Ri Turns Splotchy - What's Happening?!?

Baking By still_learning Updated 22 Feb 2010 , 10:59pm by luv2bake6

still_learning Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 10:27pm
post #1 of 14

My RI flooding looks great at first and then a couple of days later splotches start showing up. Darker colors usually look worse but even the white starts to get beige spots. I end up having to cover everything in sanding sugar to keep them looking appetizing. Does anyone know what's going on? I use RI with fresh egg whites that I cook in the microwave to 160F. Thanks for any suggestions!!!

13 replies
bonniebakes Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 2:26pm
post #2 of 14

hmmm.... it sounds like it might be that some fat/grease from the cookie is seeping into the royal icing... grease and RI do not play nicely together.

still_learning Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 7:49pm
post #3 of 14

Ugh - if it's fat from the cookie is there anything I can do to prevent the discoloration? It really looks horrible!

Thanks!

luv2bake6 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 2:16am
post #4 of 14

Can you try a different cookie recipe?

antonia74 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 12:40pm
post #5 of 14

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-655553-ratio.html
http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-20383-patches.html


Check for your answer in these thread. thumbs_up.gif



It's a problem that has been asked on CC by members in the past. It could be a number of issues:


1) did you use a large amount of food colouring? Dark colour? Too much and it can crystallize/have dark patches. (For those dark/intense colours you need to tint, use Americolor. It's much more concentrated than other brands like Wilton & CakeCraft.)

2) did you use too much water to thin out the icing? A high concentration/ratio of water/colouring can also cause this.

3) did you allow the icing to mix properly, esp. after thinning it with water?

4) is the area where the cookies are drying humid? unevenly heated/cooling?

5) did a drop of oil/butter/fats get into your icing while it mixed? Were your paddle/bowl/piping bags/tips completely clean and oil-free before you began?

dailey Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 4:19pm
post #6 of 14

i personally do not believe it has anything to do with the fat in the cookie.

antonia's list is great...follow those rules and you will not continue to have the problem. : )

still_learning Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 4:35pm
post #7 of 14

Thank you all for your replies! I just noticed that the RI is actually separating in the piping bags so that takes the cookie out of the equation. Antonia74 - from your list I'm most worried that I don't mix the RI enough since I used Americolor and even the base white icing is separating. My recipe for RI is just egg whites and PS and even the stuff I haven't thinned for flooding is having problems so that leaves humidity and mixing. How long do you recommend mixing before using? I used to live in CA and don't remember this ever being a problem so humidity could be an issue but there is a chance I've also gotten lazy and have started mixing the RI less, as well. Thanks, again, for all the advice!!!

antonia74 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 4:56pm
post #8 of 14

I recommend (see my tutorial link below in my signature) 10 minutes for mixing at slowest speed with the paddle attachment when you first make the icing, then it needs about 6-8 minutes if you need to re-mix it at a later date.

Absolutely, humidity does affects both the fluidity of royal icing AND the drying time. Sometimes the air is so humid in the summer months that I hardly have to thin the thick icing out with water at the end when using it to flood cookies! It can also change my drying time for larger iced cookies from the usual 16-18 or so in normal weather to 24-30 hours in humid weather! To fix that, I try to only do cookies in the cooler evening hours and then I run a dehumidifier in that room until the cookies are dried and ready to package. Just keep an eye on it when you're mixing a batch in the mixer and judge accordingly whether you need to add a few drops of water OR a few more spoonfuls of icing sugar. In really humid areas, it's best to work in a lightly air-conditioned room if you can, even when drying....or just give items extra hours to dry more solidly.

I like to advise making your icing the evening before you'll be using it. Mix it, thin it/tint it as necessary, remove the mixing bowl from the mixer, dampen a tea-towel and wring out as much water as possible from it, drape it over the top of the bowl (but not touching the surface of the icing), take a plastic shopping bag and cover the entire thing tightly. Leave it on your counter overnight. When you're ready to start the next day, your icing will be as smooth as glass. NO air bubbles.

Just to make sure though, you're not storing your icing in piping bags and trying to use them a day or so later....are you? icon_confused.gif That's a no-no....and I'd be even more concerned about royal icing made with egg whites being left out a humid climate too. Kind of a breeding ground, no? Meringue powder is probably a better idea for you.

