Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Marshmallow Fondant...

...because the Internet NEEDS another marshmallow fondant tutorial!

I use Rhonda's Ultimate Marshmallow Fondant.  Found here.  It's fabulous and I love it.  It's been my favorite for about four years, give or take.

And the ingredients...


Now, the recipe starts out with 15 ounces of mini marshmallows.  Every marshmallow I've ever bought comes in either a 10- or a 16-ounce bag.  However, this recipe will not work right with 16 ounces of marshmallows.  For real.  So take out one ounce of marshmallows and do whatever it is that you do with one ounce of marshmallows.


Or I guess you could just buy three 10-ounce bags and make two batches, if you want to do it the easy way.

Grease a microwave-proof bowl and spoon.  Pour the marshmallows into the bowl.  Add two tablespoons of water.  Set aside.


I like to mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl before I melt the marshmallows because you will want to add the other ingredients as soon as the marshmallows are melted.

So stir together salt, lemon juice, lemon extract, vanilla extract, and corn syrup.  (Man, I go through a LOT of corn syrup.  I wonder if that's normal?)


Now melt the marshmallows!  Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stopping to stir every forty seconds or so.

After the first forty:


(I am not going to show you the inside of my microwave because you would totally judge me and probably never visit this blog again.)

After the second forty:


And the finished product:


Quickly add the other ingredients, being sure to scrape out the salt that has settled to the bottom of the bowl:


Stir well to combine.  If you were going to make a batch of colored fondant, now would be the time to add the color.  I am going to be making several colors out of this batch, so I left it white.  But adding color now is much easier than adding it later.

Now stir in the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Here's the first cup:


Here's about three cups:


And finally, at about six cups, you will have to turn the fondant out onto a well-greased surface and knead in the remaining sugar. Grease your hands first.

I don't actually have any pictures of that part because my hands were covered with shortening and fondant.  But after you're done, form the fondant into a ball and grease the outside of the ball.


Wrap the ball of fondant in two layers of plastic wrap, put that in a sealed Ziploc bag, and let rest on the counter overnight.



You can use it after a couple of hours if you need to, but it's a little loosey-goosey and kind of hard to work with.

This fondant is my absolute favorite.  It tastes really good and it's easy to work with. Plus, it's inexpensive. I sometimes mix it with a little bit of Wilton ready-made fondant, which makes it that much easier to work with.

Well, that's all for now.

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cupcakes Galore!

This weekend was all about cupcakes.  I made 40 of of them for a baby shower, plus 24 cake pops, which doesn't sound like much until I tell you there were 6 flavors.

Strawberry...


Red Velvet...


Vanilla Almond...


Chocolate...


Cookies & Cream...


And vanilla, strawberry and lemon (flavor #6) cake pops...which I forgot to photograph.  But they were adorable.




Unfortunately, no matter how you do the math, 40 cupcakes do not fit evenly into 48 cupcake holders.  But I do love these cupcake boxes (is it still a box if it's plastic?) that hold 2 dozen.  They sell them at the local cake shop.  And they make me look like I know what I'm doing.

(True story...I took a cake to work about 15 years ago for a birthday and one of my co-workers absolutely REFUSED to believe that I made the cake. Not because it was awesome or beautiful or amazing, because it wasn't, but because it was in a bakery box.  Which I purchased at the above-referenced cake shop. :-\)

These were a lot of fun to do.  We're getting ready to gear up for birthday time again, so there should be more baking in the next few weeks!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine Robots

Valentine Robots via SweetSugarBelle!


Her tutorial is here. 

I did mine a little differently because every time I outline sections with icing, you can see the outlines when I'm done.  Totally bums me out.

So I did it this way:





It worked for me.  And I didn't spray them with the luster spray because I forgot to buy some.  D'oh!

Anyhoo, I bagged them up and I'll be sending them to school with the boy on Valentine's Day.  Because he was very excited to see Valentine cookies that weren't all sappy and pink and girly.


That's all for now.

Enjoy!



Monday, February 11, 2013

Sketch It Challenge!

Time for another cookie challenge from Georganne over at LilaLoa!  This month is the sketch it challenge.  Unfortunately, I have very little actual artistic talent.  And what talent I do have tends to lean more toward sculpting/forming items.  But, it's a challenge, so I gave it a go.

