Hey Besties! Today we’re focusing on solutions to a common question in our cookie decorating world. I’ve been asked so many times, “How to make shiny royal icing?” We all want perfect, shiny cookies with that smooth finish! And for some, this can be really elusive and hard to achieve! But today I’m sharing my top 3 hacks for increasing that shine! I used this super cute squeaky clean bathtub cookie set to demonstrate the difference that these solutions can make! Let’s jump in!
Before I do anything else, I want to give credit for this adorable bathtub cookie cutter and inspiration for the design! This cutter can be found on Etsy, HERE! HollyFoxDesign’s cookie cutter shop has SO many adorable cookie cutters!!! I have several in my cart and I also love that there is free shipping when you spend $35 (as of the time of this writing)! I highly encourage you to check out their shop!
So, I have a bubble bath-loving friend and I thought these would be the perfect special gift for her! They are simple to make and have so much character! I just adore how they turned out!
Let’s Talk Shine!
We all know that having that smooth, shiny finish has a way of elevating your cookies to look really professional. There is also something about the feel of the finish that is so much more appealing and appetizing when it’s shiny, compared to rough.
To give you a couple visuals, look at the cookie on the left compared to the right, below.
Let me start out by saying capturing shine on camera is not easy! But it’s very obvious here that the cookie on the left has a much more matte surface. It’s also rough and slightly grainy to the touch. In comparison, the cookie on the right is perfectly smooth and shiny. You can even tell the difference in the sheen on the tub bubbles.
Here is another example!
Again, the two cookies on the left are dull, matte and rough to the touch. The cookies on the right are smooth, shiny and have a nice sheen to them.
There are three things that are critical to achieving shiny royal icing! First, meringue powders are not all created equal. If you are using a cheaper meringue powder, it will affect the finish of your cookies and even your colors. A high-quality meringue powder will help give rich, full color and finish to your cookies. I use Genie’s Dream for all my cookie decorating. It is not the cheapest but it’s also not the most expensive either. I’ve tried several brands and Genie’s Dream has never failed me…plus the flavor is exceptional too.
Second tip! Corn syrup helps give shine and also a soft-bite to your icing. Without corn syrup, your royal icing can be as hard as a rock, and no one wants to chip a tooth on a cookie. I use 1 Tablespoon of Karo Light Corn Syrup in my icing recipe. I’ve seen some cookiers use more but this ratio works well for me. Too much corn syrup and your icing may not dry as well. If you need a good royal icing recipe, THIS is my daily go-to.
The third and final tip to achieve shiny royal icing is airflow, specifically warm air flow, while your cookies are drying. I achieve this using a dehydrator and use it for every single cookie I make. Some cookiers use a simple table fan blowing over their cookies while they are drying and have success with that. I love using my dehydrator since it also locks in puffy icing, avoids cratering and saves me a great deal of time, all while achieving that shine! Let’s take another look at this picture. The cookie on the right was quick set in the dehydrator and the cookie on the left was air dried. We’ve already compared the sheen and finish, but also look at the bubbles on the tub. The ones on the right cookie are much puffier compared to the left.
If you’re interested in learning more the advantages of using a dehydrator in quick setting your royal icing and the model I love, THIS post breaks it all down.
Let’s Get Shiny!
So, there you have it; my top 3 tips for achieving shiny royal icing to set your cookies apart from the rest! Maybe you already do some of these things but maybe there’s an easy tweak you could make to improve your cookies! And hey, if you have any other tips, don’t hold out on us, Bestie, spill the tea!
If found this post all about making shiny royal icing helpful, make sure you’re subscribed to receive our weekly newsletter! Never miss out on a new technique, recipe, product recommendation or Featured Baker! Happy Baking, Besties!
Sign up to receive my newsletter!