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Icing question

by Cheryl Wood
(Harrogate, UK)

Hello, I am just after some help regarding the icing for dog treats. I am icing dog biscuits with the yoghurt royal icing. I made one this morning and put it in a dark box, came back this afternoon and its cracked already. Are the biscuits too dry so absorbing the moisture out of the icing? How can I help this? Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks

Dog Treat Icing Expert:

I assume you are referring to the powdered royal icing from Fido's Frosting. I am aware of at least one other powdered icing available on the internet and I have received complaints about that product cracking. In my opinion, the formula of that other product is the cause of the cracks.

The royal icing from Fido's Frosting is made to be applied to a dry, crunchy, biscuit and left in the open air to dry before packaging. It sounds like one of two things is happening.

1) The icing is applied to freshly baked treats that usually are thick and appear dry right out of the oven. In a great many cases, these biscuits are not fully dry and need a day or two in open air to completely dry before icing them. You may also consider using a dehydrator to make sure the treats are well dried. Another option is to simply leave them in the oven when they are done, turn off the heat, but let the treats stay inside with the door closed for an hour as the oven cools. (Be sure to allow for baking times so that the oven is turned off in time so this extra cool down time will bee too much and the treats burn).

If icing is applied before the biscuits are 100% dry, the icing creates a solid, hard coating. This coating is not elastic like sugared coatings so it can develop a stress crack if the biscuit finishes drying after the icing has dried. This is because the biscuit contracts in size as it dries and the solid shell of icing does not contract, thus it develops a stress crack. I will assume this is what is happening.

2) The second possibility is you say you put it in a dark box once the icing was applied. The icing needs air to dry so it simply may not have been able to cure evenly as it was deprived of fresh air on all sides. Make sure it stays in full air and is completely dry before you put it away. Do not bake or refrigerate the icing as it will not help. It needs open air from all sides to dry. Once it is dry on a dry treat, it will not crack.

One other question you may be thinking about is how does this icing work on cakes that are made to be moist? Because cakes do not dry hard like biscuits do, they have elasticity and never create the types of pressures that can cause a stress crack.

A simple test is to use the icing on a store bought 100% dry treat or some other 100% hard, dry item. If the icing is allowed to dry in full open air and does not crack (and I am 100% confident that it won't) then you know it is the biscuit you applied it to that is causing the problem and the problem is that it was not 100% dry.

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Drying times
by: Tonya

HI! I use gluten free flour for my treats so how long does it take for the icing to dry? I see where you say this type of flour may take longer b/c it doesn't circulate but about how long do you think? Thank you!

cracked icing
by: Anonymous

You didnt answer the question. Why would it crack on a dummy cake? That is a cake that is fake as in no flour, gluten free or otherwise.

Dog Treat Icing Expert: It is not recommended to use Fido's Frosting on "dummy cakes" made of styrofoam. Instead, use white caulking to simulate the "cake icing". Works beautifully.

cracked dog icing
by: Anonymous

This is not 100% true. I iced a "dummy" cake which is made of styrofoam and it cracked. What would be the reason for this then?

Dog Treat Icing Expert: Gluten free dough is very dense and inhibits the circulation of air which is needed to dry Fido's Royal Icing completely as explained to Ellen below.

by: Ellen

Thanks for your response. Yes, mostly what I use is Brown Rice Flour.

Icing Cracking
by: Ellen

I also make dog treats and am having trouble. My treats dry for at least 12 hours in a dehydrator and don't have much moisture in them to start with. I have tried icing the treats after they have been stored in open, non- humid air and also have tried storing them in air tight containers. Either way after frosting and letting them air dry overnight, the icing has fissures. Is there something dog friendly to add to keep this from happening? I can't sell them looking like this. Thanks for your help.

Dog Treat Icing Expert: Hi Ellen. Thank you for your question. First issue: are you using gluten free dough? Gluten free dough is very hard and does not allow air to get through so it prevents the icing from drying completely all the way through. It dries from the outside in, forming a skin, and the very middle dries last which can cause cracking.

by: cheryl

Thank you for your response. Yes it is Fidos Frosting I am using. I did dry the biscuits out overnight in the oven, then iced in morning. I will try just leaving it out in open air to see if this helps. I am hoping this is where my problem lies. I have been putting them in a tin to dry as I assume it would be better with no light. Its been a massive learning curve for me and I am so glad your here to help me! Dont think I could have done it without you! Thanks again, Cheryl

Glad to help. I think you will be happy with the results.
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