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How to tint red royal icing and how to avoid problems with red royal icing cookies


Valentine's Day cookies, Valentines cookies, Valentines decorated cookies, How to tint red royal icing, , why red royal icing bleeds, why my red cookies have spots after drying, how to prevent royal icing from bleeding?, red royal icing tips, red royal icing 101
 
If you have been making decorated cookies for a while now, you may know the feeling when someone asks for "RED" cookies. It is a weird feeling, a mix of uncertainty and challenge at least in my own opinion. 


After several trials and errors, I came with the solution on how to stabilize a red royal icing! 


How to tint red royal icing, , why red royal icing bleeds, why my red cookies have spots after drying, how to prevent royal icing from bleeding?, red royal icing tips, red royal icing 101


Uncertainty because red tinted royal icing is so unpredictable and challenging because you want to try again and again looking for the stars to align so that this time you will have a red bright beautiful cookie!


How to tint red royal icing, , why red royal icing bleeds, why my red cookies have spots after drying, how to prevent royal icing from bleeding?, red royal icing tips, red royal icing 101

After several trials and errors, I came with the solution on how to stabilize a red royal icing! 

Food gel colors are usually made synthetically, but now a days you can also find "all natural " food gel color that are made with flowers, mineral and plant extracts. Yet most of the food gel colors are made using different dyes that have been approved by the FDA and these dyes have certain properties that might be affected by several factors that in a regular kitchen are hard to identify. 


How to tint red royal icing, , why red royal icing bleeds, why my red cookies have spots after drying, how to prevent royal icing from bleeding?, red royal icing tips, red royal icing 101

One of the more unstable colorants are the ones that are used to make the red food gel color, such as Red No.40 and Yellow Nos. 5 and 6. They contain an azo linkage, which are two double bonded nitrogen that can potentially be broken in the presence of ascorbic acid (contained in the lemon juice), causing the color to fade or bleed. 

I normally add few drops of lemon juice to my royal icing so this can be one reason. 


How to tint red royal icing, , why red royal icing bleeds, why my red cookies have spots after drying, how to prevent royal icing from bleeding?, red royal icing tips, red royal icing 101


When you add water to the royal icing to make it more fluid or diluted you are going to change the overall pH of the royal icing that will probably lead to color bleed on the icing. At certain pH levels, some dyes degrade or shift to a different less stable color.

Also I think that humidity in general has a negative effect, if the mix is too fluid or if there is too much humidity in the air can affect the stability of the red royal icing.


How to tint red royal icing, , why red royal icing bleeds, why my red cookies have spots after drying, how to prevent royal icing from bleeding?, red royal icing tips, red royal icing 101


That is why I like to use the magic consistency icing where only a few water droplets are added and I decorate my cookies a day where I am not going to be cooking a broth of boiling water for pasta. 


How to tint red royal icing, , why red royal icing bleeds, why my red cookies have spots after drying, how to prevent royal icing from bleeding?, red royal icing tips, red royal icing 101

There are some other factors that can cause the bleeding or color change of red tinted royal icing besides pH and humidity:  Heat, Red No. 40 breaks down under prolonged exposure to heat; Red No. 3 and turmeric are susceptible to light, iron in water can reduce colorants like Red No. 40 and Yellow Nos. 5 and 6.

Even the presence of microbes in certain situations can reduce Red No. 40 pH resulting in color loss.


How to tint red royal icing, , why red royal icing bleeds, why my red cookies have spots after drying, how to prevent royal icing from bleeding?, red royal icing tips, red royal icing 101


But less science and more practical recommendations. 


To tint red royal icing, I start by making the consistency I will need and mix it very well, then I add some drops of any pink food gel color (these shades have more stable dyes that are not affected by pH changes) and finally I add some drops of red food gel color and mix thoroughly. I have seen better results when I cover the cookies when the cookie is slightly warm. 

I hope that this information will make you more confident when you make red cookies, particularly now that Valentine's Day is approaching! 


How to tint red royal icing, , why red royal icing bleeds, why my red cookies have spots after drying, how to prevent royal icing from bleeding?, red royal icing tips, red royal icing 101

Some of the information I found can be accessed through the following link:  HERE


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