Thinned royal icing will separate into three distinct layers when left to sit for an extended period....in your case, it seems to happening a little faster than usual. It will occur when stored in piping bags or containers.
The top layer will be fluffy/spongy/marshmallowy, the middle is a pale yellow runny liquid and the bottom is thick/dense/solid. The separation process will start within 24 hours or so. It just needs to be re-mixed. About 6-8 minutes with the beater/paddle attachment of the mixer and it's good to go again. Add a few tsp of water or a few tsp of icing sugar to adjust the thinness/thickness again if need be.

still_learning Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:21pm
post #9 of 14

OK - clearly I'm clueless because, yes, I've left the RI in bags and tried to use the next day. Now I'm embarrassed icon_surprised.gif Even more so because I'm not sure why that's bad! Is that dangerous - now I'm scared icon_eek.gif I can see that the plastic disposable bags could be a problem for icing consistency but I really, really hope it isn't dangerous!

The recipe I use is from the Joy of Cooking. The egg whites are cooked in the microwave until at least 160°F (not more than 175°F). They say this is a safeguard against salmonella bacteria and that the icing can be stored for 3 days in a covered container. I assumed that their recommendation on safety was pretty good. I live on the East Coast in PA now. We have a couple feet of snow on the ground so I guess there's been a bit of humidity in the air icon_wink.gif

Because I microwave my egg whites I don't use my KA because I need a glass bowl for the microwave. I guess I could transfer to the KA bowl after they are cooked. I would have thought to use the whisk attachment, though. See what I know!

antonia74 Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 1:07am
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by still_learning

OK - clearly I'm clueless because, yes, I've left the RI in bags and tried to use the next day. Now I'm embarrassed icon_surprised.gif Even more so because I'm not sure why that's bad! Is that dangerous - now I'm scared icon_eek.gif I can see that the plastic disposable bags could be a problem for icing consistency but I really, really hope it isn't dangerous!

The recipe I use is from the Joy of Cooking. The egg whites are cooked in the microwave until at least 160°F (not more than 175°F). They say this is a safeguard against salmonella bacteria and that the icing can be stored for 3 days in a covered container. I assumed that their recommendation on safety was pretty good. I live on the East Coast in PA now. We have a couple feet of snow on the ground so I guess there's been a bit of humidity in the air icon_wink.gif

Because I microwave my egg whites I don't use my KA because I need a glass bowl for the microwave. I guess I could transfer to the KA bowl after they are cooked. I would have thought to use the whisk attachment, though. See what I know!




I've never heard of a royal icing recipe that warms the egg whites in the microwave, that's pretty cool! (Usually people just use them straight from the shell.) I'm sure if Joy of Cooking says it's okay, then it's okay! thumbs_up.gif

If wasn't so much that it is "dangerous" to store the icing in the piping bags overnight, it's the point that the icing begins to separate into the solids/fluids that I describe above. Oftentimes, when you go to pipe the next day, you'll find that some of your icing is streaky/clear liquid instead of nice, uniform royal icing that's freshly made.

Ever had that happen? Sound as if you have and that's part of the problem.

mrsc808 Posted 20 Feb 2010 , 6:18pm
post #11 of 14

I noticed that I had some discolored spots on my white RI after I took the frosted cookie out of the freezer. I hadn't added white to the RI, it just plain. Do you think adding white would help?

Sorry for hijacking your post. I just saw Antonia in here so I thought I'd ask. Mahalo!

***Edited to say that I mixed this batch of RI by hand in a glass bowl w/a whisk.***

johnson6ofus Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 3:40am
post #12 of 14

wow Antonia---- learned a lot---thanks....

bonniebakes Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 10:27pm
post #13 of 14

I have had times when this happens to me, especially with plain white RI (Antonina74's recipe), where I think it is related to the fat int eh cookie.

I have found that if I let the cookies stay too long on the parchment after baking, or don't let them cool long enough on the wire racks before stacking and putting them away in air-tight containers, they are more "greasy" feeling and that is when I get blotches in the icing.

luv2bake6 Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 10:59pm
post #14 of 14

That is sooo interesting! Thanks for sharing.

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