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You can also use it for holding gingerbread houses together, and it's a good icing for decorating cookies as well.
A thick icing is ideal for structural work, like holding 3D cookies or gingerbread houses together.
For decorating, you can thin it out with water to make it easier to spread. Make it even thinner to brush onto cookies.
Make the icing thick to begin with, then thin as needed.
There are probably a bazillion recipes, but here's mine.
Makes about 3 cups
1/4 cup meringue powder
1/2 cup water
1 pound confectioner’s sugar (or as needed to make the icing as thick as you like)
Coloring, as needed
Combine the meringue powder, water, and sugar in a medium bowl and beat on low speed until the mixture thickens until it forms stiff peaks.
The goal is to beat slowly so that you don’t incorporate a lot of air into the icing. If you do get impatient (it takes quite a while to thicken) and beat it too briskly and it gets fluffy rather than smooth and thick, you can let it sit for a while, then mix with a spatula to deflate it.
This can be made ahead of time – just cover with plastic wrap directly on top of the icing to keep it from starting to get hard. Unused icing can be covered and stored at room temperature for later use.
Add food coloring, as desired. I prefer gel coloring because you need less for more color, and it doesn’t add as much liquid to the icing.