I am a Royal Icing decorated cookie hobbyist (insert fanatic here, according to my family) and I purchased an Excalibur dehydrator in August of 2015, to solve some recurring issues with cookie production. I was running into problems with occasional bleeding of dark icing colours, occasional cratering of small areas, and prolonged drying time of flooded bases. Even when the bases were left to air dry overnight, I would have problems with the surface breaking when I would try transferring lettering using a food marker. My research informed me that a dehydrator would solve many of these issues. (Unfortunately, it does not appear to do housework…drats!!)
I purchased an Excalibur 3926 TCDB online from http://www.rawnutrition.ca , which has a glass door, 9 square trays and a timer with automatic shut off. It is fairly large.
The following are the specifications from the rawnutrition.ca website:
Set the food dehydrator to run from 1 to 26 hours. The unit will automatically shut-off after set time is completed. Ideal size for large families, large gardens, vegans and raw food enthusiasts.
Model 3926TCDB – 9 Large Trays of 14″ x 14″
This the biggest and best there is!
7″ fan, 600 watts and an adjustable thermostat.
Built-in on/off switch.
15 sq. ft. of drying area.
ALL BLACK Model with a CLEAR Door.
Includes 9 Flexible polyscreen tray inserts.
Unit Dimensions: 12 1/2″H x 17″W x 19″D
10 Year Warranty.
Upgraded electrical components.
It is a bit noisy, especially because the door vibrates when the unit is turned on. The door is not firmly attached. The top of the door hooks into a slot on the top of the unit. I put a bit of painter’s tape on each side of the bottom of the door to the side casing of the unit, to tighten the door against the casing, and that improves things. I noticed with my last batch of cookies that the trays are sagging a bit in the center when fully loaded with cookies, but so far it does not seem to have affected the flooded bases. Many people rave about a shinier finish when using a dehydrator as opposed to air drying, but their eyes must be better than mine, because I have not noticed an appreciable difference. One unanticipated benefit is that it is great for storing cookies when I am not working on them. I have what must be Canada’s tiniest kitchen and have limited counter space. I used to keep the cookies, on which I was currently working, on cookie sheets and I was always having to move them around the house, from the table to the top of the freezer or even the piano!
Overall, I am pleased with the purchase. I have had no further issues with icing colour bleed, to this point, nor any significant problems with cratering of small areas. The purchase has definitely allowed me to bring my hobby to a higher level and if someone had the money to spend, I would definitely recommend this dehydrator for decorating cookies.