Tag Archives: Royal Icing

Halloween Cookies and Cupcakes

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This Halloween, beside the cake pops that I made, I also made the witch cupcakes again, and spider cookies. The cupcakes were to test if I had learned anything from last year; I think I did. The cookies are because both daughters sent me pointers to them, so I felt I should try them. Interesting enough, the article does not specify a cookie, but only the decorations- use any cookie.

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The biggest problem I seemed to have last year with the witch cupcakes was I thought the buttercream frosting sagged, and the witch face went into the cupcake. So I took an idea from the Christmas Tree cupcakes, and made the buttercream frosting much thicker so that it wouldn’t sag. I added 3/4 cup extra powdered sugar for 1 pound of powdered sugar in the recipe for The Decorette Shop’s Butter Cream Frosting. I think that did the trick. In fact, the frosting was thick enough that I was able to make long noses on the witches.

And of course, now that I know where to buy eyes (The Decorette Shop), I gave my witches buggy eyes. The eyes have imperfections where the pupils are not always centered; this gives the witches a wandering eye look where sometimes the eyes don’t look in the same direction.

For a cupcake, I chose to use the Black and White Irish Cream Cupcake recipe but to make it all chocolate. The only difference was that I added 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate to the entire batter rather than dividing the batter in half and only adding 3 ounces to one half of the batter. And I didn’t have the problem of filling the cupcake papers since I wasn’t trying to keep the black and white theme.

I had leftover ganache from when I had made the original cupcakes, and so after cutting the cone out of the cupcake for the hat, I frosted the cupcakes with the ganache to minimize their drying out. Then I piped the extra stiff green Butter Cream Frosting into the hollow and let it build up to create the head. I gave the buttercream a 24 hour wait to allow it to dry and crust before I tried decorating it. Meanwhile, I made the witches’ hats, including piping the orange band to fill in around the edge of the cone. Both the orange band and the black mouth are colored Royal Icing made from the Decorette Shop recipe; I like working with the Royal Icing for decorations as it drys quickly and hard. I also used it as the glue for fastening the cone to the chocolate wafer, and later for fastening the hat to the head.

When I attached the hats to the heads, I needed to flatten a spot on top of the head so the hat had an area of contact. After piping the heads, the top was left most often as a point. It turned out easy to cut off a small amount of the green buttercream to make the flat spot.

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For the spider cookies, I started by making a batch of Ethel’s Sugar Cookies as cutout cookies, rolling the dough out and cutting it with a 2 3/4 inch biscuit cutter. I like the results of that recipe for keeping its shape with little spread. Then I used brown Royal Icing to pipe the spider’s legs.

While I was making certain the legs were drying, I unwrapped my Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and used the brown Royal Icing to attach the eyes. Then a little Royal Icing on the top of the peanut butter cup and invert it onto the center of the legs for the spider.

Here is The Decorette Shop’s Butter Cream Frosting recipe:

BUTTERCREAM

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Hi-Ration Shortening (a Decorette Shop product)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2 to 3 drops Butter FLavor (also available at the Decorette Shop)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. vanila
  • 1/4 tsp. Almond Flavor
  • 1 Tbsp. meringue powder (also available at the Decorette Shop)
  • 1 lb. powder sugar

Directions

Put all ingredients in bowl and beat at medium speed for 10 minutes.

Cutout Cookies

All Collage

I have written about cutout cookies before, so I will try to bring everything together in this article. Cutout Cookies are fun for either the little ones, or even older kids-at-heart. It was a ritual in our house for the girls to decorate cookies; I have a blurry picture of when they were just 6 and 8 years old sitting up at the kitchen counter decorating cookies. And a few years ago, we had an adult decorating party where all of us were over 65 years of age.

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Over the Christmas Holidays, I took all my cookie decorating supplies to Seattle; Mindy wanted to learn about decorating cookies like I showed in my article about the cookie decorating class. While my results are in that article, these snowflakes are what she created.

About a year ago, I spent considerable time trying to find a recipe that would allow me to make cutout cookies that didn’t spread when cooked. I wanted to make two identical hearts such that I could stack them. I wanted to cut a small heart out of the top cookie so that I could fill it with red for a different valentine cookie. I never did solve the spread problem, but I found that Short Bread cookies seemed to spread the least. So, I initially said that we should use Short Bread cookies for cutout cookies.

