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This site is dedicated to sharing what we have learned with you! Enjoy our tutorials, and if you have a question please feel free to ask! I know one of our sugar enthusiasts will either know or try to find the answer.
We all have something to share...and we all have something to learn!
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Life's A Beach!

Life's A Beach!
Celebrate Summer by Creating a Beachy Topper! Click on photo for tutorial!


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Monday, December 28, 2009

Simple Homemade Caramels



This is the easiest caramel recipe to make and the best tasting!!!  It can be used all year round and not just for the holidays! 


Here's what you need:

2 lbs. brown sugar
2 cups corn syrup
2 cups butter
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2 dashes salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


In a large metal pot over medium heat, add corn syrup and brown sugar and stir until brown sugar is melted. Add butter and melt. Add sweetened condensed milk and salt. Cook and stir constantly until a candy thermometer reaches 245 to 250 degrees F. or soft ball stage.  You can also do the cold water check making sure it is at the soft ball stage. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Pour into a 9"x13" pan that has been sprayed with butter Pam.

Let cool completely before removing from the pan

Cut into small squares and wrap in wax paper or decorative foils that you can buy at a cake or candy shop



Be sure to only make these for giving out and keep a little for yourself!!! I swear they will be in your mouth whenever you walk by them!!!!


Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!!! Let me know if you make them!!

Photography and Tutorial by Rhonda Christensen
2009 All Rights Reserved
This material may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Trees Tutorial



Supplies :


Waffle Cones for Ice cream

Small bowl with 1/2 inch water

scissors

Forest Green Royal Icing

Piping bag with #67
Piping tip

Yellow colored Gumpaste

3/4" Five petal or Star Cutter

Gumglue or piping gel

Wilton Pastel Candies
Dragees






Place two waffle cones together as shown.



Place in shallow water for 15- 20 seconds.


Remove from water and, using scissors, cut away soft edge of cone

until bottom edge is even and level.





Using royal icing, attach the cones to make "trees".

Starting at bottom of tree, begin piping leaves pulling out as you pipe.

Continue until you have filled the tree with "fir branches", leaving about 3/4" at top bare so you can move your tree into place. When the tree is placed where you want it on your cake or board, you can fill in the remainder of the top of the tree.

Roll out yellow gumpaste to about 1/4" thickness and cut out a star using your cutter. Place a yellow pastel candy on both sides of star, using gumglue or piping gel. Place on top of tree and secure with royal icing. Hold in place until firmly set.

Decorate your tree with colored pastels and dragees, securing with fresh royal icing if needed.



Photography and Tutorial by Jacque Benson
2009 copyright all rights reserved
This material may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dark Chocolate Truffles....Pure Temptation




There is nothing quite like the taste and texture of rich, luscious Chocolate Truffles. And although they are luxury to the palate, these tempting treasures are easy to make. Here are the recipes of my own favorite combinations. Enjoy!

Rich Grand Marnier and Chambord Chocolate Truffles

Ganache Ingredients
24 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Generous 2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon White Corn Syrup
2 Tablespoons Chilled butter
2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier
2 Tablespoons Chambord

For Coating the Truffles:
24 ounces tempered bittersweet chocolate


Over double boiler, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth.



Scald heavy cream with the corn syrup in a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan just until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat. Do not boil.
Gradually pour the cream into the melted chocolate . Then slowly whisk until smooth and homogenous.
The ganache should be thick, shiny, and smooth.
Divide the chocolate into two separate bowls. and add 1 tablespoon of chilled butter and Grand Marnier (2T) in one bowl, 1 T of chilled butter and Chambord(2T) to the other. Mix until fully incorporated.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill until ganache holds its shape. Or you can make the ganache at the end of the day and let it cool overnight. As it cools, it will thicken and set.

Using a melon baller, drop small mounds of ganache onto the baking sheet covered with wax paper. Let the truffles harden at room temperature for several hours (or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes), until they are hard enough to roll with your hands. Roll quickly between the palms of clean hands and set on wax paper. Chill until time to coat in chocolate.

Amaretto/Ginger White Chocolate Truffles

Ganache Ingredients
20 oz white chocolate, chopped
Generous 1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon Preserved Ginger Syrup
2 Tablespoons Chilled butter
1-1/2 Teaspoons Pear Brandy
1 Tablespoon Amaretto
2 Tablespoons minced Preserved Ginger
For Coating the Truffles:

18 ounces tempered milk chocolate
Garnish with chopped candied ginger




Follow same procedure by melting the white chocolate over hot ( not boiling ) water.

Scald the cream with the ginger syrup, then gradually add to the melted white chocolate.
Whisk mixture slowly until smooth and homogenous. Stir in the butter and the flavorings until fully incorporated; then stir in minced preserved ginger. Pour into bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill until the ganache holds its shape, then scoop out balls with melon baller, placing on wax paper, then chill.
When cold, roll quickly between the palms of clean hands to form into perfect balls of ganache. Chill until ready to coat with chocolate.
To Coat with Chocolate

You can use either a dipping fork or a table fork to dip the truffles in chocolate. To use the fork, drop the truffle into the bowl of tempered chocolate and then retrieve it quickly with the fork.
Hold the fork over the bowl for several seconds to allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the pan, then place the truffle on wax paper swirling the extra chocolate over the top of the truffle to finish off. Garnish the top of the Amaretto Ginger Truffles with small pieces of candied ginger.
.
The truffles will keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature, when stored in an airtight container. But I doubt they will last that long!

