February 21, 2008

What is Glycerine? Why do I need it for frosting?

I've been baking and decorating cookies for well, almost forever, LOL, and once I started to use royal icing I would sometimes see references to something called Glycerine that always stated I could add a few drops... optional.

This was before the internet was available and since I didn't know what it was, had no way of knowing where to buy it, and didn't know what it was for, I simply chose to ignore it. Which, in the end is perfectly fine. But a few years ago I was finally able to quickly and easily look it up online and it became easier to purchase as well - no longer a special trip to the drug store pharmacy... it is now being sold in any cake/cookie decorating aisle or even at the craft stores.

For the long drawn out explanation of what glycerine is I've included a clickable link on the word above which not only explains the chemical compound and comes complete with the chemical diagrams, but also makes you say "hmmmm" when you read that this product is not only used in edible foods, but can be a suppository, used in mouth washes, makeup, hand creams and well, a host of other things. A little scary so I choose not to dwell on that.

Instead - let me simply say that if you like to decorate with royal icing (the icing that is made from egg white, confectioner's sugar, water and extract) and your recipe calls for optional use of glycerine, it will aid in the frosting staying a little more supple, having a little gloss to it's normally matte finish and perhaps the best thing - it won't crust over as quickly when you are using it. (You have to keep royal icing covered at all times when using because it dries so quickly). Glycerine is much like clear corn syrup in texture and even taste. It's cheap to buy, adds a quality to your frosting, and can be found anywhere from Walmart to Michaels, etc. so in the end, picking some up and adding 1/2 t or so to your royal icing is a pretty good idea.

Available from Amazon as well;

Wilton Glycerin, 2 Ounces
 Wilton Glycerine-2 Ounces

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