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Just moved to Australia - Royal Icing won't harden!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I am originally from the Netherlands and have just moved to Australia (Queensland). Of course the climate here is much hotter and humid than in the Netherlands, and I'm wondering if that might affect the condition of my royal icing.. and whether the icing will EVER get hard????

So, last week I tried to decorate some cookies with royal icing. I tried my usual RI recipe (powdered sugar, meringue powder, water). I tried CSR pure icing sugar (100% cane sugar), and I also tried an icing mixture that had tapioca starch in it (Woolworths home brand). I used Americolor meringue powder as that's the only one I could find out here.

So, well, the icing turned out great (I thought), but now, 3 days later, the cookies are still not dry!!!! The top layer looks hard, but the underlying icing is still very soft! What could be the reason for this? Is it the hot, humid climate? Will the icing ever get dry/hard? I tried to make some 3D cookies as well (glueing cookies together with RI), but they just fall over, as the RI won't harden. Or am I perhaps using the wrong type of icing sugar or meringue powder?

Should I give up making RI cookies in this climate, or is there a way to make this work? Also, is it essential to use meringue powder? the Americolor is quite expensive, are there any cheaper substitutes? Hope someone can help. thanks!
post #2 of 11
Welcome to Queensland!

I'm not an expert by any means, but I know that royal icing is used widely here. We are experiencing particularly hot, humid weather at the moment, so that might be your problem, as you've said.
post #3 of 11
Welcome to Australia! I'm so sorry that your RI is a disaster at the moment, but as mcaulir said, we have been experiencing particularly humid weather and QLD is even more humid most of the time too. Your recipe sounds the same as the one I use (pure CSR icing sugar in the pink bag) don't use what we call "icing mixture" for RI as the icing will stay soft. I made 90 iced biscuits a couple of weeks ago here in Canberra and it was unseasonably humid so I dried my biscuits in the oven with just the light and the fan and the door ajar (no heat, the light is usually enough for a little heat) overnight and i find this works well as once they are dry they don't tend to soften again. The other issue too is that your biscuits may have been absorbing moisture as well which wasn't allowing the icing to dry. Again, a stint in the oven will help this. Another thing a lot of people do here with gumpaste to get it to dry is to buy a moisture absorber such as a "Closet Camel" from the supermarket and place it in a sealed container with their flowers etc, so that might be something elase to try. Hope I could help!
Sorry about the essay icon_biggrin.gif
Good luck!
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for your replies. I'll definitely give the oven tip a go!
post #5 of 11
try adding in a quarter - half tsp of cream of tarter icon_smile.gif helps it set nicely (I'm in South Africa, similar climate) icon_smile.gif
A down-to-earth South African who has a growing interest in fondant cakes...I've been bitten by the cake bug!
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A down-to-earth South African who has a growing interest in fondant cakes...I've been bitten by the cake bug!
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ah thanks for the cream of tartar suggestion, will definitely try that! Ok, so I'm ready to start again icon_smile.gif

Last time my cookies got soft after I decorated them. Should I put them in the oven with light and fan on after baking (and cooling off) for a while?

Or just put them in the oven with light and fan after decorating? I usually decorate them the day after baking.

I want to do a white base layer, then black outlining, and then fill-in with colours. So, there are 3 stages of decorating, and usually I wait 20-30 min. which is enough to add the next layer. Should I dry the cookies in the oven after each stage????? Or just apply the 3 layers, and then dry then in the oven. I did this last time, and the colours were dry enough to do this (no bleeding), but the icing itself never dried.

Thanks for your help!
post #7 of 11
Have you tried using a heat gun? I heard it helps with drying the RI faster.
I haven't tried it yet but I recently bought a heat gun online and am just waiting for it to arrive.
I also live in a very humid country (Philippines), that's why I purchased the heat gun.
If you don't have a heat gun, maybe aim a fan over the cookies?
post #8 of 11
Check this out, it is from sweet sugarbelle's blog, about using a fan to dry cookies. HTH

http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/blog/2011/04/my-1-fan-wfmw/
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ems81

Ah thanks for the cream of tartar suggestion, will definitely try that! Ok, so I'm ready to start again icon_smile.gif

Last time my cookies got soft after I decorated them. Should I put them in the oven with light and fan on after baking (and cooling off) for a while?

Or just put them in the oven with light and fan after decorating? I usually decorate them the day after baking.

I want to do a white base layer, then black outlining, and then fill-in with colours. So, there are 3 stages of decorating, and usually I wait 20-30 min. which is enough to add the next layer. Should I dry the cookies in the oven after each stage????? Or just apply the 3 layers, and then dry then in the oven. I did this last time, and the colours were dry enough to do this (no bleeding), but the icing itself never dried.

Thanks for your help!



My absolute first go-to on Cookie Decorating:

Sweetopia (also search for her on YouTube, she has lots of instructional videos)

10 tips when decorating cookies with RI

Cooking Making/Decorating Schedule - scroll to bottom of post

RI Consistency Made Easy

More tutorials!!

Hope this helps icon_smile.gif

Rebecca's link for SweetSugarBelle (some more tuts here) also helps, and there is also LilaLoa
A down-to-earth South African who has a growing interest in fondant cakes...I've been bitten by the cake bug!
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A down-to-earth South African who has a growing interest in fondant cakes...I've been bitten by the cake bug!
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I am very familiar with Sweetopia! Love her work. So, I tried sweetopia's royal icing recipe (with cream of tartar) and Peggy Porschen's cookie recipe. And it worked! Cookies did not get soft, and royal icing got hard!!!! I also used a fan, and let the cookies dry in the oven with just the light and fan on. Thanks everyone!
post #11 of 11
Yay! So happy you posted an update so we know all went well!
A down-to-earth South African who has a growing interest in fondant cakes...I've been bitten by the cake bug!
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A down-to-earth South African who has a growing interest in fondant cakes...I've been bitten by the cake bug!
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