Royal Icing Problem

Baking By Concept Updated 8 Jan 2011 , 12:58am by cheatize

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Concept Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 12:17am
post #1 of 5

Hi! Forgive a question for my first post...

I decorate gingerbread with royal icing. I haven't been doing it that long, but I hadn't really had any problems with it until just before Christmas.

I had lots of biscuits to do for a craft fair, and also for my Gran's 95th birthday - and all of a sudden my icing started going funny. It seems to go really blotchy - it looks like it's completely dried out, and looks most unattractive - even though it actually tastes completely fine!

I did a couple of these in a lovely dark purple colour - but the purple was the first colour to 'go', but lots of other colours 'went' too - including the white in places. These photos were taken quite early though - so lots of them are still OK. You can see the dark purple in the 2nd photo - and the horrible purple in the top photo. Almost every colour dried badly in the end. The stocking shows it really clearly.

I use a ready made royal icing powder (Silver Spoon - I'm based in the UK), and Sugarflair colouring paste (this might be UK only?).


I've been trying to figure out what the problem is. I haven't changed anything in the recipe, or the process. The only thing that's changed is that it was really cold before Christmas - and my house isn't warm!! Could this have affected them?

Any help would be gratefully received! I have loads of decorations to do over the next couple of months, and can't afford for them to look like this!

Thank you!

4 replies
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cheatize Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 3:04am
post #2 of 5

Perhaps the icing is separating or the coloring wasn't mixed in thoroughly. I've had that happen to me before and it was because it needed mixed again.

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njusaguy Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 3:42am
post #3 of 5

I had some left over royal-iced cookies that I stored temporarily in the refrigerator. Same thing happened, so I'm wondering if you are right in that it was the cold temperature.

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Concept Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 8:21pm
post #4 of 5

Thank you both!

I'm hoping that really is all it is.

I've made a load of new cookies this afternoon, so we'll see what happens to them - it's nowhere near as cold now.

@Cheatize - why does royal icing separate?... or more importantly, what should I be doing to make sure it never does?!

I'm entirely self taught, and have very few people around me to fire my endless questions at!

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cheatize Posted 8 Jan 2011 , 12:58am
post #5 of 5

Hmm, good question for which I have no real answer. I'm sure it's something scientific. Doesn't pretty much anything that's liquid or semi-liquid separate eventually? If I had to guess (and please know that I stink at science), I would say that it happens because it's a suspension. In other words, it's not completely dissolved so that everything becomes one. It's suspended in there. I'm probably completely off-base, though. All I know for sure is that it does. If I leave it overnight, I have to mix it again the next morning. To a much lesser extent, even my buttercream does this. If I let it sit overnight, I give it a quick stir before I use it again.

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