I absolutely love icing sugar cookies. There’s something so satisfying about creating mini works of art.
I’ll never forget the first time I ate a specially decorated cookie...and the total disappointment. Dry and crunchy, without much flavor. Why go to all the trouble of decorating something that doesn’t even taste that good in the end?
If you like royal icing, keep doing what you’re doing! But if you’re looking for an alternative icing that doesn’t sacrifice taste for beauty, then this one is for you! This icing is so delicious in combination with my sugar cookie recipe that I have to stop my husband from going back for thirds, and fourths, and fifths!
This glaze icing dries hard so cookies can easily be stacked or bagged without ruining the design. It’s still somehow soft and melts in your mouth when you bite into it. And very importantly, it can still do most designs that royal can do, as long as they are 2 dimensional.
These gorgeous, detailed cookies were all made using glaze icing!
Making the Glaze
To make the glaze you’ll weigh your powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. I recommend a stand mixer for this recipe if you’re making a large amount, but small amounts can be mixed by hand.
In a separate bowl, measure and loosely mix water, corn syrup, honey, and vanilla.
It’s not necessary to mix it as much as I did, just make sure the water is incorporated into the honey.
Add your liquids to the powdered sugar and mix until well combined.
My goal with this recipe is to have it as stiff as possible when first mixed. If your glaze is so stiff that it can’t incorporate all the powdered sugar or has a rough texture, (as pictured below) add more water, 1/4 tsp at a time.
If your glaze looks well mixed but still feels like cement and is difficult to scoop with a spatula, add a little more corn syrup. The goal is to add as little water as possible. I’ll explain the reason for that when I show you how to work with the glaze.
This is how your glaze should look when it’s finished. It should look uniformly smooth, but drip very slowly.
At this stage, you can add the whitener. It is somewhat optional as you can still make decent looking cookies without it, but the glaze will have an off-white appearance due to the honey. The whitener also helps brighten colors when the glaze is dyed. I’d also recommend using a clear vanilla flavor to help keep the icing white.
*Many of my recipes are made using weighted measurements. Use grams to get the best results! Volumetric measurements are approximate.
Sugar Magic’s Honey Glaze Cookie Icing
Glaze can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature somewhat indefinitely. I’ve still never encountered a container of glaze that has gone bad. But if you know you won’t be using it for a while, you might as well refrigerate or freeze it.
Using the Glaze
I’ve been using glaze icing for a few years now, but only recently rewrote the recipe to improve both its taste and function. I will admit that glaze is slightly (only slightly, I promise!) trickier to use than royal icing, but is quite easy once you get used to it.
If you’ve used royal before, you’ll be familiar with this icing technique. Outline your cookies with stiff icing. Mix water into the icing until it is loose enough to “flood” the cookie.
Once the main icing is dry, you can go back and add details with the stiff icing.
For the flood consistency, I know it’s ready when I drizzle the icing in the container and it takes a good 7 or 8 seconds to disappear back into the rest of the glaze.
This icing does take a little longer than royal to dry, but I don’t find this to be too inconvenient as I usually let them dry overnight. Or sometimes I’ll carefully add decorations before they’re 100% dry.
Another important detail: Before I added the honey to my recipe, I kept getting sinkholes in my piping. It would randomly show up in some of the details of my cookies.
It’s not the end of the world on these designs, but it can be quite frustrating when Santa’s eye or nose caves in on your Christmas cookies!
The best I can figure is that as the liquid evaporates, it forms a pocket of air that the powdered sugar isn’t stable enough to hold up, so it caves in like a sinkhole. I experimented with ways of thickening the glaze and finally found that using honey and as little water as possible for piping details helps stabilize the icing.
So feel free to add as much water as you need for flooding purposes, but if you need to loosen it up for easier line piping, try adding more honey or corn syrup first.
If you’ve made a flood color and want to re-purpose it to use for details, you can mix in more powdered sugar and honey to stiffen it back up.
Don't forget to check out my sugar cookie recipe for your next cookie project!
I’d love to see what you come up with!
Tag me @JuliesSugarMagic on Facebook or Instagram and #SugarMagicGlaze to show off your creations!