Why does my royal icing pit or crater? I see this question so often. You’ve spent 3 days painstakingly decorating your sugar cookies to find little craters or pits in your beautiful design. This often leads to cussing and/or tears very quickly. There are ways to keep this from happening! Here are a few of my tips!
- Use a thicker consistency royal icing. I quit having any craters when I quit using really thin royal icing.
- Run your toothpick or scribe through the royal icing. Even if you’ve only piped a dot, stick the scribe or toothpick into it.
- Pop any and all bubbles! Trapped air will definitely cause pitting in your royal icing. As the royal dries, that air will escape and leave that horrible gap behind.
- Don’t let your flood fully dry before adding details! If you let the flood (base coat of royal) completely dry before adding the details it will cause cratering much easier. What happens is that the fully dried royal pulls moisture from the new detailed piping and makes it crater. This will also cause the detail color to bleed into the flood color and that is no fun!
- Once your cookies have been flooded, don’t move them! Of course, if you need to move the pan to a different location, thats fine. But be careful and don’t lean them in any direction. This can cause cracking as well as craters.
- Make sure you have an even coat of royal icing. When you’re piping your royal icing, make sure you’re applying an even coat. I outline and flood with one consistency. I start by outlining, and then go right into flooding. I continuously follow the line around the shape of the cookie until I make it to the middle. Use your toothpick or scribe to fill in any small gaps and pop any bubbles. Give the cookie a little shake then look at it from an angle. If you see any dips, add more royal, run your scribe or toothpick through it to smooth. Check the cookie again. You should see a smooth shiny surface. That’s it!
- Practice, practice, practice! Don’t give up and always ask questions! We all started somewhere and no one is perfect!
The picture below shows some slight cratering. This was because the royal icing wasn’t evenly distributed. I tend to pipe my border thick and then start to not keep the same pressure on my bag while piping the remainder of the cookie. Like I said, it takes practice, but slight indentures like these don’t bother me. By the time the cookie is fully decorated, you can’t even notice them anymore. 😉