Thursday, February 14, 2013

Royal Icing or Glaze Icing?

Happy Valentine's Day!

I've been swamped making dozens of these conversation heart cookies. One of my friends asked for a glaze type icing instead of royal icing. The rest of the cookies I made were done with royal icing. This was the first time I had done an actual side-by-side comparison of the two. So I thought I'd break down a few of my pros and cons for each. I've had my issues with royal icing in the past but we have learned to play nice with each other. (lots of practice helps!) Glaze icing is super simple to make and for the novice decorator, can be a little less frustrating than royal icing. Both are great options for making cute delicious cookies.

Pros for glaze icing:
1. you can make a huge batch of icing in about 2 minutes with just a bowl and a spoon
2. it's easy to get the right flooding consistency.
3. it stays really shiny when dry
4. doesn't dry hard, like royal icing, but hard enough to stack and bag
1. the flooded cookies are more likely to overflow the outline
2. it's sticky, like really sticky, to work with
3. it doesn't work well for more intricate designs because it doesn't hold its shape well
4. lots of air bubbles unless it sits for a long time after mixing, even then lots of air bubbles.

Here is the glaze icing recipe I used for these cookies.

Glaze iced cookies: Shiny, but less perfect looking (writing is royal icing)

Pros for royal icing:
1. holds it's shape when piped
2. if you have the right consistency in the icing, it's easier than glaze to achieve a "perfect" looking cookie
3.It's very versatile, can be used to decorate cookies, on cakes, as glue for fondant pieces, thinned out to cover cake boards...
4. dries hard
1.I call it finicky, because you have to be very precise when you make it. Too little or too much of anything really changes the icing and how it looks when it's dry.
2. dries matte (which isn't always a con, I liked the less shiny look better for these heart cookies)
3. getting the right flood consistency can be tricky (again lots of practice)

Royal icing cookies
A couple of tips for royal icing that have helped me:

Finding the right recipe. This one from Antonia74 is amazing, if you follow her recipe exactly. This is the only way I make my royal icing now but if you have a recipe you like then stick with it.
Weigh your sugar, unless you can be certain that you can measure it exactly the same every time. This simple step has made all the difference for me when making royal icing.
Don't over-mix the icing. Don't mix at too high of a speed. This prevents cracking and really cuts down on air bubbles.

Mostly relax and have fun, it's just a cookie!

So there you have it, my take on royal icing verses glaze. Both are a great option for decorating cookies. What is your favorite icing for decorating cookies?? I'd love hear any tips you want to share as well!
Happy decorating!


bellini said...

What fun!!

grace said...

nice helpful post! i love the pretty pastels you used. :)

Lia@ Sugar &Snapshots said...

I have never tried glaze, I a just in love with the control that royal icing gives. Your cookies look so cute!

amy said...

I seen some where people mix part of cookie glaze and part of butter cream. And get a nice pipe able glaze or icing. But I can't find it now and they had a name for it also. Would like to find it and try it. If any one could help I would really appreciate it. thanks