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Fondant Friday: Homemade Fondant

IMG 1898 Edited Fondant Friday: Homemade Fondant

Some of you may recall the Fondant Friday posts that appeared during this blog’s infancy. They weren’t too good but at the time, I had big aspirations to practice, practice, practice and become really adept at working with fondant. But aside from making a few fondant flowers to top cupcakes near the Fourth of July, I didn’t touch fondant again until this past week. As mentioned in Tuesday’s post, I topped red velvet shortbread cookies with a layer of icing and homemade fondant.

I was very curious about how to make fondant at home and how the taste of homemade fondant would compare to that of store-bought fondant. My friend Niki once told me she prefers to look at cakes decorated with fondant, but prefers to eat cakes covered in icing. I thought that was a very eloquent way to say fondant just tastes bad!

Since the homemade fondant recipe I used called only for sugar in various forms – marshmallows, corn syrup, and confectioner’s sugar – and flavorings, the taste was superior to the two store-bought fondants, Duff and Wilton brands, I had tasted. While Duff’s fondant tastes pretty good, Wilton’s fondant is terrible. Wilton offers a lot of great baking-related products, but fondant is not one of them.

Making homemade fondant is a sticky process that requires a lot of kneading. I can’t stress enough how important it is to lightly coat the mixing bowls and utensils you will use with non-stick cooking spray or shortening. Since fondant is so thick, more like modeling clay than Play-Doh, you will likely need to knead by hand at some point. Adding a bit of confectioners’ sugar to fondant, just like adding flour to bread dough, while kneading helps alleviate the stickiness.

IMG 1903 Edited Fondant Friday: Homemade Fondant

My number one tip for working with fondant is to make sure your work surface is clean. Wipe off the counter, or mat if you have one, and then wipe it off again. Fondant picks up crumbs and dust like a magnet, and it’s no fun to roll out a sheet of fondant and then see flecks of non-fondant stuff all over it. Seriously, someone should start to market fondant as a perishable lint roller.

Other suggestions include rubbing a thin coat of white vegetable shortening on the work surface and your hands before rolling out the fondant, but I’ve always just used my dusting pouch filled with equal parts confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch to prevent the rolled out fondant from sticking to the work surface.

To color fondant, I dab a small ball of fondant with a toothpick dipped in gel food color until the fondant is speckled. Then I knead the color into the fondant until it is consistent throughout. As for kneading, I work an entire batch of fondant likeI would knead bread dough, pressing it out with my hands and folding it over.  When kneading in color, I pull the smaller ball of fondant like I imagine I would pull taffy.

If you have never worked with fondant before, I would suggest buying a cheap package of fondant (that’s where the Wilton brand comes in handy) simply to get a feel for the texture and its properties.  Working with fondant takes time and patience, but with practice, you can do some pretty cool things.  See the Cake Journal blog for all of my favorite fondant tutorials. Happy (Fondant) Friday!

IMG 1901 Edited Fondant Friday: Homemade Fondant

 

Homemade Fondant
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Non-stick cooking spray or shortening
  • 15 ounces marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon or almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 cups confectioner’s sugar
Instructions
  1. Grease a microwave-safe bowl, a stand mixer bowl, dough hooks, and spatulas with a thin layer of non-stick cooking spray or shortening.
  2. Combine the marshmallows and water in the microwave safe bowl.
  3. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds, stir, then repeat until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is soupy.
  4. When the mixture is melted and soupy, stir in the lemon juice, corn syrup, flavoring extracts, and salt.
  5. Place 5-6 cups of confectioner’s sugar in the stand mixer bowl and form a well in the center.
  6. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the well and knead on low speed with the dough hook until the sugar is mostly incorporated.
  7. When the mixture begins to stick to the bowl, add an additional 1-2 cups confectioner’s sugar and continue to knead until the fondant is smooth, thick, and loses it’s stickiness.
  8. Form the fondant into a smooth ball, very lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray or shortening, and wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap.
  9. Allow the fondant to rest 3-4 hours or overnight before using to decorate.
  10. Store wrapped in plastic wrap and in an air-tight container.
Notes
Fondant is very thick, so if the stand mixer starts to work too hard (which is likely), remove the fondant and knead by hand on a clean work surface.You may want to coat the work surface with non-stick cooking spray, shortening, or a mixture of equal parts confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch.

