Normally, I read just the post on a blog. I don't always have time to scroll through all the comments. Especially on Sugarbelle's site. She gets 72,000 comments every time she posts her amazing cookies and tips. But I think it was on one of her posts that I read a comment about a heat gun. I don't remember which post and I don't know who wrote it. The idea stuck in my head.

Fast forward 6 or 12 months and I find myself in the paint aisle of Wal-mart. The heat guns caught my eye and so did the price tag. It was $19.99. Seemed like a minimal investment to test out a new cookie idea. 

Here is Dorothy, the first heat gun cookie I made....




Here are a few tips that I have learned since starting to use the heat gun:

  • The heat gun gets freakin HOT. Watch out! I accidentally touched the metal part and got myself a nasty little burn. Ouch!

  • If you overheat the cookies, the icing will crack. While you're using it, your mantra should be: gentle heat, gentle heat, gentle heat. Keep the gun 8 - 12 inches from the cookie and don't rush it. I do one tray at a time to keep from focusing too much on one cookie. You can tell by the sheen on the cookie when it's starting to dry. I also gently touch a cookie with my finger to see if it has formed that 'candy shell' layer. I find it takes about a minute or so. 

  • I don't 'heat gun' all cookies. If I'm not in a rush and there aren't any small areas, I just let the cookies dry on their own overnight. This saves a little time and if the humidity is just right, I still get the shine I like. 

  • The heat gun only dries the top layer of icing. So take care when adding detail to a cookie right away. It's like thin ice and you can poke your icing tip right through that thin dried layer of icing (I did this too, oops!)

  • The cookie itself seems to soften when heated with the gun. Don't move the cookie for fear of it breaking. Once cool, I think the cookie is sturdy again.

  • I am using this gun (see photo below) from Wal-mart for $19.99. Other decorators are using similar guns from Amazon, Home Depot and Lowes. There are even a few women that have told me their scrapbooking heat gun is working for them too.



    Since my original heat gun post, I have received quite a few messages and facebook posts of other cookiers that have tested out the heat gun. Here are a few of their experiences. I think they give some good advice.

From Susan at The Painted Cookie




Susan's heat gun experience: 

The cookie on the left dried on its own. The cookie on the right was dried with the heat gun.

Here are my observations using a heat gun....
  • Love the sheen on a base coat, but must let cookies sit for about 10 minutes to settle to avoid uneven surface. Do not move cookies afterwards to avoid cracking them. 

  • You do not need to heat for a long period of time. I did for my AKA pearls and the centers never really set. I was very concerned about shipping and them arriving okay. Lesson learned....only need 5 seconds per area.I have heated my cookies laying on parchment paper on a tray which seems to absorb the heat and I sit the tray on a marble and have no issues moving the tray when done.

  • I have heated my cookies laying on parchment paper on a tray which seems to absorb the heat and I sit the tray on a marble and have no issues moving the tray when done.

From Nancy Cavagnaro

Shutterfly Page: nancyscookies.shutterfly.com.
 



Nancy's heat gun experience:

This cookie was a combination of other things I have seen. I used LilaLoa's recipe but with Dutch process cocoa, espresso powder and black cocoa from King Arthur's. I only needed the tiniest bit of food color to get the cookies black, and they were deliciously dark chocolatey tasting!

I had to run right out to buy a heat gun after I read the blog. I was very excited. For Halloween, one of my cookies was a bubbling cauldron, so I used the gun to dry the bubbles which I put on in layers. The bubbles looked great, and there was no collapsing of the royal icing (if you know what I mean). I did think that the heat gun changed the taste of the royal icing just a bit, so that it tasted like the royal icing on "store bought" decorated cookies. I think that the heat gun idea is AWESOME for when you want the shiny look or are in a hurry with your layers. 

I will continue testing with how long to wave the gun over an area. I was doing about ten seconds. 


Sherrene of The Sugar Tree

Blog: www.sugartreeblog.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sugartreecookies




Sherrene's heat gun experience:


I'm working on a set of nautical cookies this weekend. I used a heat gun on some of the cookies where necessary and it definitely helped!

I didn't have any crevices. I've attached a picture of a life preserver ring that I did. I didn't use a heat gun on the flooded base so it has a matte finish. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but the contrast between the matte base and the shiny super smooth life preserver ring makes it look almost "plasticy" just like the real thing! I love the way it turned out. I was able to use a thicker white icing for filling the ring to get nice height and definition. I also noticed that crevices started to form almost immediately on the red part so I made sure to blast it right away and as you can see in the picture, no dents!

I also ran the heat gun over a tray of anchor cookies once they were all done. The last one I put on the tray is shiny because it got the heat gun right away, while the first ones I did are matte because they had already had time to dry. However, NONE of them have crevices.

What I've learned NOT to do: don't get too close -- the cookie will get all soft and I've found that with darker colors, the surface will get flaky-like cracks on it. Keep the gun moving like a hair dryer and it doesn't have to be for too long, just a minute or two.
used one on my Dia de los Muertos cookies over Halloween weekend. I'm not even sure I am using the same one you used but it did help. (im using one that I had for embossing in scrapbooking) I was pressed for time and it helped with the thicker sections so I could layer my next color. I also thought it helped with bleeding. Surprisingly I didn't have any bleeding issues. Maybe it was because of the weather or maybe it was because of the heat gun. Not sure.

From Hillary Ramos of The Cookie Countess



Hillary's Heat Gun Experience: 

I made these bowling party favor cookies last week and normally they would have included everything I would be plagued by craters from.... scalloped edges, large dots, and small spaces that need to look puffy.  But the heat gun did the trick!!!!! And I loved the extra sheen it added.  The royal icing recipe I use usually dries pretty fast, so that has not been a problem for me, but the small craters have plagued me like the plague!!


From Teresa at Sugar T's


Teresa's heat gun experience: 

I took your advice and used one on my Dia de los Muertos cookies over Halloween weekend.  I'm not even sure I am using the same one you used but it did help.  (im using one that I had for embossing in scrapbooking) I was pressed for time and it helped with the thicker sections so I could layer my next color. I also thought it helped with bleeding.  Surprisingly I didn't have any bleeding issues.  Maybe it was because of the weather or maybe it was because of the heat gun.  Not sure.


THANK YOU TERESA, HILLARY, SUSAN, SHERRENE, AND NANCY for sharing your beautiful photos and experiences. I hope these notes will help us all out as we continue to test out new decorating skills.

Have a sweet day,

Anne


Since then I have received quite a few messages and facebook posts of other cookiers that have tested out the heat gun. Here are a few of their experiences. I think they give some good advice.

A few notes from me before we move on:

  • The heat gun gets freakin HOT. Watch out! I accidentally touched the metal part and got myself a nasty little burn. Ouch!

  • If you over heat the cookies, the icing will crack. Your mantra should be: gentle heat, gentle heat, gentle heat. Keep the gun 8 - 12 inches from the cookie and don't rush it. I do one tray at a time to keep from focusing too much on one cookie. 

  • I don't 'heat gun' all cookies. If I'm not in a rush and there aren't any small areas, I just let the cookies dry on their own overnight. This saves a little time and if the humidity is just right, I still get the shine I like.