Sweet Hope’s FrankenFrosting: The Best Cookie Icing Ever!

Date February 21, 2014

I know I know I know. Get it out of your system. I’ll wait.

The best cookie icing ever?! Really!!!!
How dare you say that!!!
Who do you think you are?!?!
Arrogant and Deluded,  Party of Two, your table is ready.

Feel better? Can I continue?

Before I get to THE BEST COOKIE ICING EVER! let me give you a little of the back story. If you’ve calmed down enough to hear me out, that is.

As you know, assuming that you read all my posts and take notes so as not to forget a single detail of my life, I’ve been a glaze purist since the early beginnings of my cookie life. So what do I like about glaze?

Glaze only requires four ingredients.
Glaze is stable. It never separates as can happen with royal icing.
Glaze can be stored indefinitely in the fridge or freezer.
Glaze has a perfectly sweet flavor that compliments the cookie.
Glaze has a soft bite and a shiny finish.

There are also a couple well-documented challenges with glaze. With the viscosity of thick honey glaze requires multiple layers of wet on dry application to add dimension to areas of a design and while it’s possible to do fine detail and writing with glaze, the strand of icing coming out of the piping tip will always flatten on itself. Try as hard as it might glaze is unable to hold the raised tubular shape of piped royal icing. Here are a couple examples where you can see that while the writing is clean, even using the smallest tip size, the line of icing goes flat and rounds out the lettering. The word “ballerina” is a prime example.



The other major issue with glaze is the slow drying time, especially when it includes layer on layer for dimension. Typically a glazed cookie requires up to 24 hours to air dry before it can be sealed into a cellophane bag but even then glaze can become slightly damp again once sealed, perhaps from absorbing moisture from the baked cookie, which creates tacky points of contact between the glaze surface and the cellophane bag.

Enough already! Just get to the point! What do you mean you have THE BEST COOKIE ICING EVER?

You’ve always had a hard time living with unresolved tension, haven’t you? Okay then,  I’m going to get to the point and end your suffering.

A couple months ago I had a cookie order that involved a lot of writing and I wanted the writing to be super clean with some height,  the kind of writing I knew I could get with royal icing. Royal icing. I love the puffy dimensions, the super fine detailing, and the quick drying time of royal icing but the hard crunch, the dull finish, and especially the taste have always been major turn-offs for me.

So the brain gears started turning. . .what would happen if I took a big scoop of royal icing and stirred it into a big scoop of glaze?  And so I did because that’s the kind of risk-taker I am. One day I’m combining icings, the next I’m free jumping off tall buildings. And what happened with tossing all caution to the wind is that I ended up with an icing that offered the best of glaze (soft bite, slight shine, and sweet taste) and the best of royal icing (shorter drying time, fine details, and puffy dimension).  And no wonder because it IS glaze and it IS royal icing.



Another advantage I’ve noticed from adding royal icing into glaze is that the finish is slightly less slick and more rough, a result of less corn syrup I’m guessing, which produces much better results with airbrushing, stenciling, and stamping on the surface of the icing.



While I can achieve the puffy dimensional look with multiple layers of pure glaze as previously mentioned and no doubt already jotted down in your “Another Brilliant Thing Anita Said” notebook, the amount of dense glaze that ends up layered on the cookie can overwhelm the baked cookie underneath, leaving a bite that’s almost too sweet. If there exists such a thing.

IMG_5188 .
The one immediately obvious downside to combining royal icing and glaze is that it requires double the time in preparing two separate icings and so that’s why for the past couple weeks I’ve exchanged my apron for a lab coat and locked myself away in my culinary laboratory, only emerging  long enough to consult and compare notes with some of the finest icing researchers to hold a piping bag including the one, the only, you know her and you love her, Jill. After tweaking through a half dozen different “royal glaze” recipes I’ve come up with a number of variations that gave me finished results similar to the original combo version with one single notable exception. When I combine the two separate icings the airy puffiness of the whipped royal icing lightens the dense, compact quality of glaze and I end up with icing in my bowl that looks and behaves like royal icing. It’s fluffy and still able to form loose, soft peaks. However, when I mix all the ingredients together in one bowl, no matter what the order I add them or the quantities of each ingredient, the finished icing looks and behaves like glaze. It’s dense and smooths back into itself. I suppose I could have continued my experiments until I found that one magic recipe and filled up yet another freezer shelf with plastic buckets of icing but instead, I decided to stop the insanity and stay with Anita’s FrankenFrosting, named by everyone’s favorite retro sheek, Arty McGoo.