Ironically, just a couple weeks before the challenge was issued, I sketched this picture in response to a thread over at www.cookiedecorator.com:


That's a bottle of Super Red, with a sad bottle of Tulip Red in the background.  (I thought it was funny.)

But I didn't want to make a cookie out of that sketch.  So I made some new sketches:


The birds up at the top were inspired by a child's shirt I saw at a store.  I thought the bird on the shirt looked like it might fit inside a heart cutter.  And it did.  WooHoo!  Although, I should have taken a picture of the shirt.  It would have meant less agonizing over the tails, when I couldn't remember exactly how they looked.

The robot in the middle was by SweetSugarBelle.  You can find it here .  I'm going to do a separate post about them, because I ended up doing them a bit differently.

The ninja were inspired by several cookies that I've seen floating around lately.  My son LOVES Ninjago, and I had some extra hearts so I thought I'd try to make some look like ninja.  I pulled out a Ninjago action figure and sketched away.  I should have searched for Ninjago clipart, like SugarBelle suggested in her recent post.  It would have made my life easier.  Actually I should have just followed her tutorial.  Live and learn, I guess.

Anyhoo, here are the cookies:


I took the sketching thing one step further with the birds.


I used an edible marker to draw the bird on the cookie before I piped it.  Just to be sure that I did it right.  I kind of like how they turned out.

And the Ninja:


(According to Ninjago, "ninja" is both singular and plural. The commanders of Lord Garmadon's skeleton army discussed it at length in one episode.)

It's pretty cool all of the things you can do with a simple heart cutter.

So there you have it.  Sketch your ideas and you have a better chance of getting a better cookie out of the deal.

 
That's all for now.

Enjoy!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bee My Valentine

These were cookies I made for the boy's class two years ago, I believe.  Aren't they cute?

They're bees.  Made from a heart cutter. How smart is that?  (I can say that because it wasn't my idea.)



Inspired by A Master Creation and put on sticks for the kids.  Because kids like things more if they're on sticks.

Red for the boys...


Pink for the girls...


I also made a giant Queen Bee for the teacher, but I forgot to take a picture.  Go me!

And here are some others that I made for my sister-in-law's birthday the same year.


I love Valentine cookies.  I'm going to get started on this years' soon, but for now, this is all I've got.

Enjoy!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Rainbow Penguin Cake

I was going to call this post "The Ghost of Birthday Cakes Past", but then I figured you'd expect to see more than one cake.  And I'm only showing you one cake.

Anyhoo, this is the cake I made for the Boy's fifth birthday (or 5st, if you're a Cake Wrecks follower).  He wanted penguins and an igloo and a slide.  We saw a Christmas cake on Cake Central by BarbieAnnplayswithherFOOD and adapted from there.


He wanted ten penguins.  No more, no less.


Little igloo on top.  White cake, I think.  Nothing fancy. Sprinkled with a little "pixie dust" disco dust.  Looked very icy.


Penguins sliding.  The little guy at the top of the slide was my favorite.



Snowball fight!

Hanging out.


Building a snowman.



I definitely see things I would have done differently.  I should have used more colors.  Maybe some trees, or something. I don't know what I was thinking to make the snowman's hat and scarf blue.  Should have been red or something.  I don't know.

Can you keep a secret?
*whispering*
The best part was not the outside.  It was the inside.
It was 12" round on the bottom.  Six individual layers.


An 8" round in the middle, carved to look like a slide/road.  I sort of shoved the knife in, said a prayer and started cutting. We were all surprised when it worked!


I still think it looks so cool.


Then it was crumb coated and covered with fondant.  This was a HEAVY cake.  There was a lot of icing between all of those cake layers.

The boy was very happy with the result.  It sort of set the bar for all of the birthday cakes for the rest of his life.  It was pretty awesome when it was cut, after all.


And do you see how the kitchen isn't 70's yellow in the pictures?  That was our old house. We sold it a few years ago and moved "temporarily" into the house with the yellow kitchen.  We're still looking for a new house.

Here's what my old kitchen looked like. I painted it to match my dishes.  It was a little over the top, but I liked the color scheme.  It was VERY small, though. A galley kitchen with almost no counter space and very little storage.  (Behind the louvered door is the water heater...no storage there.)  It was more like a hallway than a kitchen, really.




Anyway, I found these photos, started feeling nostalgic, and thought I'd share.

That's all for now.

Enjoy!