Friday, September 21, 2012

Marshmallow fondant changed my life

Two posts in the same week!  But this is too good not to share. 

Over the years I've gotten used to being up past 2am the night before birthday parties, decorating the cake.  Partly it's my own procrastination, but it's also my inability to work on things like this with kids around.  And frosting takes me a long time to get right.

With Little Brother's birthday theme being yet again cops and robbers, I thought we'd have ourselves a real cops-and-robbers game in the backyard, complete with money bags stolen by the robbers (conscripted dad and older brothers), a police station, handcuffs, and 6-year-olds running around armed with mini-nerf guns.  The requisite pinata was the easiest ever (brown paper bag filled with candy and tied with string), and the cake took less than an hour to assemble.

I'd prebaked the cake in a friend's giant cupcake pan, and then smoothed it out with a coat of buttercream, but this is what you really want to know about:  How to make marshmallow fondant.

I pretty much followed her instructions, using a 10.5 oz bag of minimarshmallows, flavoring with almond extract and throwing in about a tbsp of cocoa to tint it light brown.  It was easier to make than homemade playdough, and is very easy to work with if you have lots of powdered sugar in the bowl and on the work surface (I put in 3 cups which turned out to be way more than I needed, but that also made it very easy to work with since it didn't stick to anything.)  It was softest and easiest to roll out and work with while still warm, but even after it cooled it was still very pliable.  It tastes pretty much as you'd expect: straight sugar, lightly flavored, but you make fondant for its decorative possibilities, not for its taste.

Now I am a whole 2 hours ahead of schedule, even with a blog post thrown in.  Life changing, I tell you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Edible Lego Minifigures

Another year, another birthday... but still legos and police.  At Little Brother's insistence, this year we got a bit more adventurous and tried for colorful minifigures on the cupcakes using candy melts instead of chocolate.

Here's how:

Start with some colored candy melts.  Melt them in the microwave in snack-sized ziplock bags at 50% power.

Snip a small hole in a corner, and squeeze melted candy into a silicone minifigure mold.   The consistency is like toothpaste, so it will hold its shape.  Try not to think about how much fat saturation that takes.  Start with the head and a small dab for each hand.

Repeat with color of choice for shirt and pants

Shake or tap mold quickly for about 10-20 seconds to liquefy the melts and release air bubbles (which you should see come up to the top and pop).

Let harden in the fridge or freezer, then pop them out.

Pipe on some faces (black decorator's icing here, but you could use candy melts too) and you are all set.
And for some truly spectacular Halloween treats, check these out.