In full disclosure, I am new to the cookie world... I began baking and decorating just a few months back, and maybe it was beginner's luck, because I've had zero issues- until now!  I'll spare you all of the royal icing drama of the past 48-hrs, and the only thing that I can find that is different, and may potentially be causing my icing to fail (repeatedly) is the bag of sugar being slightly different... I'm reaching, I know, LOL!  I only use Domino brand, and the 2lb bags always said, "10-X powdered pure cane sugar," the two new bags I purchased over the weekend, same Domino brand, now state, "10-X powdered pure cane sugar with cornstarch" on the label.  I know the other had a small amount of cornstarch, from what I've read, but now it's listed on the labeling... is this the "new" normal for the packaging and nothing has changed?  I just haven't seen the boxes or other bags specifically list, "with cornstarch" and now this is all I can find in my small town.  Thanks in advance, and if anyone knows right off the bat that this is me being crazy and really reaching (completely and totally possible!!) please let me know!! 

Original Post
Holly Stefaniak posted:

In full disclosure, I am new to the cookie world... I began baking and decorating just a few months back, and maybe it was beginner's luck, because I've had zero issues- until now!  I'll spare you all of the royal icing drama of the past 48-hrs, and the only thing that I can find that is different, and may potentially be causing my icing to fail (repeatedly) is the bag of sugar being slightly different... I'm reaching, I know, LOL!  I only use Domino brand, and the 2lb bags always said, "10-X powdered pure cane sugar," the two new bags I purchased over the weekend, same Domino brand, now state, "10-X powdered pure cane sugar with cornstarch" on the label.  I know the other had a small amount of cornstarch, from what I've read, but now it's listed on the labeling... is this the "new" normal for the packaging and nothing has changed?  I just haven't seen the boxes or other bags specifically list, "with cornstarch" and now this is all I can find in my small town.  Thanks in advance, and if anyone knows right off the bat that this is me being crazy and really reaching (completely and totally possible!!) please let me know!! 

I doubt the sugar has changed; powdered sugar here in the US customarily has cornstarch in it as a de-clumping agent (about 3% by weight). Even some of the different brands are actually processed by the same company - our powdered sugar article under the “Toolbox Talk” blog category covers all of this (and more!) in terrific detail. I routinely go between Domino and C&H with no trouble. Not knowing how your icing failed you, I can’t help troubleshoot much further. If you want to add more info about the nature of your trouble, perhaps more of us could help. Thanks!

The last several batches of icing I've made have been clumpy. Tiny little clumps perfectly sized for clogging tips. At first I thought it was brand (I had bought a couple bags from a different store than usual) but then I went back to my regular brand and same issue. I've never had this issue before.

The only other possible variable is the meringue powder. I'm using the same brand, but purchased my most recent powder in bulk. But it's fresher and less clumpy than the older stuff I was using, and I run it through a sieve anyway just in case. 

I haven't sifted powdered sugar for YEARS (haven't had a need to!) but that's my next step.

It's a powdered sugar conspiracy obviously.

Columbus Cookie Academy posted:

The last several batches of icing I've made have been clumpy. Tiny little clumps perfectly sized for clogging tips. At first I thought it was brand (I had bought a couple bags from a different store than usual) but then I went back to my regular brand and same issue. I've never had this issue before.

The only other possible variable is the meringue powder. I'm using the same brand, but purchased my most recent powder in bulk. But it's fresher and less clumpy than the older stuff I was using, and I run it through a sieve anyway just in case. 

I haven't sifted powdered sugar for YEARS (haven't had a need to!) but that's my next step.

It's a powdered sugar conspiracy obviously.

I've never had to sift my powdered sugar; it usually dissolves very fast in water anyway. My guess is it's a meringue powder issue, especially if you had the same trouble with two different brands of powdered sugar, and your sieve just isn't fine enough to catch the culprits.

The only time i sifted my meringue powder first the royal was a disaster.  I was having trouble with my royal icing stopping up my tip and it was the meringue powder.  I had used CK for years and suddenly it started misbehaving. I heard they changed manufacturers.  I changed to genies and I use her recipe.  All my problems went away.

Yes, as @Econlady said, CK has had some grit issues with both their meringue powder and royal icing mix. I submitted a complaint with bad batch numbers on latter to CK a while ago, and got a thank you, but no real followup. When it was bad a second time, I decided to stick with making my icing from scratch.

I am a glaze girl, so powdered sugar is my main ingredient. I had this same problem of clogging in my piping tips, and discovered that I have to press my powdered sugar through a fine sieve. I always find those hard granules in any brand of powdered sugar I buy. No problems using the 1mm piping tip any more- no more clogs. Coincidentally, I also discovered that you  cannot use store label powdered sugar, it has too much cornstarch, and crumbled when dry far too easily, especially when making buttercream. 

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