Then, I took the Decorette Shop‘s cookie decorating class; they were using Sugar Cookies for cutouts! So after class, I came home and pulled out several recipes and started testing them as the basis for my cutout cookies. I had also learned between the class and one of the recipes I found that I should freeze the cookies before cooking them to reduce the spread. So I am putting all that new knowledge into this article and recipe for cutout cookies.

Ethel’s Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Cream the shortening, butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add eggs and flavoring and mix until creamy.
  • Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Divide the dough into two parts; put each part in a sheet of plastic wrap.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • On a lightly floured surface, unwrap one package of dough and roll to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Cut out the desired figures with cookie cutters and place on an un-greased baking sheet. If NOT icing the cookies, sprinkle with sugar before cooking.
  • Put the baking sheet with the cutout cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Reshape the leftover dough into a disk and re-wrap it in the plastic wrap and put it back in the refrigerator to cool.
  • Bake the cookies from the freezer for 8-10 minutes; let the cookies cool on the baking sheet elevated on a cooling rack for 3 minutes before moving the cookies off the baking sheet onto a cooling rack.
  • While baking the first batch of cutout cookies, use the second package of cooled dough and repeat the above directions for rolling, cutting and freezing.
  • Keep the cookies perfectly float from the time they come from the oven until they are completely cooled on the racks; otherwise they will break. If they do break, try to fit them together again immediately. If that doesn’t work, you will be able to glue them together with icing later.


I originally thought that Royal Icing was just powdered sugar and water. That was what we used when the group of “over 65 years” decorated cookies. The problem is that the icing is too thin, and you can not pipe it into dams to stop the slow bleeding of colors into each other. Again, I learned that you need to thicken the icing and pipe dams around each color when I attended the cookie decorating class.

Decorette Shop Royal Icing

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup meringue powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 5 1/2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar

Directions:

Place in grease-free bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.

Now the trick is to use this Royal Icing. The recipe gives you a version of icing that can be piped. Two things are now necessary. First, take some of the icing and place it in a clean bowl and add the food coloring you want to use. I actually decided that the Decorette Shop was correct and bought the “gel paste” food colors as they do not add a lot of moisture into the icing. but you can use the more liquid food colors available at food stores; just remember you may need to add more powdered sugar to take up the extra moisture and keep the icing pipe-able.

Once the icing is colored, you will want to thin out part of it so that it self-levels when put on the cookie. So first load some of the colored icing into your piping bag with a small(#3 or #4) tip. This will be used to build dams around the areas you want to color. Thin the rest of the icing with a very small amount of water; like a teaspoon amount at a time, and then mix it in real well. You are trying to thin the icing to the point that when you drop some of it back into the dish, it self levels in about 5 seconds.

Hints and Suggestions

  • Don’t try to cut out cookies with the plastic cutters that are only 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep, and have all the interesting markings that are suppose to transfer to the cookie. They are not worth the money. They sash the dough and it ends up stuck in the cutter. After trying to use them, I have settled on using only outline shaped cutters that are at least as deep as the dough is rolled out.
  • To measure 1/4 inch thick for rolling out the dough, I made a couple sticks that I place on either side of the dough, close enough so the rolling pin stays at that height. I know you can buy bands that fit on the ends of your rolling pin to keep the correct thickness, too. I have also used a section of clothes closet dowel as a longer rolling pin so the dough can be rolled out wider, and more cookies can be cut at one time.
  • If you break a cookie, you can use Royal Icing as glue to put it back together.
  • At some point, the two packages of dough in the refrigerator will need to be brought together.

If you want to get more decorating ideas beyond just colored icing, you might look at the article I wrote after attending the cookie decorating class. You will find it here.

Decorating Cookies Class

Recently, I took a Cookie Decorating Class at the Decorette Shop. I thought it would be interesting to talk about what I learned. The idea of the class was to prepare us to decorate Holiday Season cutout cookies. The Shop provided everything.

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On the table when we sat down were several piping bags with different color Royal Icing in them. And with each color, there was a squeeze-bottle of the same color Royal Icing. Notice the twist-em on the piping bag; a neat trick to keep the content from coming back up to the top and out onto your hand.

I asked about the formula for Royal Icing; it was listed on a paper each student received. Since I learned to ice cookies using a mixture of powder sugar and water, I was curious as to why people add egg white or meringue powder. The recipe also had some cream of tartar listed. The answer I got didn’t satisfy me- I was told the meringue or egg white was necessary for drying. I knew that couldn’t be completely correct since the icing I have used dried. I wondered if it defined the amount of time it took for the icing to dry. Later, at home, I decided I had to experiment. (Searching the internet, I found at least one other cookie decorator that used just moist powder sugar as the icing, but almost everyone uses meringue powder).

