't have any powder paints. I sometimes used cocoa powder as a powder color for the brown figures and that worked great!
I hope, it helps?

Thanks! Here in Germany, the finished marzipan tastes a little different everywhere. It also depends on what ingredients it was made from. Whether almonds, pistachios, apricot kernels ...
I don't use this ready-made marzipan !! I ride with "fine marzipan raw mass". This tastes pretty much the same for all brands. I buy mine at the supermarket. Available in 200g packs. To mix this with fondant, I add powdered sugar, otherwise it will be too greasy ... You can color the whole thing with gel paints. This marzipan and fondant mix has advantages and disadvantages. I would see the slightly glossy effect on the finished figures and the taste as an advantage. A small disadvantage: here too, the fat in the marzipan makes it harder to paint! However, it should work great with powder paints! Unfortunately I haven't tried it yet because I don't have any powder paints. I sometimes used cocoa powder as a powder color for the brown figures and that worked great!
I hope, it helps?

@Icingsugarkeks Thanks a lot! Great tips! it definitely helps

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