Icing is a type of glaze that is used to adorn and provide a more flavorful experience for a variety of desserts, such as cakes and cookies. Unlike frosting, icing is traditionally a thin consistency made of water and sugar, to be drizzled or brushed onto desserts. However, it can also be enriched with cream, butter, or milk for added flavor and thickness. Icing may also be added to whipped cream or eggs for a decadent touch. Whichever you prefer, most icings are very simple to create and takes very little time.

Petit fours

The secret to a delicious icing lies in the quality of ingredients. While many brands would seemingly do, fresh ingredients are always a good idea because they often yield the best results and impart a more robust flavor. There are only a few ingredients in icing, so it's important to make your ingredients count in the quality of cream or milk, and sugar that you use.

Iced cookies

What You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream for richer taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
iced lemon poppyseed donuts with almonds

How to Make It

1. In a warm saucepan, melt 1/4 cups of butter.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift 2 cups of powdered sugar.

3. Add the melted butter to the powdered sugar, gently stirring manually or with a hand mixer set on low, until mixture is smooth and creamy.

4. Add 2 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream to the mixture until smooth and fully blended.

5. Add a little more milk if needed.

6. Drizzle the icing over a cooled cake or dessert of your choice. Serve and enjoy!

Frosted Desserts

Dairy Alternatives

You may be wondering if your non-dairy milk, butter or cream will provide the same results as the leading dairy brand. The answer is yes, however, keep in mind that the taste that often comes in options, such as soy, almond, coconut, hemp and even rice milk may be different. The only way to know for sure is to conduct a taste test beforehand. Though many prefer soy milk, almond milk is actually the more popular selection, but the choice is yours.

Non-dairy versions of dairy items, such as hemp or almond may impart a stronger flavor, but if you enjoy the taste then creating icing with these ingredients will work just fine. However, if you don't love the taste of non-dairy milk or cream and still would rather not use a dairy variety, then water will work too, although the consistency of the icing will be thinner.

Icing is the perfect addition of flavor to any kind of dessert. Not only is it a cinch to make, it's saves time allowing you to serve over a variety of warm breads, pastries, and tarts. Keep this recipe in your rotation for a rich and creamy topping for your favorite sweet recipes.

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