So if you’re looking for an icing that offers the best of both glaze and royal icing you might want to give FrankenFrosting a try. Here are the recipes that I use for my mad icing science!

Part One: Royal Icing


2 pounds powdered sugar

2 tablespoons meringue powder

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons flavoring (oil-free flavoring or extract)

1 tablespoon glycerin


Mix the meringue powder into the powdered sugar until thoroughly incorporated.

At the lowest setting of your mixer and using the blade attachment, add in the water, flavorings, and glycerin. Once the ingredients are full combined, turn the mixer to medium, whipping the icing just until it becomes fluffy and holds a firm peak. 

Move the royal icing into another bowl and then cover the top of the bowl with a slightly damp kitchen towel.

There’s no need to clean the bowl and blade attachment between making the two icings.

Part Two: Sweet Glaze Icing


2 pounds powdered sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup corn syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 

1 teaspoon almond

*1 squeeze of white coloring gel 


Add all the ingredients to the bowl in the order listed so that the powdered sugar is on the bottom of the bowl.

Beat at low speed until ingredients are combined and the turn the speed up to medium, beating until the glaze is well blended and smooth like thick honey. (2-3 minutes).

Part Three: Sweet Hope Icing


1 batch royal icing

1 batch sweet glaze


Add the royal icing back into the mixing bowl containing the glaze. 

Whip at low speed for 30 seconds. Use a spatula to scrap down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. 

Whip at low speed for another 30-60 seconds or until you can see that the two icings have become one beautiful bowl of thick fluffy magic. 


The steps that go into making the actual FrankenFrosting are actually so complex and nuanced  that I thought it might be better to show you how to do it rather than tell you. Please don’t start the video until you have notebook and pen in hand.

I know. I put everything you look for in a highly educational and entertaining cookie tutorial. Banjo music, off-center framing, and tediously boring stirring of multiple bowls of icing by icing covered hands. It’s a beautiful thing. Step aside SweetAmbs, there’s a new girl in town!

The point of the video is simply to show you in the most B-rated form of video production a comparison of all the icings side by side. I would recommend Netflix or HuluPlus if you’re looking to be entertained.

Final Frankenfrosting thoughts:

  • I keep my “starter icings” thick and only thin the Frankenfrosting with water after adding coloring gel since different colors require more or less gel.
  • Even though Frankenfrosting has a soft bite because of the glaze, I still go ahead and add glycerin to the royal icing since I want the option of being able to use pure royal icing or pure glaze.
  • Frankenfrosting can be left on the counter in an air-tight container for two-three days or stored in the refrigerator for up to 7-10 days. It can be kept in the freezer indefinitely. When using frozen or refrigerated icing be sure to allow the icing to thaw completely since it needs to reach room temperature to get a true gauge on the icing consistency. Should you notice any separation in the icing just hand stir until the liquid is incorporated back in. 
  • Using the provided measurements you should end up with a very thick fluffy icing which will be about what you want for piping roses, writing, or fine details. Add more water as needed to thin to consistencies for filling and flooding. 
  • I add just a few drops of white coloring gel to my glaze to offset the brown tint from using pure vanilla extract.

BEST COOKIE ICING EVER. . . in my kitchen anyway!

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75 Responses to “Sweet Hope’s FrankenFrosting: The Best Cookie Icing Ever!”

  1. jillfcs said:

    Hahaha, "stop the insanity" … why mess with something that works!!! ♥

  2. UltimateGingerbread said:

    I share you same sentiments about RI and Glaze. Look forward to trying your Frankenfrosting! Love the banjo music!

  3. Kathy said:

    Love the video. Can't wait to try your FrankenFrosting.

  4. Lynda said:

    Dear sweet Anita,

    It has been a while since I have read one of your blogs…..and I now ask myself WHY? WHY are you depriving yourself of the antics of one of the funniest human beings ALIVE???!!!?????! I am anxious to try the newest icing in town!!!! And THANK YOU for adding such laughter to my day!!!


