For my flowers the first attempt never dried hard, so after making the recipe twice with the same result I decided I may have had a trace of grease in there somehow, or too much water - but then again my color flow sets up nice after drying....
The second batch I made the wilton recipe for stiff royal icing - I was determined to have firm hard flowers that would hold up this time. But when I tried to remove them from the wax paper they all crumbled at the slightest touch!
What am I doing wrong? Also, when measuring out the powdered sugar are you supposed to scoop and sweep or spoon it in the measuring cup?
Here on the Gulf Coast where humidity is an issue, we only have two consistencies of royal icing: right and wrong. The recipe I give my students is 1 pound of powdered sugar, 3 Tbsp meringue powder, and 5 Tbsp plus 1 tsp of water.
You cannot accurately measure powdered sugar by volume (by the cup). Since you are having such poor results, I recommend that you weigh your sugar, or at least buy the 1 pound box of it if you do not have a scale. The icing is beaten on medium speed for no less than 7 minutes.
Give that a try and report back.
Follow Cakepro's advice and also....Wilton's recipe tends to be on the stiff side. I tell my students that if they find it so then add a bit more water 1/2 tsp at a time.
To ensure that you have no grease get into the RI, wipe down *everything* that you will use to make the RI with a paper towel dampened with vinegar. Also, the tip and icing bag must be grease free. Either keep seperate tips and bags for use with RI, or clean both in very hot water with Dawn dish soap, rinse in very hot water and then rinse with vinegar.
This is a great recipe for RI: http://cakecentral.com/recipes/1983/antonia74-royal-icing
I never need as much water as the recipe calls for though. Add your coloring and then add water if needed.
Weighing sugar and flour is the easiest.
One of the cake decorating book that I have suggests adding icing sugar gradually to the egg white or water and meringue powder mixture, mixing well after each addition. Sugar added too quickly will result in a dull, heavy and grainy icing.
FYI, one of the greatest myths continually perpetuated here is about royal icing and grease...it is crucial that you don't get any grease in the icing WHILE IT IS MIXING, but you certainly do not have to keep separate tips, couplers, or bags...and you can even grease the foil you are piping flowers on with vegetable oil, shortening, Pam, etc in order for the flowers to easily pop off from the foil.
I will definitely try to weigh my sugar for the next batch and try the vinegar trick for mixing it. It is supposed to lose it's sheen as it mixes and mine still had a sort of sheen to it even after 7 minutes, so it must have been something in the mixing process that went wrong.
I really want it to work right because the flowers turn out so much better in the royal icing for me, I love the results!
Thank you all for your input and I will report back with my next batch.
If it's still shiny at 7 minutes, beat to 8, 9, or 10 minutes. Sometimes if you've added too much water, beating it for a few minutes longer will help it.