Yep. You heard me right. Thought it was undissolved powder sugar? My investigation is that it’s your meringue powder and let me tell you why I think that.
Meringue powder has changed in the last, uh, thirty years I’ve been using it to make royal icing. For my recipe for royal icing, I’ve always used the hottest tap water I could muster and that always dissolved both the powdered sugar without sifting it and anything the meringue powder might have had in it. In the past few years, I began to notice my smaller decorating tips were getting clogged more often. It wasn’t a clump of sugar that was the offender. It was almost like a gelatinous piece of sand so I decided to put the meringue powder through a fine sieve to see if there was anything lurking in it I wasn’t aware of. Turns out there was!
The evidence –
What is it? I’m guessing it’s little granules of gelatin or something to stabilize the icing once its beaten so it won’t separate if it’s standing around for days. I find it in all brands. Top names as well as in bulk. So I sift it out and discard it and my icing is smooth without anything getting stuck in the decorating tips.
I suppose you could dissolve the meringue powder in a bit of hot water before adding it to the powdered sugar or as I’ve done for decades – make certain the water you add to the icing ingredients is very hot, but as I found out, this technique doesn’t seem to be cutting the mustard anymore, hence the pre-sifting of the meringue powder.
To expedite icing making for subsequent batches, I sift plenty of meringue powder and put it into another container to have on hand. Much quicker than doing it per batch.
Another little thing I love that makes my cookie decorating easier are these rubber bands from Wilton. Aren’t they groovy?
They keep all the icing in the bag so it doesn’t leak out which also prevents the leaked icing from getting all crusty in the top of the bag from laying around. I hate that. You could use a regular rubber band but these are easier to apply and take off when you need to refill the bag.
Also, when I take photos of my cookies I often place the finished cookies on top of the bands where it provides a barrier between the paper I’m shooting on and any grease the cookies might have. Keeps my paper backgrounds all shiny and new.
And speaking of background papers, I’m a big fan of rolls of wrapping paper. I love the colors at Paper Source. The pink and blue backgrounds above is theirs. I have to admit I have quite a collection. If you do buy rolls of paper at Paper Source, ask for a plastic sleeve to store it in. The staff is nice and I’m sure they’ll help you out.
Wishing you a well organized and productive day. I’m off to Fashion Island in Newport Beach. Shopping can be productive too, can’t it? 🙂
I’m smitten with Instagram since it’s a new toy for me and I’ve had fun connecting with you there. I’ll post some pics later. I promise no lunch shots. 🙂