Thursday, October 17, 2013

Let's Weigh In!

You know, 'cause the holidays are coming up and we want to be sure we eat lots of veggies and aren't overdoing it with all those yummy treats!  Just kidding... I don't think you'll ever see me mentioning my weight on my blog for all the world to see! (not to mention any before-and-after pictures!)

I'm talking about ingredients - powdered sugar to be exact.  As many of you know, my Royal Glaze recipe calls for 2# of powered sugar, which has been a no-weigh no-brainer for me since Domino pure cane 10X powdered sugar comes in 2# bags.  Easy.  And has been a no-brainer, until about a month ago.  When I had a really, really runny batch of it. I NEVER have issues with this icing (ok, once a few years ago but I was still a newbie decorator & still developing the recipe, so I'll never really know what went wrong that day...). I have made TONS of this icing, and it has always been a dream to use.  Some who have tried it have said they don't think it came out right - I always assumed it was the meniscus issue - above the line, below the line (when measuring the water the meniscus is that curve of liquid at the top - I always let the bottom of the meniscus lay on the bottom of the measurement line).  Until about a month ago.  When I had about 20 dozen cookies needing to be iced.  I nearly freaked out, I tell ya!  I thought it was my new mixer - which made me sad, 'cause I really really love my new 7qt Pro Line KA... and making a double batch of icing seemed surreal and totally exciting...

Anyhoo... after working through my runny icing it came time to make another batch.  I have been starting to weigh ingredients for my cookie dough since I can make triple batches with my new mixer, and who wants to sit and measure 12 cups of anything when weighing is so quick and consistent!  Which made me last batch of icing was definitely NOT consistent with all previous batches, so just for giggles, why not weigh my powdered sugar?  (Even though it comes in 2# bags... )  To my surprise, that 2# bag of powdered sugar did NOT weigh 2# at all - it only weighed 31 1/2 oz!  And the bag itself weighs 3/8 ounce, so there was only about 31 1/8 ounces of sugar - that 7/8 ounce deficit is the equivalent of about 1/4 cup!  Which would result in (drumroll please...) runny icing!   (And on that double batch of icing I made, would have been a whopping 1/2 cup's worth!)

I was flabbergasted (to put it nicely)!  Since we were moving and I was aware that our only close store does not carry Domino powdered sugar, I stocked up before the move.  I had 6 bags on hand, and I weighed them all. Not one of them weighed 2#.  They ranged anywhere from 31.125 oz to 2# 2oz /34 oz (which would result in thick icing) - not acceptable, so I placed a call to Domino.  I told them my findings - gave them the weight of each bag, as well as the production codes from each bag so they could research.  I was told that I would be sent coupons to replace the 6 bags, as well as receive a follow-up call from quality control.  I wanted to know, what should I really expect from a 2# bag of sugar?  I would think, well, 2# of sugar!  But, I wanted to hear it from them.

A week went by and I received coupons to replace 4 of the bags - not sure why they shorted me, but I wasn't calling them for free product, I just wanted to know the scoop.  I use a LOT of this stuff, and NEED it to be consistent.  Another week went by, and I still hadn't received any phone call.  So I called back, and got a canned "I'm so sorry for your inconvenience - I will note the file and have someone call you back..." blah, blah, blah...   Here we are, a month later, and I have not heard a peep from them.  I assume that means either a) they think I'm a nutcase or b) they are as baffled as me.  I'm hoping they are re-calibrating all of their scales so that the next bag I buy actually has 2# of sugar in it!

In the meantime there are several solutions.  One of them NOT being switching my brand of sugar, because I really do prefer it for my icing.  But, if I want a slightly runny batch of icing (like if I'm going to do a lot of wet-on-wet designs, or large cookies needing a lot of flooding) I can use the bags that weigh less.  When I want a slightly thicker icing (say, for a lot of detail work) I can use the bags that weigh more.  OR I can just weigh the sugar again and add or subtract enough from my baking-bucket to make 2#.  It's a lot easier than trying to guess how much more/less water to use.

(Or you can use plunger cutters & go un-iced if you get frustrated or want to save some calories - see veggies above : )

I also no longer wonder why so many people can get so many different results with the same recipe.  And am glad to know that it isn't necessarily "user-error" (being that I thought I must have qualified for that club on more than a few occasions... : )

In the spirit of all of this madness, I was wondering - do you all weigh your powdered sugar?  Or use the 1# box or 2# bag?  If not, give it a try - does it weigh what it should?  Leave a comment and I will  SHARE MY SUGAR with you!  I will be giving away 3 of my coupons via random draw from your comments on Tuesday morning, so leave your comments by Monday 10/21.

Happy Baking!  (Or weighing!)