How to Prevent Air Bubbles in Royal Icing

Posted on February 13th, 2010 in Decorated Cookies, Icing, Tutorials

I was going to just wish you a Happy Valentine’s but thought I’d turn this post into something helpful for you too. 

You may have noticed the air bubbles in these cookie pics already. 

My Sweetopia fairy cookies were a bit rushed… Because I was hurrying I ended up making a few blunders.  Check out the air bubbles in the icing above and below.

So, here’s how not to get these air bubbles in your icing when you’re decorating cookies.

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How to Prevent Air Bubbles in Royal Icing

1.  When you’re making your royal icing, mix it on a very low speed so less air gets incorporated into it.

2.  Leave the icing sitting for a while until the air bubbles rise to the surface, where you can pop them by gently ‘stirring’ just a little before you add the icing to the piping bags.

3.  To ‘stir’ your icing use a rubber spatula or offset spatula and slowly smooth the icing or paddle the icing gently left to right.  Another way of explaining it; write the letter S over and over in your icing using the flat part of your spatula.

4.  When you’ve put your icing into your piping bag, massage the royal icing a bit before you twist the top end of the piping bag closed.  Press the icing in the bag upwards, starting from the tip and working your way up, pushing out the air bubbles as you go.   Then push it back down towards the piping tip.

5.  After you’ve finished applying the icing to the cookie, shake it gently left to right.

6.  If you notice any small air bubbles, pop them with a toothpick or pin right away.  If you don’t, the air bubble usually pops on it’s own and leaves a hole in your icing.  (As in pictures above).

7.  If your cookies isn’t too breakable, gently lift and tap it on your work surface.  This may help pop existing air bubbles you haven’t noticed.

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I tried filling in the hole, crater, or indentation; whatever you call what was left behind, but even just a few minutes after the icing had been piped, it was already too dry for the patching not to be noticeable.

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And just in case you’d like to see a basic step by step of how I decorated these cookies:

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Visual Step by Step – How Cookies Were Decorated

1.  Ice the base of each cookie with white royal icing and let dry for 24 hours.  Oops, didn’t get a pic of that!

2.  Outline the shape using a Kopykake projector.  (Or freehand if you’re that talented!)  Let dry for 24 hours to be safe (To prevent bleeding; especially if you’re decorating in a humid environment).

3.  Flood or fill in lines with desired icing colors.  Let dry for 24 hours so facial features don’t bleed.

4.  Add facial features.

Finished!

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Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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