I've started dabbling in cookie decorating with royal icing. Sources online make it look straightforward - get the right consistency, keep the icing covered, etc. I find in practice, however, it's not nearly as simple as they make it sound. The icing bowls develop crusting on the edges no matter how religiously or quickly I cover them, no matter how much I stir and it's never enough to just cover them. Even just stirring them creates little crusts at the top where the icing thins. Literally the only thing that seems to work is pressing saran wrap onto the surface to seal it, which is messy to take off and I have to replace it every time I color, load into the bags, anything.
I'm also wondering how people do the consistencies. Let's say I'm working with 3 colors. Each of the colors may be the background on one cookie, wet on wet detailing on another or raised decorations on others. Do people just make and bag each color in 2-3 different consistencies, and then have like 7-9 bags going all at once? Is there a sequencing aspect I'm missing here? It seems like on the internet the process is clean, organized, orderly and efficient and when I do it it's a chaotic mess. I feel like they're leaving out some important details on efficiency in their decorating tutorials. Looking for any tips anyone might have or if people could share a process that works for them.
I don't know of any secrets to avoid having multiple decorating bags going at once. I try to think of all the colors ahead of time and get all the bags ready so then it can go quickly. (I save some plain white for the color that I always forget about). I do keep the tips covered so the icing doesn't harden in the tips between uses and tightly rubber band the bags. It is a small investment, but worth having multiples of the tips you use commonly so you can have the various colors all ready to go. Also, Wilton sells handy little cap things for the tips. To keep the icing from drying out in the bowls, I use pyrex bowls of various sizes with tightly fitting lids. I fold over a paper towel a few times so it is several layers, but still larger than the top of the bowl, get it wet, and wring it out just to the point of not being drippy. Lay that over the bowl, then clamp the lid down on top of that. Rewet as necessary. It works great and the frosting doesn't crust at all. If you are in the middle of using the frosting, just hold the paper towel over the bowl with a rubber band and sprinkle he towel with water occasionally and don't bother with the lid until later. If your lid won't fit over the paper towels or you don't have one, place plastic wrap over the wet paper towels and hold it in place with a rubber band around the bowl. The icing will keep for hours, even a day or two (will need rewhipping) if you keep the towel wet. HTH
No matter how organized that I try to be, it always ends in a mess lol I cover my bowls with saran wrap in between and have never had an issue with crusting. I have used a wet paper towel, but I did that when I was leaving the icing over night. I also use tipless bags that I set in a cup that has a damp paper towel at the bottom to keep the crust from forming, and have found that I can use one consistency for all of my decorating, unless I'm doing writing. It definitely isn't as cute as the bloggers make it seem! Probably one of the reasons that I only do them on special occasions.