The Cracked Glaze Royal Icing Technique

This “cracked glaze” technique is something that I thought of a while back when I accidentally stuck my finger in icing that was dry on the surface, but still wet underneath. The cracked pattern that resulted from my clumsy move reminded me of those antique pottery pieces with very fine cracks in the glaze. A few months later, I was playing around with ways to recreate that effect. The project changed quite a bit from what I thought it would be originally, as you’ll see in this tutorial.
Scroll down to the bottom of this post for troubleshooting tips.
Cracked Glaze
These cookies involve a lot of decoration and, depending on the type of “glaze” you are using (more on that in the video below), they are not ideal for shipping. I created this design with the idea of an elaborate display cookie, rather than something you’d eat. I think they would be best arranged on a pretty platter and used as a display on a dessert table surrounded by mini cookies and other sweets, or as a centerpiece for an Easter or Mother’s Day brunch.
These are the tools you’ll need for this project. As you’ll see in this video tutorial, I started out with a cookie that was iced in flood consistency royal icing and allowed to dry overnight. Visit my Tutorial Shop for a video with full instructions on flooding with royal icing.
You’ll also need a scribe tool, a soft round brush and an angled brush, both of which come in this Wilton 3 piece Decorator Brush Set.
Cracked Glaze (3)
 
Watch this video for a demonstration on achieving the “cracked glaze” effect. 
Any dark shade of petal dust will work for this method. I am using CK products petal dust in mushroom, but you could try these FDA approved dusts from NY Cake. I also tried using pearl dust, but it wasn’t fine enough to get into those small scratches in the surface of the icing.
You can also add floral details under the glaze by first using the wet-on-wet technique, and then doing the cracked glaze after the icing dries. Read this post for a tutorial on making tiny roses in royal icing using the wet-on-wet technique.
Cracked Glaze
 Once you’ve finished glazing your cookies, paint the exposed edge of the cookie with a mixture of gold pearl dust and alcohol. Read my post on painting with gold pearl dust to learn more about that. The roses shown here were piped using a petal tip 104 a day in advance and allowed to dry overnight. There is a video with full instructions on piping roses and leaves available in my Tutorial Shop. The colors I used for the roses and leaves are from the Wilton Garden Tone 4-Piece Colors Set, but you can create these colors on your own by adding a touch of brown or black to your pinks, blues and greens.
Cracked Glaze (8)
Pipe a mound of stiff consistency icing where your roses will be placed. I’m using a leaf tip 352, but only because it’s convenient, since I’ll be piping leaves later.
Cracked Glaze (9)
Press the roses into the mound of icing.
Cracked Glaze (11)
Cracked Glaze (12)
 Add leaves using the leaf tip 352.
Cracked Glaze (14)
I also added a little gold paint to the edges of the roses.
Allow the icing to dry about 6-8 hours before handling the cookies.

Cracked Glaze

Troubleshooting
If the dust seems to only stick to the surface of the icing and not in the cracks, it could be because your icing is porous. In order to prevent this, make sure that you have your cookies drying in front of a fan after you ice them. The faster your icing dries, the smoother the surface will be. If the weather is hot and humid, this will cause the icing to dry slowly and you’ll have a dull, porous surface. Read my post on royal icing consistencies and troubleshooting tips for more information about this.
If your dust won’t brush off and leaves stains on your icing, it is probably because of the same issue mentioned above, but it could also be because you touched the surface of the icing with your fingers and the dust is sticking to those spots where there is a residue of oil leftover. To prevent this, only touch the edges of the cookie when handling it. 
If the dust is still not getting into the cracks, it could be because your dust is too coarse or because the cracks are not deep enough. Make sure to press hard when scratching the surface of the icing with the scribe tool.
Keep in mind that the dust will color the surface of the icing no matter what. It’s kind of impossible to keep the surface white if you’re using the cracked glaze technique. This cookie started out almost white and then turned beige after I dusted it. 

Cracked Glaze

Shipping glazed cookies
A few months ago, I made some cookies using a similar technique and shipped them to see what would happen. Even though the glaze was dry to the touch, once the cellophane bag touched it, it got stuck. The cookies that had raised decorations that kept the cellophane bag from touching the glazed surface arrived intact. So, if you’ll be shipping these, make sure to place the roses or other decorations in such a way as to keep the bag lifted up off of the surface of the cookie. Read this post for more information on packaging cookies.
Click on the images below for more cookie decorating tutorials.    SweetAmbs Monogram (7) Cookie-box6 Vintage-Wedding-20 Banner-728x90-resized
 

63 thoughts on “The Cracked Glaze Royal Icing Technique

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    • Yes, Wilton dusts are okay to eat. Other brands that I like to use are Crystal Colors from sugarpaste.com as well as the FDA approved dusts from NYCake.com.

    • Hi Bella. I’m a potter and the scribe tool that she uses is the same that potters use. You can buy them at any potter’s supply or ceramic supply store and sometimes even at craft stores. I have even seen them in pottery kits at Hobby Lobby.

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