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My experiment was to use three recipes for the icing; the Royal Icing recipe I received in the class using meringue powder, the same recipe but substituting egg white for the meringue powder, and then my old recipe of just powder sugar and water. They all dried, and the time it took seemed to be as much a function of the depth of the icing on the cookie as anything else.

On another trip to the Decorette Shop, I was able to talk about Royal Icing with another customer who seemed quite knowledgeable. I had come to believe that the meringue powder was used to give body to the icing, and that was confirmed. In addition, the lady volunteered that the cream of tartar does help the drying and makes the dry icing stronger.

When I mentioned to daughter Mindy that I was looking to suggest that you could avoid buying meringue powder and just use egg white which you probably already have, she got upset and said that there are too many problems with raw egg, and at least she would go out of her way to find meringue powder rather than take any chance on using egg white. There is another problem in substituting egg white for the meringue powder; the egg white is moisture, and so the recipe is wrong for trying to do a straight substitution of a couple egg whites for 4-5 Tablespoons of meringue powder. You end up needing to increase the amount of powder sugar. To keep things simple, I will always use the recipe with meringue powder.

The recipe makes the Royal Icing stiff enough to be piped; the squeeze bottles have the same color thinned to the point that it just flows. We were told that you add water a little at a time until when you drop a spoonful into the dish, it settles and self-levels in about 5 seconds.

Decorating cookies starts with making the cookies. We were also given the recipe for Ethel’s Sugar Cookies. This was interesting since the cookies that were passed out to us for practice were well shaped. I had trouble using Sugar Cookies as the basis for cutouts, and finally went to a Shortbread cookie since it spread less while cooking. So again, when I went home, I started an experiment. With Ethel’s recipe, I found 3 more Sugar Cookie recipes in Marlys’s Recipe Book and two Shortbread Cookie recipes for a total of 6 recipes that I wanted to try and compare. I convinced myself that a crisp Sugar Cookie, when cooked right, is the best cutout cookie.

So what is the cooking trick. First, the dough has to be refrigerated and cooled completely through before rolling it out and die-cutting it. This works best if you divide the dough into two packets so that you are only working with half at a time, and the other half is cooling. It can take up to 45 minutes to cool, and it is best if the packet is wrapped as a thin disk so as much surface area receives the cooling as possible. Second, after rolling out the dough (to 1/4 inch thick) and die-cutting the shapes, the shapes need to be frozen for 10 minutes before being cooked. Place the pan right in the freezer for 10 minutes. (I had trouble with this- my air-bake pans are 15 inches wide and my freezer is 12 inches wide. I was lucky that I use silicon mats on the air-bake pans so I was able to slide the whole mat into the freezer for the 10 minutes. Finally, the temperature of the oven needs to be higher than for normal baking, and the time reduce so the cookies don’t burn. I found the temperature needed to be at least 400 degrees and the cooking time was less than 10 minutes- more like 8 minutes for some recipes.

The final comparison came down to two recipes to be considered; Ethel’s and one of Marlys’s that was labelled Crisp Sugar Cookies and talks about cutouts. Marlys’s recipe tasted sweeter, but was also more complex than Ethel’s; but since we are talking about coating the cookie with sugar, the sweet taste doesn’t seem important, and so I will stick with Ethel’s Sugar Cookie recipe for my cutouts.

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The first thing we learned about decorating was to flood a color. To do this, you pipe a dam around the area to be flooded, then you squeeze out icing into the area. The icing self-levels and you have nice looking color on the cookie. Now we started using some of the other items on the tray on our table. First, we had the circular cookie to be transformed into a snow globe. Here, as soon as we had finished the white flooding, we sprinkled it with very small non-pariels to give it texture. (Almost all the decorating is a combination of color and texture.) The blue was added later after the white had dried for several minutes and we had worked on several other cookies. And even later, we added the snowman and trees; these are bought as pre-made figures.

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For the mitten, after doing the white flooding, we textured the white with a product known as “sanding sugar”. It, like the non-pariels, comes in a multitude of colors.

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Other items on our trays include products known as disco dust and luster dust. We had a stencil that we used on the ornament cookie, and painted through the stencil with a dry water-color brush and the disco dust. The luster dust I used on the snowflake.

