Whether baking biscuits is your bread and butter – or just your jam – delivering that brilliant batch time and time again is probably your number one goal in the kitchen. While great cookie dough is no doubt important here, often it’s the icing that makes your cookies really shine – but great icing can be tricky to master.
Enter the food dehydrator.
These appliances, many available at low costs, are not just for making jerky. In fact, more and more businesses and DIY home bakers are using food dehydrators for cookie decorating.
Read on to see if a food dehydrator is just what your cookies are craving!
Why use a food dehydrator for cookies?
Well, why waste time waiting for icing to dry between steps in decorating?
Whether you’ve got orders to fill, a party to host or a competition to win (or you just like your cookies, which is perfectly acceptable), using a food dehydrator to dry biscuits means that you won’t have to wait long to tackle your next step in decorating.
For example, by the time you’ve flooded your second batch of cookies, your first batch will likely be ready for the next layer of icing. (Note that drying times will differ depending on the food dehydrator you use, but we’ll cover that later.)
Not only can food dehydrators help icing dry faster, they can also help to accomplish that icing we love best: shiny, vibrant in colour and crater-free.
As heated air from the food dehydrator dries icing at a quicker rate, it’s less prone to developing pesky craters or to colour bleeds. Royal icing will retain its shine when dried this way, too, making for better looking cookies.
But will a food dehydrator make my cookies dry?
The short answer here is it can. When cookies are left in a dehydrator for a very long time and/or in high temperatures, they can lose their moisture and change in texture. After all, the very purpose of a food dehydrator is to ‘dehydrate’ or dry out different kinds of food.
That said, it certainly doesn’t have to dry them out.
If you know your appliance well, follow the right instructions, and are open to testing different drying methods to see what suits your cookies best, then your food dehydrator should be nothing but beneficial to your decorating.
A general rule to begin with is to keep your dehydrator at its lowest temperature; most bakers swear by temperatures of around 35-40 degrees Celsius.
Then, test your cookies in the dehydrator for ten-minute periods. Generally, anywhere up to 2-3 hours in the food dehydrator will have no effect on your cookies’ taste or texture.
So, what’s the best dehydrator for cookie decorating?
When it comes to purchasing a food dehydrator, you’ll notice that they come in many different prices and styles.
Consider your output, as well as the points below, when deciding on the best dehydrator for cookies.
What to look for:
- Does the dehydrator have a top- or side-mounted fan? Ensure the fan does not blow from the bottom.
- Can you control the temperature? Lower temperatures are key for faster drying icing without affecting the cookies themselves. Ensure you can set your food dehydrator to temperatures as low as 35-40 degrees Celsius.
- Does the dehydrator have a timer? If not, you will have to take care to monitor how much time your cookies spend in the dehydrator.
- Does the dehydrator have sliding or stacking trays? If you’re baking a ton of cookies, sliding trays make it much easier to stay in control of your drying and to swap your cookies in and out.
Do you have tips on using food dehydrators for cookie decorating? Let us know in the comments below!
Or, browse our range of commercial and domestic food dehydrators now.