  5. Donna Rupinski said:

    I was a glaze gal when I first started making cookies but wanted the detail that RI provides. So, I started making both and used glaze for my flood and RI for details. This became very tedious because I often times needed to match the colors for flood and detail. So,I switched over to RI exclusively but I keep tweaking it to soften the bite. This recipe looks perfect! I have a question about how the hybrid icing performs. You said that when you add the RI to the glaze you get an icing that looks and behaves like RI but when you add both icings in bowl, no matter the order or quality, the finished icing looks and behaves like glaze. So I’m a bit confused, lol. I rarely use really stiff RI (like right out of the mixer) and the hybrid icing appears to have the consistency of outline or 20 second icing. Would that be correct?

    Thank you so much for the recipe and tutorial! Giving this a try today for some cookies I’m making for a fellow cookier.

  6. Anne said:

    I started out using glaze icing because I liked the taste but a few years ago, I changed over to royal. I am going to try your recipe, it looks like it's the best of both worlds!

  7. Cindy-CookieCheers said:

    Fantastic! What's the dry time?

  8. Kelly said:

    I have tweaked a couple of different RI recipes (Sugarbelle's and Sugardeaux's) to get something kind of like what you described. I use 2 lb. powdered sugar, 5 oz water, 5 tbsp. meringue powder, 3/4 tsp cream of tartar, 2 tbsp. of butter/vanilla emulsion, and 1/4 cup corn syrup. I ended up with a RI that stacks well but is dentable with a fingernail and tastes fantastic! I can't wait to watch your video and thank you for all your lovely tutorials, tips, and tricks!

  9. Pat Ruiz said:

    OMG! This is unbelievable, thanks so much for sharing this fabulous recipe for all of us to enjoy!

  10. Sandy Dickson said:

    I don't see anywhere how much of each you combine to create the new Frankenfrosting. Are you combining ALL of both recipes or equal portions of each recipe to create the new Frankfrosting? This looks interesting and I'm anxious to try.

  11. NL Marrs said:

    Anita, You rock!!! I have been a GLAZE only girl because my family does not like the taste and hard finish of RI. I am not cookier, but love to make frosted cookies for my family and close friends and wondered if I could glaze and then add details with RI. I have never been adventurous enough to try it – so without you – people like me would just continue on our same icing path. But, not any longer ;o) Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!!!! I cannot wait to try this new recipe.

  12. Michelle (Sweet P's) said:

    Interesting way to do it Anita! When I created my Royal Glaze recipe, I never would have thought to make both and combine them! I wonder if you added more glaze than royal, would it be better for, say, wet-on-wet? I have always loved how the glycerin gives a softer bite to royal. And combined with glaze, well, I haven't done it any other way for almost 4 years! Loved the video, too!!! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Jen Rowe said:

    I need to follow up with you! I started out as a RI girl, then switched to Glaze because the flavor was so much better. But went back to RI because the stress of making sure I had enough time for the cookies to dry was too much for me.

    So!!! I tried your FrankenFrosting on my projects this week. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!! I cannot thank you ENOUGH for this post. Just like you said…the best of both worlds. I completely decorated a set of cookies, let them sit overnight for about 10 hours and they were ready to package. And soooooo yummy! Just enough firmness in the frosting to keep them from getting "dents" and still soft underneath.

    You have given me recipe that is perfect for me (no stress on drying time) and perfect for my clients (super yummy frosting). And I will use half the amount of meringue powder for each order! Win/Win/Win!

    Thank you again!!!


  14. NikkiK said:

    Jiminy Christmas Anita! Is there no end to your over-active brain activity? I think between this FrankenFrosting and all your cookie variations, you need to be nominated for a Nobel Prize in Cookie Chemistry. For reals.

    Now I'm going to have to spend my weekend mixing up glaze and RI and to try this very interesting looking, bi-curious icing. Does it want to be glaze? Does it want to be royal? The best of both worlds for sure.

    I'm still doing it. I'm still bowing in your cyber presence.
    (And why in the french toast did I just today see this post? I'm slippin' in my old age.)
    Thank you for your dedication to the cookie world. Your loyal subjects adore you.

