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Confectioners glaze is an edible varnish which is used for giving a glossy effect or protective coating on sugarcraft items. It can also be used on chocolate or marzipan pieces to give a glossy appearance. I use this when making sugar flowers for cake decorating, as they look dull and lifeless otherwise, and this glaze just helps to make the final result that little more realistic.
The glaze is from Squires Kitchen, which is a brand of sugarcraft equipment readily available online, in Lakeland, Hobbycraft, or your local sugarcraft shop. It is priced online at £5.90 for 100ml, which sounds expensive but as you only use a tiny amount each time it lasts for ages. It comes in a bottle with a screw top lid, which keeps it secure and prevents leakages. I've never had any leakages with this product, despite carting it back and forth to college when I was doing an evening course a few years ago.
Using the glaze is simple enough, it's a case of dipping a paintbrush in and applying to whatever it is you're using the glaze on. It's worth applying the "less is more" approach here, as I have learnt through trial and error that you're not trying to drown the object in question, but simply glaze it! I tend to dip my brush in, shake any excess, and use the same brush for a few different items, e.g. leaves. This ensures you're not over-applying the product, which can lead to all manner of disasters such as colours running and paste softening.
The glaze takes a little while to dry, and it's important to keep the items dry but not airtight whilst the glaze is drying. It should only be applied to paste that is dry, otherwise you'll end up with a bit of a mess on your hands and the glaze won't give the desired effect. The only way to tell if the glaze is dry is by tentatively touching it, but usually I used to leave stuff to dry overnight and by the morning it was ready for the next stage.
The glaze can become quite disgusting looking very early after opening, and the reason for this is that you are dipping a brush in the glaze which has been in contact with coloured or dusted paste. This means the glaze becomes cloudy, often green in colour, instead of being clear. We were told in college that this is nothing to worry about, but personally if I'm using glaze I like to decant some into another container and dispose of it once finished. This just seems more hygienic to me.
The product description will tell you that you'll also need a special glaze cleaner (it's not cheap, this cake decorating!), to clean your brush after using it, because the glaze will clog the bristles and your paintbrushes will dry rock solid. Alternatively, a good wash with hot soapy water seems to do the trick, so this is something I've not bothered buying.
This is another "essential" item for anyone embarking on a hobby in cake decorating.
(Review may also appear on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)