Icing Separating Really Quickly?!

Hi, all. I hope someone has advice for me that might spare me a ton of time and frustration.

This last batch of royal icing I made **really** liked to separate. I ice cookies with a combination of icing bullets in piping bags with couplers/tips, and an assortment of Sweet Sugarbelle squeeze bottles. The last batch of cookies I made had a palette of 12 colors, 6 of which had both outline consistency and flooding consistency. What I noticed was that, I would start mixing, thinning and bagging my colors, and by the time I got to the 4th or 5th colors, the earlier ones had already started to separate in the bottles AND in the bags. With the colors in the bottles, I at least had the ability to unscrew the top and stir it periodically (though I prefer not to have to, because every time I do, inevitably some crusted icing from the neck/seal of the bottle falls in with my icing, no matter how careful I am), but the icing in the piping bags would separate and get so unreliable that occasionally, even though I would get the icing flowing nicely on a paper towel before starting on my cookie, a giant blob of really wet icing would ooze out, ruining my border or detail. I had to empty my icing bags numerous times to stir it back to the consistency I wanted, and even after that, they would start separating once again before I was done reconstituting all my colors. What gives??

For added context, this was the first time I used organic powdered sugar, the first time I sifted it, the first time I mixed my meringue powder and warm water first before adding powdered sugar, the first time I used the whisk attachment, and the first time I mixed it all on high speed, as per LilaLoa's recipe. In the past, I'd combined my powdered sugar and meringue powders together dry, and then combined with warm water and clear vanilla in the mixer outfitted with a paddle, and came out with a much stiffer royal icing that gave me less trouble. But I'm a newbie to royal icing (Hi! December 2018 was my first go!) and so I'm trying different styles to see what works for me. This most recent batch came out much looser right off the mixer than any earlier batch, was really prone to separation, and had a ton of air bubbles once iced. And I mean, new air bubbles would creep up even as I was popping them.

On top of everything, it has been really rainy here lately.

Please share your expertise to help me troubleshoot which of the multitudes of factors led to my sub-par icing woes.

Gratefully,

-Sabrina

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