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The snowflake shows piping on top of the flooded color. And in the center of the snowflake is a small snowflake that we die-cut from rolled fondant. Then I sprinkled it all with luster dust.

We also used different tips on the piping bags to get other effects. For example, the top of the acorn was given texture using a “leaf”tip on the piping bag.

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We used the “star” tip both to give raised points like on the snowman hat, and to give flowing ridges like on the mustache.

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The green leaf on the hat is another piece of die-cut rolled fondant.

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While there were several other techniques and product about which we learned. I think they will need to wait for another day. Most importantly, from the class, I took away that decorating is using a few techniques with products that combine to develop color and texture. An artist (I’m not) can have real fun starting from these few basics.

Icings, Glazes and Frostings

When I was making the birthday cakes, I was also experimenting with various recipes for icings and frosting. So I thought I should bring all that experimentation together into a single article.
I honestly don’t know how to differentiate the three coatings. The definitions and uses seem to not do that job, so I will try to explain the differences somewhat with examples.

Icings

One definition of icings is “a mixture made from very fine light sugar and liquid, used to cover cakes”. But that could also be a frosting, and indeed, many articles use the term “icing frosting”. I have played with only one icing recipe- I was told it was Royal Icing. I used it to put design on cutout cookies. This is the version I learned from Marlys and Penny DeLancey one evening when we were decorating cutout cookies.

Royal Icing:


• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 1 Tablespoon water
Play with the ratio a little to keep the consistency correct for spreading, but not too wet. If it is too stiff, add more water but not more than a teaspoon at a time. If it is too wet, add more sugar a spoonful at a time. Remember that adding food coloring also adds some moisture so be ready to add more sugar as you are tinting the icing.

I have seen recipes that use milk, orange juice and even rum as the moisture, but remember that the moisture might add color to the resulting icing. Milk and water are best for getting a nice white icing.

I found that the colors of this icing seem to fade and bleed after a couple weeks, so it is not a long term solution.

Since initially publishing this set of recipes, I attended the Decorette Shop’s Cookie Decorating class and learned to use their Royal Icing. I mention the class in a separate article and discuss the use of both the meringue powder and cream of tartar there.

Decorette Shop Royal Icing

  • 1/4 cup meringue powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 5 1/2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar

Place in grease-free bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.

Glazes

A glaze in cooking is a coating of a glossy, often sweet, sometimes savory, substance applied to food. It is a liquid which is put onto food to give it an attractive shiny surface. Glazes are created to make food items more aesthetically pleasing such as adding an egg wash to some baked goods to produce a shiny, golden brown glaze.

I have already published several glaze recipes as part of other recipes. There is a Chocolate Glaze recipe with the Kentucky Chocolate Cake recipe, and there is a Strawberry Glaze recipe with the Strawberry Devonshire Tart recipe.

Here is an Apricot Glaze and a Chocolate Glaze recipe that I use when I make Napoleans.

Apricot Glaze

The straining of the jam takes some effort, so the glaze can be made ahead of time, and then reheated for use.

• 1 bottle Smucker’s Apricot Jam/Preserves (~15 oz.)
• 2 Tablespoons sugar
Force the Jam through a sieve into a sauce pan. Bring the strained jam and the sugar to the boil, for several minutes until last drops of jam to fall from spoon are sticky. Reheat to liquefy again before using.

Chocolate Glaze

The amounts in this recipe are just about right for a small cake – 6.5 x 9 inches or about 60 square inches. It can easily be doubled for a 9 x 13 cake. I have also substituted heavy cream for the ½ & ½ at times when I have used this glaze.

Below, the directions say to microwave until the mixture just begins to steam; this is very important. Otherwise the mixture will burn; 20 seconds can make the difference. So keep checking the plastic wrap; as soon as it shows any moisture and isn’t perfectly clear- stop! You have heated it enough.

• 3 Tablespoons 1/2 & 1/2
• 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (this can be chocolate chips)
• 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

To make the glaze, place the 1/2 & 1/2 and semi-sweet chocolate in a medium, microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 20 seconds at a time, until the mixture just begins to steam. Whisk together thoroughly and add the sugar and whisk until completely smooth.

Frostings:

Generally, frosting is a sweet substance put on cakes and made from powdery sugar and butter. I was going to challenge the idea that it had to have powdered sugar and butter, but then I couldn’t find the exception I needed. So I will let the definition stand.

Marlys had three recipes that had the word “frosting” in their title, and that is what I am giving you here.

