She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Raw Egg Whites, What’s the Deal?

Posted: November 7th, 2009 | Author: bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | 4 Comments »

So, I have discovered the way to make perfect royal icing.  This is the smooth icing traditionally found on cookies.  I’ll be honest, I’ve never prefected it, and have struggled to find the right consistency.  It involves very few ingredients, but comes out very well.  You need confectioner’s sugar (aka powdered sugar), flavoring of your choice (many people love lemon juice, I prefer a VERY small amount of vanilla extract), and… raw egg whites.  You stir them all together, finding the right consistency, using food dye for color or leaving it white, then put it in a pastry bag IMMEDIATELY (it hardens quickly), ice to make your desired design… something I personally need some practice at, seeing that I just realized that the raw egg whites make the perfect royal icing… and voila, it’s sweet, tasty, and hardens to a beautiful shiny finish.

So if it’s so perfect, what’s the problem.  Well, the raw eggs of course.  I have to say, I am skeptical of using and eating raw eggs.  I’ve looked online for health guidelines, and here’s what I’ve discovered after weeding out some of the craziness (amazingly, there’s a lot of crazy health related information online).

1.  Raw egg whites are NOT as bad for you as raw egg yolks, but still potentially contain salmonella.

2.  The body cannot digest raw eggs.

3.  Body builders like to eat lots of raw egg whites, but it can cause a biotin deficiency.  I’m not sure what that means.

4.  Fake egg whites don’t have as good a consistency for cooking, but lack the salmonella risk.

5.  People who are allergic to eggs are usually allergic to the white, not the yolk.

So what’s my opinion?  Well, I’m still a little wary of the salmonella risk, and the fact that it’s not digest-able.  But, I also think that the tiny amount of raw egg white you’d get eating a cookie with royal icing is probably negligable.  I also wish that the fake egg whites were better to cook with, because then I’d get perfect royal icing and not risk food poisoining.  That being said, I think it might be a good idea for pregnant women and people with health issues to avoid the royal icing.  But I’m not a doctor, unlike the many, many “experts” on the internet who seem to know everything about health and what to eat.  For now, I think I’m going to continue to use raw eggs and work on my cookie decorating skills.  What do you guys think?  Am I crazy to consume small amounts of raw egg for the sake of prettily iced cookies.  I mean, look at what you can do with royal icing:

That’s SO pretty!  So pretty…. I swear, I’m gonna learn how to do that.

Also, I have a treat for you blog-readers and myself.  As I mentioned previously, my dad had his knee replaced (he’s recovering now and doing better every day), and will not be able to make Thanksgiving dinner.  He officially asked me to take over.  I know that I’m the baker, not the cook, but what I figure I’m going to do is practice all my side dishes over the next couple weeks to see what I can make.  The final meal will consist of turkey (which I won’t practice until I actually get home), stuffing of some sort, a green vegetable dish, a potato dish (no sweet potatoes, my dad and brother don’t like them), cranberry sauce, dessert and wine.  It will only be my parents, brother and I, so I don’t need to go too crazy.  But, I’m going to leaf through the magazines, websites and cookbooks, and try to bring some good recipes to you.  And I will bake as many of them as possible, but you might also get to find out how Bakezilla tries to sautee, grill, fry, poach and cook in ways she is not accustomed to.  I can’t promise there won’t be some flops, but hopefully there’ll be some winners.  And, if there’s anything you can recommend, please do, I’ll try it out.  Hopefully my thanksgiving table will look as good as these:


4 Comments on “Raw Egg Whites, What’s the Deal?”

  1. 1 leah said at 9:52 pm on November 7th, 2009:

    awe! purdy! good insight on the royal icing thang.

    good luck with turkey day! how exciting! the november issue of Gourmet had several different yet comforting looking stuffings as did the november bon appetit. you may check their sites?

  2. 2 bakezilla said at 7:18 am on November 8th, 2009:

    Leah,

    Thanks, I most definitely will. I’ve so far been looking at RealSimple, Martha Stewart, Food & Wine, and some of the cookbooks between my house and the family where I babysit. I hadn’t thought of those two! And stuffing rules!

  3. 3 Johanna said at 7:41 pm on November 8th, 2009:

    Vegetable risotto made a big hit at Turkey Day in West Side a couple years ago. My dad makes a cranberry orange relish that he loves, but I’ve also seen some good ones on other blogs. We can get together and look at/work out some ideas, if you want?

  4. 4 bakezilla said at 8:21 pm on November 8th, 2009:

    Joh – I’d love to. I read a pineapple cranberry relish recipe that looks good.

    Sadly, my parents do not like risotto. I am dealing with an extreme pickiness situation here, which I need to take into account. I love risotto, so I’d love to learn how to make it anyway.


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