"How can I get royal icing to dry shiny?"
When royal icing is wet, it's super shiny, glossy, and vibrant. So, when it dries to an almost matte finish, it can be disappointing.
Lately though, I've been trying a couple of new drying techniques. One is placing an oscillating fan near the table where the cookies are drying (thank you, Sweet Sugarbelle). The other is using a food dehydrator on the lowest setting (thank you, LilaLoa).
The difference was difficult to capture on camera until I glanced at the cookies backlit from the window.
Can you see the difference?
Again, if we were using the paint finish comparison, I'd say the fan and dehydrator cookies were somewhere between a satin and semi-gloss finish. Still not the glossy look, but definitely shinier.
Also, can you see that the air-dried icing dried darker than the other cookies?
I think the fan and dehydrator cookies dried with the icing a bit "poofier," too. (But, I may be making that up.)
The cookies dried with the fan and dehydrator don't differ much in the finish. As a matter of fact, I was having to really concentrate when taking the pictures to remember which was which. A couple of bonuses to the dehydrator...1. the cookies dry faster. 2. I feel more confident filling in a dark outline with light flood icing after an hour or so in the dehydrator.
The cons to the dehydrator? Moving the cookies with wet icing onto the trays...and then off again if you are doing more decorating. I have smudged a few outlines transferring, and there's always that fear that you'll drop one. *knocks wood*
I use a little clip-on fan like this one. I love that it's small and I can toss it in a closet when I'm not drying cookies. I may even buy a few more for larger cookies quantities.
Tips for drying all cookies:
- place the iced cookies on cookie sheet and leave uncovered to dry,
- if it's warm outside, run the A/C,
- do not open the windows if at all humid, or if you've just run the sprinklers (just ask Mr. E),
- give the cookies a full 6-8 hours or overnight to dry,
- rotate the cookie sheets during drying (or have several fans for large projects),
- still allow 6-8 for drying, using the fan for at least the first 2 hours,
- place the temperature on the lowest setting,
- use caution when moving cookies from the cookie sheets to the dehydrator (this is the part I like the least about moving them),
- to lock in the shine, run the dehydrator for about 4 hours or so, then let them dry the remainder of the way without the machine running,
- the cookies will dry sooner, but to be on the safe side, I still allow a full 6-8 hours to dry completely.
If you want your royal icing to dry with more shine, use a fan or a dehydrator! Shiny or not, though, decorated cookies are always cute. ♥