  15. Terri said:

    This is a first time for me on your site (clicked over from Sugarbelle's icing post) and what a treat it has been! Thanks for this great post, can't wait for the time to give it try! I started with glaze, (but with milk not water for the liquid), loved it, very yummy, but took FOREver to dry since I live in a rainforesty climate. Then, like Donna, I, too used RI for piping and glaze for flood, but it was too hard to match the two icings since glaze takes color so much better. I've been slugging it out solely with RI amidst great frustration with the humidity–a fan AND a dehumidifier is the only way I can get my icing to set and even then it often collapses. So this idea might be the key to success for me! Thanks for all your insight and for sharing your mad scientist experiment turned miracle! 🙂

  16. Tammy said:

    May I ask what the cream of tartar does in the tweaked RI sugabelle recipe? Very curious?

  17. connie said:

    I wonder…why couldn't you just add meringue powder, glycerin and cream of tartar to the Glaze Icing. Or just add Corn Syrup to royal icing. I believe it's the corn syrup that gives it the shine, better taste and would also create the softer bite. By combining the two into one icing, would be much easier than going to the trouble of making two separate icing.

  18. Robyn said:

    I use a similar recipe except I don't combine 2 different icings, I just add 1/2 cup of corn syrup to the royal icing after it is completely whipped and continue mixing on low speed for a few minutes. The result is a royal type icing that dries quickly but still is soft on the inside

  19. Annie said:

    Hey Anita – I'm so intrigued….I might just throw caution to the wind and try this on my Easter cookies. Why wait and try it right? One question – you freeze your icing….how to you unthaw it. Other than the obvious "set it on the counter, silly." Anything special that you put it in before freezing? Just a sealed plastic container?

  20. artforthesoulwv said:

    OK…I'm goin' for it… I'm base-icing with Anita's FF…I've been using a version of Karen's Buttercream Meringue (with only 1 TAB of shortening to a double recipe) and only using RI when I need fine details or stand up details… but, I'm as big a risk-taker as you are, Anita, AND. I'M. GOING. TO. DO. IT. (I met you at CC'14, but I didn't get to REALLY talk to you…You're just too big, now…I'll have to be content with knowing you by reading your posts:). But I'll keep you updated on my results with AFF!

  21. artforthesoulwv said:

    Hi Anita, I commented a few days ago about trying your AFF…well, I did… and I LOVE IT!!!! I haven't been 100% satisfied with my icing…It's basically RI with a little shortening… More versatile than glaze…gosh, you glaze users must be patient…better eating consistency than RI,,, but…well, I wanted the things that RI can do … and you found it …I love everything about AFF…Thanks for experimenting, and thanks for sharing your discovery:) Linda

  22. Rainee Walker said:

    can i substitute corn syrup for the glycerin? What does the glycerin do softness or shine or both? Does glycerin make it shinier the corn syrup? Just curious I've only used it to make the kids bubbles!

  23. Deanna said:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I used it for my Easter cookies and really liked it. It dried shinier than my royal icing and softer too. I personally like the taste more too. I don't normally eat my cookies because I don't like sugar cookies; however, I like them more with this icing.

  24. Suzanne said:

    Anita – you are my hero!!!! I love this – and the video – brillant! You cook the same way I do – a scoop here and a scoop there!
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  25. Laura S said:

    Oh. My. Gosh. Anita!!! You fixed everything I hate about RI and glaze in one fell swoop! I ❤️❤️❤️ Frankenfrosting. You are my hero!

  26. Marilyn said:

    Anita, you've changed my cookie decorating life! I've tried my darndest to decorate with glaze but have never been able to try more complicated designs because of how it flattens out. Having tasted a cookie covered in RI and basically spitting it out, I've never even tried to make a batch of the stuff until your discovery. I too tried combining ingredients into one recipe but never could get it to behave like RI and look good. Thanks for letting me go crazy with the happy dance here after sucking it up and making two different batches of icing to accomplish one task. But it works wonderfully. Thanks for sharing your genius eureka moment.

  27. Mandy said:

    Love the taste, texture and shine, but I have lots of little air bubbles in my flood icing. What am I doing wrong?

  28. Noveen said:

    Can it be halved?

  29. Lupe said:

    There is no video.

