Thursday, February 21, 2013

Glaze icing / freezing decorated sugar cookies

When I see decorated sugar cookies in a bakery for $3 or $4 each, I think they are totally worth it. Anyone who has made them knows that they take forever and ever to make...multiple steps over a couple of days using lots of space.  But they make really great little special occasion treats so if you can figure out the timing to get them done, they can really add to the theme of a party.

I use the glaze icing recipe below rather than royal icing on decorated sugar cookies; the color seems to stay more vibrant and I think royal icing can get very flat and brittle. I love the way the glaze looks.

I knew I could bake the cookies ahead of time and freeze them, but couldn't find any information on freezing them after they've been decorated with glaze icing (royal icing, yes, but not glaze)...that would be a game changer.  The decorating can take a couple of hours for two dozen cookies.  But more problematic is the drying order for the icing to dry properly, the cookies have to sit out in a single layer for at least 24 hours.  This always results in taking up every single inch of available counter space and me shrieking at anyone walking in that general direction to stay out of the kitchen.  If I could freeze them already decorated, I would be able to make them when it works for my schedule rather than trying to adjust my schedule around the cookie prep.  

I had some extra, not-so-great-looking cookies left from the baby shower a couple of weeks ago so I decided to see what would happen to the icing if I froze them in the bags, packaged up to give as party favors.

 The original cookie prep - drying on the kitchen counter.

Here is what the cookies looked like out of the freezer:

Yuck.  See the line of splotchy color through the middle of the cookie?  This will happen if there is water improperly incorporated into the icing - it sort of comes back up to the surface later on.  So it's probably condensation/water spots from the thawing process.  Maybe next time I should try thawing them outside of the bags so the water won't be trapped.  ?

For now, I will just need to keep changing my schedule to work around the needs of the cookie decorating - freezing ahead isn't going to work.

Sugar cookie glaze icing

  • 2 pounds (I bag) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp clear vanilla extract (if it's not the clear extract, it will mess up your color.  I promise.)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients on the lowest setting until incorporated.  Start with 1/4 cup water and add up to 1/2 cup to get the desired consistency - humidity/time of year matters and you won't always need the same amount.  

This recipe makes a lot of icing - I separate the large batch into tupperware containers to add color and thin out as necessary.

Don't mix on high or over-beat; it will introduce extra bubbles into your icing and that will be problematic later on.  

Cookies will need at least 24 hours to dry, sometimes longer depending on humidity.  

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