Monday, February 1, 2010

Troubleshooting . . . it is, part 3 of our F.A.Q.'s. Let me stress that...these tips work for me, but they are not necessarily the "proper" fixes. I know there are a few cookie experts who read the blog, so I'm hoping they'll chime in with their tips in the comments. (You know who you are!)

My royal icing is staying "tacky" even after several hours and overnight...any ideas?

My experience is that this is due to flood icing that is thinned too much. When flooding cookies, if the icing runs quickly to fill the entire cookie with having to be spread with a toothpick, it's too thin. Pour your icing back into the bowl, sift in some powdered sugar and let sit again for several minutes.

Why is my royal icing pitted looking and still wet?

Same answer as's happened to me before, too. I'm crying with you.

Help! My cookies dried overnight and now they have dark splotches all over them! know how humidity is so lovely for your hair? It's just the same with cookies. Close the windows, run the A/ whatever you can to make your cookie drying area humidity-free. The good news is, the splotches will normally spread across the entire cookie to darken the icing to a consistent color.

See that horse cookie in the collage above? This is also known as "the day I almost divorced my husband." I kid, I kid! BUT, he did open the windows in the room where the cookies were drying, right after the sprinklers had run outside. Take my advice...have a heart-to-heart with hubby about humidity.

Why do my cookies have white splotches on them?

When stirring in water to flood the cookies, be sure to fully incorporate the water. Those white splotches are water. Also, if you are using a squeeze bottle, make sure it is completely dry before adding your flood icing. If a drop of water is in your bottle, it will come out on your cookie. If you notice a drop of water, grab a paper towel, blot it out and re-coat the area with icing. It will smooth out.

Why is my royal icing full of bubbles?

Two hints here...stir in the water for flooding gently with a rubber spatula, not a mixer. Two: once the water is incorporated, cover with a damp dish towel and let sit several minutes. Most of the bubbles will rise to the surface. Stir gently again and you're good to go. Any other stray bubbles can be popped with a toothpick or a pin.

I've tried royal frosting once and it hurt my hands so bad I swore never to do it again.

Try filling your icing bags only 1/2 full. I know it sounds strange, but it makes such a difference!

Why does my red or black icing taste terrible?

My guess is that you are using the food coloring brand sold in craft/grocery stores. While this company does a lot of things and black food coloring are not those things. I strongly recommend AmeriColor Super Red and Super Black. You can find them here, in my Amazon shop, or in many online baking supply stores.

Why does my piped know...the outline...or maybe just some piping done on gingerbread men...well...why does it dry up and just fall off in little bits.

I think this is from overbeating. It's happened to me, too. Try to beat it until it's glossy and just coming to a stiff peak. Also, use the paddle attachment of your mixer. (Check the Royal Icing 102 post for more info.)

I can not write names or outline without the icing breaking.

This just takes practice...lots and lots of practice. Try getting used to your icing bag and printing on a plate or sheet of wax paper before going to your cookies. It's possible that your royal icing may be a little overbeaten. Check out the Royal Icing 102 post, too.

Why are my colors bleeding?

Well, that happens to me, too, sometimes. First, try to use AmeriColor food colorings. I had this problem a lot more when I used "the other guy's" food coloring. Second, when using a wet-on-wet technique for something like flat dots, let the base color sit for a few minutes before adding the dots. And sometimes, especially with the flat dots, it just happens. What helps me deal with it is to know that it WILL BE EATEN and there will be no evidence. People will just remember "cute cookie."

Please be sure to check out the previous two F.A.Q. installments...
  1. F.A.Q.'s
  2. Royal Icing 102, or 201, or whatever comes after 101
...I'll be updating these posts periodically with your questions.

{This post is also being linked to Works For Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.}

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