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about to cry.. my RI didn't dry in time, what did I do wrong

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Feeling like a huge failure at the moment. I mostly do cakes but have somewhat recently started doing decorated sugar cookies which I think are so fun. Anyway, I had an order for some baby shower cookies, onesies and baby cop faces (for the baby's dad who's a cop). I baked the cookies on thursday and flooded yesterday morning, all were flooded by about 11 am. The light blue onesies dried fine but the baby faces weren't drying and I was starting to get concerned last night when I noticed. I did the finishing touches on them and hoped they would be dry this morning and my emergency plan was to go get a heat gun if they weren't dry. Sure enough when I got up they were still not dry so I got the heat gun and spent 15-20 minutes going over them with the gun, about 4-6 inches away from the cookies. It seemed like they were drying, so I started packing the onesie cookies. I started on the baby faces and they were still tacky & sticking to the bags!! My customer will be here any minute to pick them up and I seriously want to cry. I will offer a refund that she feels is appropriate.
I have only had this happen once before and those cookies sat for 2 days and were still not dry. Can anyone help? Should I have flooded on thursday? Was there too much water in the icing? The blue icing for the onesies was a bit thicker. Why didn't the heat gun work?
I am afraid to take any more cookie orders until I figure out why this happened!
post #2 of 11
sorry that happened to you. Maybe it's your recipe? which one did you use? did you use different type of color ie-liquid vs gel for the ones that dry vs the ones that didn't?
post #3 of 11
I do hand-iced cookies a lot. I find when that happens that either I've added too much color in proportion to the icing base (not likely for your situation, unless the baby was dark-skinned) OR a gremlin has been in my kitchen in the form of oil/fat. The slightest bit of fat in your royal icing - from your hands, the bowl or spoon, anywhere - will cause it to delay or prevent drying. I had a set that took a week to dry once, and crackled the finish to boot.

I have become paranoid about wiping everything that comes in contact with my icing tools (many of which I keep solely for icing) with a vinegar-water solution and letting air-dry. And I wash my hands constantly, just in case there's butter on the bottom of the baking sheet or something, in an effort to keep that gremlin in the box!

I'm very sorry you've had to deal with this. Take heart, next time will be different.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
thank you, that is very helpful! I wonder if it is the dark color, as the ones I did before that didn't dry were black and the police hat on the baby for these ones were navy blue and black. but the flesh-tone face didn't dry either.
the icing was also more runny compared to the blue onesies that did dry.
but I didn't know about the grease issue, I will definitely be extra-careful about that!
the lady sent someone else to pick up the cookies so I emailed her offering a partial refund, waiting to hear back! hopefully it wasn't as bad as I thought, we'll see.
post #5 of 11
Use real egg white to make the icing. It will dry fast enough.

For very dark colours, you can use powdered food colour to prevent adding more moisture.

Finally when doing dark colours, use a heat lamp for the first hour to get a good crust. The cookie will help set the back side of the icing but the front may need a boost at the beginning to dry.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
thanks for the tips BakingIrene! being new to the cookie world, I appreciate all the tips & realize I have a lot to learn! amazingly, unbelievably, my customer emailed me back later today and said the cookies were a hit and everyone loved them! they were absolutely a disaster in my mind...
post #7 of 11
Two notes: I always use meringue powder (Henry & Henry, usually) rather than fresh whites. It avoids the whole salmonella issue. (Although that actually is very rare.) Also, one challenge with a heat lamp or gun is if your cookies are relatively soft, it can soften the cookie again and bring oils (butter) to the surface that cause spots.

I forgot to mention the one thing I do every time that I'm convinced helps: use a fan. I have a box fan attached to my bun pan rack that I run constantly when I'm making cookies. It helps the icing dry faster, and here in humid NC I need all the help I can get.
post #8 of 11
Sounds like all went well and you already got some good advice. I'd also recommend a fan, just having one on in the room can help and/or having a smaller one pointed directly at the cookies that need help drying. it seems from other's experience that humidity can make a huge difference. So if you know you are going to have some humid days when you are doing cookies, plan extra time.
I've actually learned these tips from the opposite happening-them drying too quickly. I live in a dry state and the one time I had the overhead fan on while making cookies, the icing was drying and getting funky as I was still working on the cookies! haha!
post #9 of 11
You can also put your iced cookies in the oven on low (I preheat my oven to the lowest temp, which is 170F for me) then turn off the oven and leave them for 15 mins. This can be a life saver. I had cookies unexpectedly be still soft after leaving overnight due to high humidity. It had never happened to me before. It's a nightmare, and had me stressed about the next batch made! You can also use the oven trick when you are in a hurry, but I prefer to let them sit out for a while to dry first, then put them in. A fan can help too, but when humidity is high, it can really mess things up!
post #10 of 11
Are you sure that there was no oil in the flavorings you used and that there was no oil on any of the utensils or bowls that you used? I made this mistake once and my icing never set completely.

Also, one trick that I've heard to help drying it to set the cookies in the oven with just the light on.

Glad to hear that your customer was happy!
post #11 of 11
Sounds like you may have used an oil based flavoring in the RI. That's what happened to e when I was first starting out.
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