Sunday, 26 August 2012

Humidity and Royal Icing

I'm feeling quite nervous about the approach of Spring...
Until a few years ago I loved misty, rainy weather (books, DVD's and hot chocolate...bliss); but that was BC (before children), and also before cookies!
Royal icing and humidity just are not happy companions.

Last week it felt as if we were living in a cloud - mist billowed in through open doorways and windows, and everything was damp and soggy...including my biscuits! Sob!
I started doubting myself - bad cookie dough? oil in the royal icing? But it was really just the weather.

Let me show you:

Ladybird cookie iced in 100% humidity

See how dull the icing is? The dots were meant to be raised, but even after 30 minutes the base layer hadn't dried and the black dots still sunk into the yellow.  There is no "textural" interest to the cookie, just flat and d-u-l-l!

This one I did on Saturday  - hot, hot, hot day and a wonderful dry 'Berg wind (or rather gale) blowing

The outline dried within minutes, so it stayed well defined; and the spots were nicely raised on the flooded background without having to wait a day for that to dry.  
And it is beautifully glossy.  

This butterfly was drying so quickly that it was hardly wet-on-wet technique. By the time I finished, the  second layer details weren't flowing in at all.   

And small details like eyes and noses (do caterpillars have noses? or eyebrows??) stayed beautifully 

So what to do in high humidity? 
You can try:
Put your cookies in an airconditioned room and use a de-humidifier if you have one.  
Use a fan to blow air across their surface (I tried that, but it was just circulating damp air...) 
Use a heat-lamp. 
Bake cupcakes instead. 
Move to the Kalahari.  

I might seriously consider the last option come Spring rains.

Happy baking, while it lasts!


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