Tutorial courtesy of Jacque Benson
All Rights Reserved
2009


This material may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Yummy Caramel Corn



Caramel Corn


Four Bags Microwave Popcorn, Popped.
Or 1 cup unpopped popcorn, popped in air popper
 ( Discard all unpopped kernels )

1 -2 cups pecans, peanuts, or mixed nuts

1 cup Dried Cranberries



Spray 2 large shallow roasting pans lightly with non stick cooking spray and mix popcorn, nuts and dried cranberries. Set aside. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.




1 cup butter

2 slightly packed Cups Brown Sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp Caramel flavored oil
1/2 tsp baking soda
Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan. Add sugar, syrup and salt.


Bring to a boil and continue to cook for 5 minutes

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, caramel flavoured LorAnn Oil and baking soda.
Pour over popcorn mix and stir well. Place in oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and continue to stir as mixture cools to keep from sticking together.


These delectable treats can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container.
They are a great idea for holiday gifts.

Jacque Benson
All rights reserved 2009
This material may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Roast Turkey....Cake that is!!!!

How to make a Roast Turkey Cake



I was really intimidated to even do one of these!! But I finally got my nerve up to try it. I've seen so many awesome roast turkey cakes in the last few years and everyone said that they were easy to do...?!!! Really?!!! Um...well, you be the judge!! I took this cake to our Thanksgiving dinner and everyone was wondering why the turkey was on the dessert table!!! That was a great compliment!!!


So to get on with how I did mine:

I first made the wings and leg bones so that they had a little time to set up. I shaped some gumpaste into a basic wing shape.

Then I used a ball tool to give the wing some bone definition.


Then flattening out the edge to make it look more bony
.


For the leg bones, I put some gumpaste on a skewer, rolling to the length I wanted. I used a melon baller to round out the end of the bone. Cut the skewer to desired length also.





For the cake, I used two 12 inch round pans.



The first cut is the hardest!!! I traced a shape out with a knife before cutting. Set the two cut ends to the side and save for the legs.

Then round out the top corners and underside, until you get the shape desired.

Cut a half circle out of the pieces left of the cake to make the legs and put them on either side.

Pipe on the icing using a bag without a tip. Smooth with a spatula. Add the bones into the end of the legs. Let crust over and then smooth with a Viva paper towel, remembering to press in the underside of the turkey to give it a 3-D dimension. If you can find a paper towel with a dot pattern, use it now to give the turkey a skin-like appearance. I couldn't find a dot pattern paper towel so I used one of my plastic texture sheets that had a somewhat dot pattern. You can also use the plastic weaved bag from onions. I didn't have one so .....

At this stage of the of the cake, you can add shadow anywhere that's needed. It's probably easier if you have an air brush, but I don't have one!! I did take some black dust and put on the edges that would darken in the oven as if it here a real turkey. I used a fine mist spray bottle filled with warm water, corn syrup and brown food coloring. As you can see from the pictures, the spray would run down the side of the turkey. I guess it has that "basted" look!!

To finish, I put my turkey on a platter that was purchased at the Dollar Store! I know, I'm cheap!! I made lettuce out of fondant and veggies that where a fondant/gumpaste mix. I also put some coarse sugar sprinkles on to make it look like seasoning.

Here is a close up of the carrots, peas, sugared cranberries and yes those are supposed to be potatoes!! Some people thought they were eggs!!

Take any remaining cake scraps and cube them for the stuffing, filling the "cavity".



Below are some pictures of Jacque's turkey!!! She did such an awesome job that I have to show it off!!! i love hers!!! I will let her tell you how she did hers!!

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Rhonda, That was a fabulous step by step!! Thank you!
I am not sure I can add much to that, but I did a couple of things differently and give credit for some of the techniques to the very talented Cece Gardon, who demonstrated her roast turkey cake for the SouthEast Texas Cake Club last November.

I wish I been given the luxury of time to take "in process" pics, but it was a crazy busy week.

First, I baked mine in 3 oval pans along with two cupcakes. I stacked the ovals and sculpted it ( making the first cuts can be very intimidating!), sloping down toward the front and sides, then carved into a modified V shape in the back.

For the drumsticks, I stuffed two waffle cones approximately halfway with Rice Crispy treats. Then the cupcakes were placed in the top to round out the drumstick, and the shaped fondant for the leg bone was attached to the pointed end of the cone. I crumb coated the legs with buttercream.

I then filled and crumb coated the entire turkey body, attached the drumsticks with skewer into the body of the turkey; and covered it all with fondant, using the texturing techniques described by Rhonda . Then the wings, as created above, were positioned into place.



With the leftover cake scraps, I cut 1/2" cubes, toasted them, and mixed with vanilla custard.
The custard will help adhere the cubes to each other and to the cake.


The lettuce, cranberries and oranges were created from chocolate clay.

Using an airbrush, the turkey, fruit and veggies were colored for more texture and effect.

Notice that for my "platter", I used Mame's Autumn leaf tutorial to create leaves and placed them on a oval cake board, lightly dusted randomly with gold luster dust to give the appearance of a porcelain platter.




Photos by Rhonda Christensen and Jacque Benson
All Rights Reserved- 2009
This material may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

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The Tutorials This Week Were Generously Shared by

SHARON ZAMBITO, BOBBIE NOTO, RHONDA CHRISTENSEN & JACQUE BENSON

Thank you
thank you pictures

And to ALL of our Readers...

ENJOY EACH DAY!

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Think CHOCOLATE!

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