  30. Glace Icing for Cookies | Down Cakery Lane said:

    […] on making quite a few batches of glace and royal…AND I’m super excited to try out a new recipe…glace and royal’s […]

  31. Laurel said:

    I have to admit I didn’t read ALL the comments, but what about the taste? I’m a glaze girl because I like the taste. Does AFF taste as good as glaze?

  32. anita said:

    Laurel, one of the main reasons I love this icing is that it has all the good traits of royal icing but with the flavor of glaze. Of course, that might depend on the meringue powder brand being used….I use CK.

  33. Laurel said:

    OK, Anita, I'm gonna trust you on this and use AFF on my granddaughter's first birthday cookies. I've they're gross, it's all your fault! She'll be scarred FOR LIFE 🙂

    On another note….

    Have you tried RI transfers with AFF?

  34. Deji said:


    Thanks for sharing! I live in England, and corn syrup is hard to come by.

    Any thoughts on a substitute for corn syrup? Thanks in advance.

  35. brenda said:

    when you freeze this , do you mix them together or freeze seperately, then thaw and mix? and is this good for using stencils on cookies?

  36. brenda said:

    when you freeze this , do you mix them together or freeze seperately, then thaw and mix? and is this good for using stencils on cookies?

  37. Jacqui said:

    My son loves this frosting I have a batch in the freezer now and will be making a couple more batches as I will be in the house all weekend making my Valentine Cookie orders to ship…

  38. Luane Kash said:

    your cookies are so pretty… and perfect…I just want to look at them…I know creepy right. They are really wonderful though. Very talented, looking forward to try your recipe.

  39. kimberly said:

    So, for the Royal icing … is it 2-3Tbsp or 5 Tbsp of cream of tartar ? post says 2-3 ….video says 5

  40. Jadine said:

    ok, so I tred FF for the first time.
    PROS: Tastes better. Fast drying time of RI not affected significantly. WAY LESS bubbles. Day 1 & 2 less separating of icing in bottles and piping bags. If you make a mistake, you can still scrape the icing off 2 days later. You would never be able to do this with straight RI. More consistent and true colours and this might be due to the fact that I never added any cream of tartar to my RI.
    CONS: ?more expensive bec of glycerine, corn syrup, additional icing sugar for glaze; more prep time tho' I can't say that it was significant, considering you don't have to spend hours popping bubbles and restirring and mixing your icings.
    PS I LOVE my pico!!!!! I can't draw at all and it has saved me so much time and frustration and so easy to line up wording and script.

  41. LisaMarie Jenssen said:

    Anita!! I just used this for the first time, and I love it – the shine is mind blowing! (I also have a dehydrator!) I don't really know how you would use glaze on it's own, and it seems very sweet, but the combination of glaze and royal is amazeballs! I wish I had tried this a long time ago! Thank you!

  42. diana said:

    can you make transfers with this icing

  43. Denise said:

    I started using love it to oven's recipe which has all ingredients for RI and glaze icing using glycerin, meringue powder, corn syrup etc I still have to thin the main batch to flood. Just wondering if combining your both of your recipes together (FF) icing If you still need to thin out that recipe with extra water too for flooding?

  44. Denise said:

    When using the 2 recipes together (FF) icing Do you still need to add extra water when flooding?

  45. Debbie G said:

    I tried it and I love it! This will now be my go-to decorating icing. Thank you so much for sharing!

  46. Denise said:

    Thanks for answering my questions on the consistency of FF icing. You have explained that perfectly. I still want to know if once you achieve the consistency with adding water do you ever use same consistency for outlining and flooding with just switching the different tip sizes?

  47. Danielle said:

    I'm a cookie decorating newbie and am trying to find out if there is a way to make a metallic icing/glaze without having to pipe and then paint. Has anyone tried to add Rolkem Supers metallics to FF?

  48. Deborah Hoover said:

    I've been baking for years and my sugar cookies are one of my favorite things to bake and create. I've searched and tried many variations of frosting trying to get it just perfect, easy to use, fast drying, doesn't run and is not crunchy. Well, I have finally found it!!! Thank you so much for posting this. It is absolutely amazing. My customers are raving about my cookies. I always thought they were delicious but now? They are irresistible, gorgeously decorated, firm but not hard and soft inside. Thank you thank you thank you!!

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