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icing expereiment - royal vs glace

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
As some of you know, I've been curious about using glace on cookies for a while now because I see such wonderful cookie creatiosn by some of you who use glace and I've been exclusively a royal icng user on my cookies. So, this week I conducted an experiment to compare glace icing and royal icing. During the experiment, I tried to control for things that might affect the outcome, such as the amount/types of coloring, extract, mixing process, piping process, set time, etc.

The recipes I used were glace (GI) icing from GeminiRJ and royal (RI) icing (my modified version of Antonia74s RI recipe, replacing about ¼ of the water with corn syrup). If anyone wants more specifics about the recipes, Id be happy to share. thank you Susan and Helen for sharing your recipes!!!!

I attempted to compare the consistency, the usability, appearance, ingredients, drying time/hardness and pack-ability, taste, and pitfalls (specifically air bubbles, splotchiness, bleeding, and craters).

Remember, this was my first time using glace, and Im sure there is a learning curve. But, heres what I found

Consistency:
  the consistencies are very different between the 2 types of icing - .the GI was much, much thicker than the RI
  although GI was thicker, it has a lower count until it is reabsorbed
  GI more runny/flowed more into itself
  I used one consistency of each type of icing for everything (outline and flood) however, the counts for re-absorption were not the same between the 2 types of icing.


Usability:
  both RI and GI worked well for getting close to edges
  GI held its place better on the outline. Didnt move as much when pushed by next line of icing (not sure I liked that for all purposes)
  GI took much more effort to pipe
  RI worked better for holding its shape in designs (like the bites on the watermelon)
  The GI was pretty think; Im not sure Id be able to pipe it out if I had made it much thicker, so I dont think it has the flexibility of use to be able to pipe shapes that will hold their shape or have texture.



Appearance (color, shine) :
  Colors are different, even with the same coloring amounts used
  GI is more translucent, so it seems more glossy (and feels slightly glossier when dry), but I dont think its really shinier. I specifically compared the pinks on the watermelons - they seemed no different after 24 hours in terms of shine, but GI had a glossier, more translucent appearance
  Both shiny when wet
  Both less shiny when dry
  GI great for a more translucent effect (like membranes on limes or glass)
  I really liked that the colors and appearance were different, even using the same ratios of icing to coloring. It gives me many more choices for the future.


Ingredient comparison:
  the batch of RI is bigger (enough for me to do between ½ and a full batch of NFSC cookies, depending on the colors and details needed)
  GI is a simple ration, that can be made in small or large batches as desired
  GI had no meringue powder or cream of tartar
  GI has more corn syrup


drying time, hardness and pack-ability :
  GI took more time to crust over, so it was more forgiving when you needed to fix something, pop bubbles, do wet-on-wet, etc.
  GI slightly longer to dry (after 4 hours RI dry to touch, but GI still tacky), but by 24 hours both dry enough to bag or stack
  I dont have any reason to think that the GI covered cookies will fair less well during shipping, but I kept a few of each aside and will experiment with a mock shipping experience later this week.


taste:

  personally I find icing of any kind too sweet and I dont ever eat the cookies I make once they are iced. But, I did a taste test and didnt think there was a noticeable difference between the two.
  I had several people do blind taste tests comparing the two both on and off of a plain cookie. Though there was some preference (nothing significant) there was no clear winner and most people could NOT tell the difference between the two, they just randomly chose one.



pitfalls (specifically air bubbles, splotchiness, bleeding, and craters).

  Splotchiness: I had no problems with blotchiness, even when comparing white icing (both with and without the brite white added) in either RI or GI. IT has been cool for June here (in the 70s) the last few days. It rained all day today, so the air is a bit humid (Im in Maryland), but the house is a comfortable temperature
  Air bubbles: I didnt have much problem with air bubbles in either RI or GI - no noticeable difference between the two. I let my icings rest overnight after adding the color to them, which helps I think. It was easier to see the air bubbles (when wet) in the RI than in the GI. One important note in my pink GI the air bubbles I did have seem to look like small white spots when the icing is completely dry.
  Bleeding: I did some wet on wet and some side by side colors and had no problem with color bleeding with RI or GI. I used black RI on pink RI and pink GI with no noticeable difference between the two. It was easier to do the wet-on-wet with the GI base, though (I think because it has a longer time until it crusted, so I had more time to do the wet-on-wet and have it meld). I also had no trouble with darker colors and white in either RI or GI or a combination of the two. I think the consistency and letting the colors set overnight really help with that a lot.
  Craters: I had crater issues only with RI during this experiment, but to be honest, I think its because those particular colors were too thin a user error, Im afraid, and one I sort of expected.



All in all, Im glad I did the experiment, because I think I will certainly have times when I want to use glace instead of royal because of a final appearance that I want to achieve. But, the Glace was so much harder to pipe, that Ill probably stick with my Royal recipe 95% of the time.

Thanks for putting up with my rambling, long-winded results!! I hope this information is helpful to someone!!
post #2 of 51
Thread Starter 
I forgot to add some comparison pictures to the post... here they are.... in all pictures the coloring/icing ratio is exactly the same. GI is on the left and RI is on the right.
LL
LL
LL
post #3 of 51
Wow, those are some HUGE details there, awesome! It sounds like for all your hard work, you kind of learned that the two icings are pretty fairly matched for workability and results? Would that be an accurate assumption? The cookies you made look fantastic, but I have some specific questions.

Looking at the sun cookies for example (absolutely adorable by the way) did you use the SAME colors in the two different types of icing, or just the same AMOUNTS of the colors you used? Obviously the colors are very different and I was curious if the two types of icings took the same color THAT much differently, or if you had actually used different colors, perhaps in an effort to be able to tell them apart in case you moved the bowls, etc. I like the vibrant color difference in the RI... the lighter yellow sun with the significantly darker details.

