Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Testing Egg-Free Hard-Drying Cookie Icing

A friend posted a recipe link to an "easy," hard-drying icing similar to this over the holidays, and I was intrigued. Would cookie icing made without egg whites or meringue powder really dry hard? Could it be as useful as royal icing, and this easy to make? I had to try it myself to see. But I was skeptical, so it took me a few months.

What You Need:
2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp. milk (or water)
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tsp. clear vanilla flavoring
Food coloring 

In a small bowl, use a fork to combine sugar, 3 Tbsp. milk, corn syrup and vanilla.
It will probably be more like a ball of icing before it settles. I needed closer to 4 Tbsp. of liquid each time, but it's always better to start out with the 3 Tbsp., and add more milk 1/2 tsp. at a time.

For the icing to "flood" the cookies, you want the icing to "melt back in" within a slow count of 12-15.

That means that you drop a dollop into the bowl of icing, and start counting. The photo above is when I'm at 1.

This photo is what the same drop of icing then looked like when I got to about 13. (This is a s-l-o-w count. Not like when you tell your kids to count to 20 while they wash their hands. Slow. Aim for seconds.)

I then pour this icing in to a zip top sandwich baggie.

*Note: Let the icing set for a couple of minutes after you add that first round of milk. I found that mine tended to get thinner after a minute or two of resting. Not hugely so, but enough that you may be able to take out some of the liquid. (Maybe then leading to better drying... I'll talk more about that in a second.)

Then I just decorated with the icing as I normally would royal icing, with the exception of having a good outline... which is what I need to work on with this icing before I can render my final opinion.

You can see in the photo that the cookie(s) I outlined, using the same icing and bag just have a funny look to them because the outline is so thick and wonky.
However, the un-outlined one overflowed its banks in two places.
I don't love either one. But they're not terrible.

To write, I halved the recipe, and used just 1 Tbsp. of water. It was still a little too thin, and not white enough to see very well. The writing/outline consistency, I think, would be the downside to this icing.

As for the 'hard-drying' claim... they do "dry," but it's not quite as hard as royal icing. The icing remains a little tacky for a few days. I was able to stack them with parchment paper between the layers of cookies, and they didn't get deformed much. But they just didn't dry or hold up quite as well as the royal icing does.

That said, my husband said he preferred the taste of this icing to the royal icing.I'm on the fence about it. I need to have a side by side comparison.

So, this was my first attempt with the glaze-type of hard-drying icing. I need to do some more tweaking, and hope to update this post when I try it again. (And I'll repost with changes, of course.) But I think it is a good alternative, especially if you have an egg allergy in your house.

Click the Links Below to See:
Royal Icing Recipe
Vanilla Sugar Recipe
Other Cookie Decorating Ideas and Projects

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