Choosing the right method for drying royal icing can save you a lot of time and make a huge difference in the appearance and taste of your cookies. Royal icing needs to be dried quickly, how can you do it? You can dry royal icing at room temperature, but you can expedite the drying process by placing the decorated cookies under a heating lamp or in an oven with just the lamp on – but be careful when you accelerate the drying process. Here are some clever techniques to quickly dry royal icing decorated goods, along with how it is used and how it usually sets.
What Is Royal Icing?
Regular sugary icing differs very little from royal icing. Icing is a mixture of powdered sugar and warm water, which melts the ice crystals in the sugar and rearranges them into matrices, resulting in a hardened layer of icing when it is dried. Sugar, water, and egg whites are used to make royal icing, which is also made with a combination of sugar and water. To make all kinds of designs, egg whites play a pivotal role in producing a slightly grainier, but firmer, and lighter icing mixture.
It is possible to create multiple layers of icing without disturbing the layer underneath. The mixture sets so well that it can be used to create intricate designs on cookies or other baked goods.
The result is that you can create fun designs based on animals, structures, and other colorful, complex shapes. If you choose to make your own royal icing, you can mix different colors to suit your needs. If you prefer convenience, you could also purchase a commercial mix, like the following one.
Check out this video from Preppy Kitchen for some festive tips on making royal icing:
How Long Does Royal Icing Take to Dry?
It may take up to a day for royal icing to dry at room temperature.
Due to the fact that royal icing contains water but is heavily aerated, this variance is simply due to environmental factors like ambient temperature, humidity, sunlight exposure, and wind.
During high speed mixing of royal icing, egg whites become saturated with air, which allows the egg whites to create stiff peaks that can even stand straight up.
The trapped air bubbles disperse the water over a larger surface area, making the icing airier and less moist – and also more susceptible to small changes in ambient temperature.
In this case, you can literally tip the balance by tweaking some environmental factors to speed up the drying time of royal icing.
How To Speed Up The Process
Royal icing on baked goods is affected by humidity. If you live in a very humid area, your batch of icing may take longer to dry.
The cookies might seem to dry faster if you keep them in an airtight jar, but you would be wrong!
The trapped humidity inside an airtight jar will make the cookies soggy when drying royal icing.
The ambient temperature and the wind play a major role in the successful drying of royal icing.
There are a variety of factors that influence the temperature in a room, including where you live and the time of day.
By definition, room temperature ranges from 68-72°F. This ambient temperature, coupled with wind, can greatly reduce the drying time of royal icing.
When the decorated goods are kept at room temperature with low humidity and a light breeze, the drying time can be reduced to about 2-3 hours.
Additionally, an increase in either factor can also amplify this effect, but be aware that wet royal icing is extremely pliable before it sets, so additional wind or an increase in temperature may adversely affect your artwork.
Methods To Dry Royal Icing
When it comes to drying royal icing, you can use the following methods:
The oven drying method
Method of using a dehumidifier
Method of heating lamps
Method of pedestal fans
Oven Drying Method
2 – 4 hours for drying
To set royal icing quickly, turn on the oven lamp only to pre-heat the oven.
In the cooking chamber, the lamp maintains a temperature between 70-72°F with a low-wattage output.
A cooking thermometer is recommended to measure the ambient temperature inside the oven. To cool the oven, open the door enough to allow cool air from outside to circulate inside.
3 – 5 hours for drying
If you use a dehumidifier regularly to remove excess moisture from the air, this method works great.
With the dehumidifier, the royal icing will be able to set without spreading, and without taking a long time to set.
When the humidity in the room has reached the desired level, start the dehumidifier and leave the baked goods outside with the icing on while the dehumidifier is running.
The icing will not only set faster, but it will also retain minute details – an extremely useful feature for artisanal bakers.
Heating Lamp Method
1 – 2 hours for drying
Drying royal icing using a heat lamp is one of the fastest ways to set royal icing or at least partially set it so you can start on the next layer of icing.
You will only need a tungsten bulb and an adjustable stand to get started. We recommend getting a bulb with a wattage of at least 150-200W for the best results.
The bulb should be mounted on an adjustable lamp, and the decorated items should be kept away from the heat source.
Using an accurate thermometer is important because you need to know how much heat the icing gets.
By keeping the icing near the bulb, not only will it spread, but the cookies will also become excessively dry!
Cookies should be kept just above room temperature, so a temperature of 75-80°F is ideal.
Pedestal Fan Method
The drying time is between 1 and 3 hours
A pedestal fan is an ingenious way to dry out royal icing on cookies. This method works best for baked goods that have a large iced surface.
By creating an insulating layer, the icing dries on top but traps moisture underneath and keeps the cookie fresh.
You don’t want strong winds to move the wet icing on top and ruin your designs, so use a small pedestal fan that can generate enough air.
In humid climates, use this method with a dehumidifier for best results.
Place the decorated goods away from the pedestal fan so that they are constantly bombarded by the dry wind.
How To Tell When The Icing Has Dried
Whatever method you use to dry royal icing, you will notice some consistent characteristics. If the icing has dried fully or superficially, it will usually become grainier and less shiny, which is a great visual indication. Use a toothpick or cookie scribe to gently tap the top and sides of the icing to check whether it has firmed up and dried. If you feel resistance near the tip, then the icing is done.
Using the right methods, you can dry royal icing in a few hours rather than a full day. Here are some related questions:
Can you dry royal icing in the fridge?
You should dry royal icing at room temperature or by using one of the methods above.
If you store and attempt to dry the icing in the fridge, all it will do is trap more moisture, making it runnier and ruining all your hard work – not to mention the cookie may become soggy.
Can you dry royal icing in the sun?
It is not recommended to expose royal icing to direct sunlight since it will increase its temperature and melt. Keep the icing in a cool, dry location with indirect sunlight to prevent it from overdrying and ruining the cookie’s texture.