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How to Make Delicious Glaze Icing

Athlyn Green enjoys whipping up tasty dishes in her home kitchen. She's received many requests for her recipes and is happy to share.

A Treat for the Taste Buds

Made from granulated sugar and drizzled over loaves and cakes while still warm.

Made from granulated sugar and drizzled over loaves and cakes while still warm.

Adding a Touch of Something Truly Special

Nothing is quite so tempting as glazed donuts or sweetbread topped with glaze icing.

Glaze icing looks and tastes wonderful, drizzled over cakes, squares or sweet breads. It is a different method to "ice" sweet treats. Knowing how to make it will serve you well in turning out great-tasting desserts. It's so easy to do and it adds such a special finishing touch to a variety of baked goods.

Many people love glaze, but while it is seen in bakeries, how does one make their own glaze at home? Because it differs from regular icing, some are mystified as to how to make it.

It's very easy to do and you only use a few simple ingredients. You don't need beaters and you just use a pot on the top of the stove.

There are a couple of different methods for making both uncooked and cooked glaze. For uncooked glaze, you usually combine your ingredients in a bowl. This is done by using powdered sugar and adding liquid and a few other ingredients, then stirring well until you have a thick and pourable mixture.

My method is a granulated sugar glaze that is made in a pot on the top of the stove. I prefer this method because the sugar melts, so you don't have to worry about "grittiness." Ingredients are brought to a gentle boil for a few minutes, which helps the glaze to thicken. The final result is a perfectly smooth glaze that sets up as it cools.

I use this glaze to ice different sweet treats, as you will see further down on this page in the photos. I've used this basic recipe for years. Once you've tried it, I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as I have.

Ingredients You Need for This Glaze

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (or a little more if you prefer a sweeter glaze)
  • 1/4 cup can milk (you must use evaporated can milk)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Place Ingredients Into a Pot

Butter, granulated sugar and can milk.

Butter, granulated sugar and can milk.

Taste Test

You might opt to take a tiny bit on the end of a spoon and blow on it to cool it for a taste test. (I test it with a finger before tasting it to avoid burning my mouth.) This way, you can adjust ingredients if needed.

Two Methods for Making This Glaze

There are two basic methods you can use to make this glaze.

Method #1

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This first method is preferable because there's less chance of the sugar sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.

  1. Melt butter in small pot.
  2. Add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved.
  3. Add in can milk and bring mixture on a medium heat to a soft boil, stirring constantly (to prevent sticking).
  4. Boil for 2-5 minutes. If necessary, reduce heat so that icing doesn't burn.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp. vanilla.

Method #2

Because I've made this glaze so often, I take the lazy man's route and place everything into my pot. But when I make it this way, I stand and stir as the butter melts, so the sugar doesn't stick.

Glaze Bubbles and Thickens and Looks Downright Delectable

Slightly thickened and ready to pour.

Slightly thickened and ready to pour.

Stir, Stir, Stir...

Keep a close eye on your glaze and stir frequently, so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot and start to burn. Reduce heat if needed so it continues at a soft (not hard) boil.

Tips for the Best Glaze

There are a few things to keep in mind when making your glaze, so you achieve the best results.

  • Bring mixture to soft boil.
  • Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, so mixture doesn't stick and burn.
  • Boil until mixture starts to thicken. If uncertain, use a teaspoon to gather a small amount and drop in cold water to see if it's reached the soft ball stage. In other words, if it holds its shape in the cold water.
  • Always do a taste test.

Note: you don't want to over-boil your glaze because it might become too thick, and when cool, become crumbly.

Use Immediately

Your glaze, while still warm, will be slightly thickened but still runny. This is normal. As long as you've boiled it long enough, it will thicken as it cools and it will set up after you drizzle it over baked goods.

This is one of the main advantages of glaze. You don't have to spread it, as you would do with icing, you pour it, which means that within seconds, you've added a delectable-tasting topping to desserts.

Use your glaze immediately because it will harden and form a crust. You don't want this to happen while it is still in the pot, which would make removal difficult. Make sure you drizzle it over your baked items while it is still warm.

The magic happens as glaze sets up and turns into a delicious, sweet topper for donuts, muffins, cinnamon rolls, hot-cross buns, and any number of other sweet treats.

Did You Know?

Glaze sets up as it cools. As long as your mixture is slightly thickened (as seen in the photo), it should continue to set up as it cools.

Glaze Looks so Darn Impressive

One of the neat aspects if you are making a thicker glaze is how it looks as it sets up. If you opt to drizzle it over your baked goods, the final results look truly remarkable and your company will be wowed.

You can have fun with glaze, either drizzling it in a zig-zag or creating diamonds or even swirls.

I'm sure you will agree, the thick glaze seen in the first photo below would tempt nearly anyone who saw it to sample the sweet bread.

A Great Little Skill

As can be seen, glaze is easy to make, and mastering how to make your own is a great little bit of know-how to add to your cooking skills.

Glaze Icing Variations

Once you know how to make this glaze, you can add other ingredients to produce different glaze flavors. I've experimented and have found I occasionally use these variations.

  • Maple-Walnut Glaze: When I have a hankering for a maple-walnut cake, I substitute maple flavoring for the vanilla extract and I add 1-2 cups of chopped walnuts and stir them into the glaze. This makes a wonderful mixture to spread over plain white cake, which, of course, becomes maple-walnut cake.
  • Pineapple Glaze Icing: When I make a plain white cake and I want to fancy it up a bit, I make my glaze and add in drained crushed pineapple.
  • Coconut Glaze: Once I've poured the glaze over a cake, I sprinkle grated coconut (toasted or plain) over the top.
  • Coconut Donuts: I dip my homemade donuts in glaze first, then dip them in coconut.

It's fun to experiment to see how you can use your glaze for different topping effects, and if desired, how you can add other ingredients to it for different flavors.

How to Make Delicious Glaze Icing

Now that you've read this article and seen how to make glaze icing and how easy the process is, I hope you will be eager to try it. Please share you thoughts in the poll below.

So Easy to Make, So Delicious

Once you've tried making your own glaze, I'm sure you will agree that it is very easy to do and so delicious. When you want a change from the usual, glaze icing offers a tempting alternative.

© 2011 Athlyn Green

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