 

 

Happy Birthday to a Little Valentine

IMG 1916 Edited Happy Birthday to a Little Valentine

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day that is either loved or loathed with varying degrees of emotion from year to year. I have always liked Valentine’s Day because it signals the thick of candy season. Though Halloween has a lot to offer when it comes to candy, the variety I can purchase from the beginning of February to Easter is unparalleled. Not to mention heart-shaped donuts appear – as if a donut could get any better!

 But then something happened to move me from the like to the love camp.

7 23 071 Edited Happy Birthday to a Little Valentine

This is my favorite baby picture of Shaylin. I think she’s saying, “I’m just chillin’.”

Five years ago today, Shaylin was born. Shaylin and I are cousins, and together we bookend our Grandparent’s grandchild collection. At 33, I am the oldest, and at five, she is the youngest.
IMG 1935 Edited e1329164550532 Happy Birthday to a Little Valentine

For Shaylin’s virtual birthday treat, I made red velvet shortbread cookies and decorated them to look like pigs. The Red Velvet/Valentine’s Day connection is likely pretty clear. The Pig/Valentine’s Day connection is likely less so, unless you are in an “I loathe Valentine’s Day” mood, then the “men are pigs” connection is fairly obvious (kidding!). But since it’s not all about Valentine’s Day today, allow me to share with you a Pig/Cute Shaylin Story via way of my sister.

My sister has a bulldog, June. When she was about two and a half, Shaylin came to believe poor June was a “piggy”. Given June’s a bulldog, her smooshed nose and snorty breaths gave little Shaylin no reason to believe she wasn’t a pig. It probably didn’t help that her dad called June a piggy right along with her. But Shaylin’s a pretty smart cookie, so when she saw the leash come out when it was time for June’s walk, she exclaimed, “that’s not a piggy, that’s a doggy!” Shaylin knew you didn’t walk pigs, you walked dogs! Though I wasn’t there to witness this, the story always has stuck in my mind and made me smile.

IMG 1929 Edited Happy Birthday to a Little Valentine

To decorate the pig cookies, I placed a layer of icing over the red velvet shortbread cookies, and then topped the icing with homemade fondant (post to follow).  If you do not want to go to the trouble of working with fondant, pink icing will work just as well. The ears are pink sugar wafers, the eyes are mini chocolate chips, the nose is a slice of marshmallow, and the mouth is piped on with icing. All are attached with a bit of icing.

If pigs aren’t your thing, the red velvet shortbread cookies can be easily transformed into a grown up dessert too. As suggested in the original recipe, dip an edge of the cookie into melted chocolate, then decorate with nuts or pretty sprinkles. Lovely and delicious – enjoy!

Shaylin Jolene Edited Happy Birthday to a Little Valentine

Another set of cousins. Jolene and Shaylin playing in the toybox. This is my favorite picture of Shaylin to date – so happy!

Happy Valentine’s Day  & Happy Birthday Shaylin!

Red Velvet Shortbreads
 
Author:
Recipe type: cookies
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
  2. Add the butter and red food coloring, and use a pastry cutter or food processor to cut in the butter until the mixture is a fine crumb and forms a ball.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the dough then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about ½ inch thickness.
  4. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into desired shapes.
  5. Repeat rolling and cutting until all dough is used.
  6. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until centers are set.
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack

2012′s 12 Months of Giveaways {Giveaway 2: Bon Appétit} CLOSED

february 2012 cover 300 2012′s 12 Months of Giveaways {Giveaway 2: Bon Appétit} CLOSED

It’s the 12th day of the month, so that means it’s giveaway time. This time around, a one-year subscription to Bon Appétit Magazine is up for grabs.

The February 2012 cover image above features foods from the South: fried chicken, deviled eggs, chicken and dumplings, banana cream pie, and more. All you need to do for a chance to win is comment on this blog post with the answer to the question, “What is your favorite southern-style food?”

If you would like to earn an additional entry, simply “Like” this blog post. The contest will end at 1201 a.m. EST on February 19. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter.

Good Luck!!

 ***This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you for entering!***

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