Thank you for including pictures to really illustrate the efforts. It's nice to see them side by side, but again, would love to know about my question above. Great work!
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post #4 of 51
Wow, great info. I used glace once and didnt like it. It was really thick and harder for me to pipe. I always use antonia's ri but so many people use glace I keep wondering if I should give it another try. All in all I'm very happy with the ri
post #5 of 51
I just realized the difference in the colors might just be because the RI is a 'whiter' base... is that the case? Thank again!
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post #6 of 51
I used to use royal all the time, but now use Toba's glace. Glace is more translucent, so I always add some whitener to it. That could have something to do with your color difference.

I don't think one is harder to pipe than the other, so maybe that is a consistancy issue. Not sure what you mean by that. Harder to control, or push out of the bag?

I do think that glace is more loose, but I make one consistancy for all the work, then just use a smaller tip (smaller than I would use for royal) to do the details.

I think like anything it takes practice working with it. For me the upside is the taste, but the downside is the drying time. 6 of one, half dozen of another.
post #7 of 51
Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this experiment! I couldn't decide which icing to use for my daughter's cookies. I think I will be going with the RI. But there are some points that I like about the GI, like how it doesn't separate if stored for couple days and you can easily make big or small batches. Hmmm... which one to use?? Ok, maybe I still haven't decided...
Thanks again for taking the time to do the experiment and posting this!!
post #8 of 51
Bonnie, so great of you to do this comparison! Which icing to use is such a personal preference. I love the ease of mixing the icing that I get with glace, as well as the ability to play with the amounts to match my project. The RI is way ahead in the ability to pipe shapes....like shells and such. You've given everyone some wonderful information with this thread!
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The pessimist complains about the wind;
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post #9 of 51
Thread Starter 
Melvira -- the color difference is, I think, because of the ration of glace to water in the recipes. I used the same weight of mixed icing of each kind and colored it with the same amounts of the same colors of coloring. The color difference was one of the things that surprised me the most, actually.

If I added brite white to the glace, I added the same amount to the royal (to the same amount of icing). If I didn't add white to the glace, when I made the same color of royal, I also didn't add the white.

Yes, I would say that the icings are fairly well matched in a lot of ways related to workability and results. Only the slight differences in ability to pipe details and have them stay "stiff" and the color differences (translucency) would really make me choose one over the other for certain projects.


luvbakin -- I meant that at the consistencies that I used - thick enough that it didn't fall off the edges of the cookies, and thin enough that I could still flood with it - it took more pressure to get the glace out of the bag than the royal.
post #10 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeminiRJ

Bonnie, so great of you to do this comparison! Which icing to use is such a personal preference. I love the ease of mixing the icing that I get with glace, as well as the ability to play with the amounts to match my project. The RI is way ahead in the ability to pipe shapes....like shells and such. You've given everyone some wonderful information with this thread!



Thanks! I hope people can use the information! It was a fun experiment and I do think it's totally a matter of preference. Actually, my results weren't what I expected. I thought I'd really prefer the flavor of the glace and significantly prefer the workability of the royal... but that wasn't really the case at all.
post #11 of 51
Thank you Bonniebakes. That is quite a shocking difference in colors! You'd have never guessed they came from the same bottle! But I agree that I can see a benefit to both variation depending on the look you're trying to acheive. Excellent!
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Melvira: Mistress of the dark... chocolate!

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post #12 of 51
Where do I find a good GI recipe? On another note, is there anything I can use on cookies that tastes more like a cookie frosting then what royal icing tastes like?
post #13 of 51
So in ALL those photos the Glace is on the left and the Royal is on the right??? I would have thought the royal would have appeared darker in color than the Glace.......VERY interesting!!
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post #14 of 51
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Melvira! I'm glad I could contribute something helpful to others, especially since I've gotten so much help her eon CC!

KHalstead - yes, I would have thought the same thing. And yes, in each of those pictures the glace covered cookie in on the left and the royal is on the right.

tanyad68 - I know that Toba Garrett has a glace recipe (I believe it's in the recipe section here). I used the glace recipe that was generously provided by GeminiRJ. The ration is 1 cup powdered sugar : 1 tablespoon water or milk : 1 tablespoon corn syrup (and flavoring and 5 drops of brite white if desired). Also, I think that Karen of Karenscookies.net uses a butter cream icing on her cookies. I haven't tried it yet, but her creations look amazing!

On another note - I didn't for this particular experiment, because I wanted to control extraneous factors that might effect the results, but most of the time I flavor my icing when I make cookies. I use natural flavorings from Spices Etc. and I can achieve a wide variety of yummy flavors for the icing! Thanks to TracyLH for reminding me that the company exists and has natural flavorings! I always use their clear vanilla, and I really like their amaretto, cherry, raspberry, pumpkin spice, caramel, and toffee. yum!
post #15 of 51
Thank you so much, bonnie, for sharing your experiment.
My favorite thing about using glace is that i can make a big batch and store it in the fridge for quite some time. That way, i can go to it for larger or smaller jobs and just put away the rest. It stays well in squeeze bottles and decorating bags as well. When i was using RI, i often had to either remix or throw it away.
I also like the feel of the cookie once the icing has dried (it's quite smooth), as well as the softness when biting into the cookie.
The negative thing about the icing is what you already said, it's hard to pipe formed shapes or borders which i like to do with ei's.

I'm a little conflicted right now because people are saying that the icing on my cookies is too sweet (i use gemini's recipe but triple it). I happen to have a terrible sweet tooth so i love it, however i can see why some would say this and i need to figure out what to do in order to make it less sweet. One thing i have tried is making thicker cookies so the icing won't overpower much but it doesn't seem to help. Would love some ideas from you experts. Thanks so much.
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