Ok, it’s not really that dramatic.
But it’s also not a fabulous, perfect tutorial with a happy ending either. Despite the fact that this is one technique that didn’t work out as well as I had hoped, I do want to share what I learned with you.
Painting corn syrup/vodka glaze onto a cookie iced with royal icing - to give it that shine!!
SweetAmbs captivated me with this technique a few years ago. I attempted it and failed miserably. It happens. Then Jill FCS showed us how to make ice cubes look like real ice cubes (mind blown!) – also using this glaze technique. After seeing some of the shiny Sugar Show entries at CookieCon 2014, I knew that I needed to figure out how this glossy concoction worked. I did have an opportunity to try it on my spa cookies, below, but on a very small scale. Melissa from Melissa Joy Fanciful Cookies posed the question to me about whether cookies with the corn syrup glaze dried hard enough to heat-seal in bags and ship. And this is my tale . . .
I made this list of things that I wanted to know about corn syrup/vodka glaze:
- What's the ideal ratio of corn syrup to vodka?
- Can clear extract be used in place of vodka?
- Can it be used over a food writer? paint? royal icing?
- Does it affect the taste?
- How long does it take to dry?
- And, Melissa's question: what about packaging and shipping?
All good questions, right?! Keep reading to see what I found out!
My set-up and supplies:
- Light corn syrup
- Vodka/clear extract
- Shot glass (or any container for mixing small quantities of liquid)
- Space heater
It’s a fairly easy technique. Mix together your corn syrup and vodka in the shot glass. Stir well! Paint on. Place in front of a space heater. Find something else to do because it’s going to be a while . . .
Just FYI: If your mixture is not stirred well or brushed on evenly, it’ll look blotchy. Blotchy can be fixed though by adding a second coat, so no worries.
Now to address the list of experiment questions.
Ideal ratio: I mixed numerous combinations. What I found worked best was a two-to-one ratio of corn syrup to vodka. This dilution helped the mixture go on smoothly, but it wasn’t so diluted that there was a lot of color bleeding.
Substitution of clear extract: Yes! If you live in a dry county like I do and vodka is hard to come by, use an extract! I did not notice any difference between the two, but make sure that it’s a clear extract.
Painting it over food writers/paint/royal icing details: As far as the food writers and paint go – no! Don’t do it. It's the stuff that nightmares are made of. Yikes!
As far as coating a cookie detailed with royal icing, yes, it works. I did find that there was a small amount of bleeding, especially since I was working on a cookie that was flooded with a dark color. I used a small, dry paintbrush to immediately remove any corn syrup that color had bled into – and it worked out fine.
Taste: I don’t think that corn syrup tastes like much of anything. If you are covering a large area or the entire cookie, I think that you’d notice a change in consistency of your icing. It ends up being a bit stickier . . .
Time to dry and packaging: Now here’s were we have the woeful portion of our tale today. And it’s because I don’t have a straight answer for you.
My story goes like this: I painted the glaze on my cookies. Allowed them to sit in front of the space heater for approximately two hours and then left them out to dry overnight. Ten hours later, still sticky to the touch. At that moment, I may or may not have panicked.
I want to pause for a moment and define “sticky”. When I pressed on the painted area with my finger, a slight indentation of my fingerprint remained. When I placed the cookie into a bag, the painted area left a slight smudge (for lack of a better word) on the inside of the bag. Could you hand the cookie to a child and not make a sticky mess? Absolutely. Could you hand-deliver these? Totally. Mail them?? Maybe??
Upon realizing that the corn syrup area was still sticky, I did what any rational scientist would do. Cry on the shoulder of her cookie friends. Experiment some more! Things that I tried that DID NOT work: brushing confectioners' sugar over the top, adding meringue powder to the corn syrup/vodka mixture, adding egg whites to the corn syrup/vodka mixture, substituting piping gel for the corn syrup, and using threatening words toward the cookies . . .
Now at 48 hours since applying the corn syrup/vodka glaze to my cookies, I have determined that this is probably as dry as they are ever going to get. Still slightly tacky. Growing stale and now covered in fingerprints.
Factors that may have affected the results: Every good experiment needs this section, right?
- Humidity. Always a good excuse.
- Painting large areas of the cookie. I have done this technique on small areas and it was much more manageable. Also on the spa cookie, the feet were added on top of the glazed area, prohibiting it from touching the bag.
- Adding a second coat. I wanted my cookie to look like a tile and I coated it accordingly.
- Maybe using a dehydrator would work??
Well, there you have it. A woeful tale. If you have any experience with this technique or suggestions, I’d love to hear! Let’s discuss!!
Email me or comment here about this topic or anything else you'd like to learn about! Thanks!
Kari Arroyo started decorating cookies in 2011 after deciding to take a break from nursing, and learned the ways of royal icing by reading tutorials and LOTS of trial and error. When she’s not decorating cookies, you can find her chasing after two busy boys! Check her out on Facebook or her site, and email her your cookie questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Kari Arroyo
Note: Dear Yankee Girl is a regular Cookie Connection blog feature, written by Kari Arroyo, which allows you to get all your critical cookie technique questions answered, Dear Abby-style! Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To catch up on all of Kari's past posts, click here.