Basic Frosting


• 1 lb. powdered sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ½ cup butter, very soft
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
Combine all ingredients and beat 1 minute with electric mixer. Makes enough for an 8 inch layer cake.

This is the recipe I first used; it would be classified as a butter cream frosting. It was so stiff I immediately added 1 Tablespoon milk to get it to come together. It was still very stiff at that point; so stiff I could mold it, and roll it out and die-cut it into shapes. And that is too stiff to pipe. So I added more milk until I got a consistency that I could pipe. Again, there is a balance between the liquid and the powder sugar that you can play with by adding milk or more sugar.

Butter Cream Frosting

(no cooking)

• 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
• 2 2/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
• 1/3 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream butter in small mixer bowl. Add sugar alternately with milk. Beat to spreading consistency – adding additional milk if needed. Blend in vanilla. Makes about 2 cups frosting.

As it says, this is another Butter Cream frosting recipe, and probably is a better starting point than the Basic Frosting recipe if you need a spreadable frosting. It won’t be as stiff as the first recipe, and so you will not be able to mold or roll it out.

Basic Cream Cheese Frosting


• 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
• 8 oz. butter, room temperature
• 1 lb. powdered sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla
• Milk as needed

I went to this frosting for the turtle cake I made for the birthday. I thought the cream cheese would give the frosting more body that a butter cream frosting, and would help bridge the spaces between cupcakes. It worked as I needed it to work, but I do not think it was stiffer than a butter cream frosting. In fact, I was delighted at how nicely it spread and could be smoothed.

I used Hershey’s cocoa to get the brown color. I used about half the recipe colored brown, and that was about ½ cup of the cocoa powder. Adding the cocoa powder, because it is dry, stiffened the frosting and I had to add milk in order to pipe it. Likewise the half of the recipe I colored green with food coloring got too soft from the moisture in the food coloring by the time I got the deep green I wanted, and I had to add more powder sugar for consistency.

If you need a perfect white frosting, then you might want to buy some “clear vanilla extract”; it is made specifically for the purpose of getting the slight brown of regular vanilla out of the frosting. To eliminate the yellow of the butter, you can use white shortening with two Tablespoons of water.

More recently, I wanted a frosting that would crust, had chocolate in it, and was basically light in color, like white. I found this recipe:

Crusting White Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup Hi Ratio Shortening
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. white baking chocolate (not chips)
  • 3 1/2 cups (1 lb.) powder sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. meringue powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  • Cream the shortening, cream cheese and butter in the mixer
  • In a double boiler, melt the white chocolate and set aside to cool
  • With the mixer on low, slowly pour the white chocolate into the creamed mixture
  • add the vanilla
  • Incorporate the powdered sugar and meringue powder to form a smooth buttercream

Fondant

When I started working on the birthday cakes, I knew fondant as something that would fall into one of the above categories – either an icing or a glaze. I used it as an icing on napoleons when I make them. But what I make is Sugar Fondant. It is fun to make, and easy to use. It does not do a good job in decorations as I learned. For that, there is something called Rolled Fondant; I bought it at the Decorette Shop in a 2 pound container. I do not know how to make it from scratch.

The fondant requires kneading and can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or even frozen. I put mine in 3 separate containers of about 1 cup each and then freeze it; when I need some, I can defrost in the refrigerator for a day a single cup at a time.

Sugar Fondant


• A marble surface, jellyroll pan or cookie sheet
• A heavy bottomed 2 quart sauce pan
• A cover for the pan
• 3 Tablespoons white corn syrup
• 1 cup water
• 3 cups pure cane sugar
• A candy thermometer (238 degrees) or quart of cold water and metal spoon
• Painter’s spatula, pastry scraper, or stout, short metal pancake turner
The syrup is to be poured onto the marble/pan/cookie sheet which should be ready before you begin. Dissolve the corn syrup in a small amount of water in the sauce pan; pour in the rest of the water and the sugar. Set over moderately high heat. Swirl the pan slowly by its handle, but DO NOT stir sugar with a spoon while liquid is coming to the boil. Continue swirling for a moment when liquid boils and changes from cloudy to perfectly clear. Cover pan, raise heat to high, and boil for several minutes until bubbles have thickened slightly. Uncover, insert candy thermometer if you have one, and continue boiling for a few minutes to the soft-ball stage, 238 degrees: drops of syrup hold their shape softly when formed into a ball in cold water. (Note: if you do not boil to the soft-ball stage, the fondant will be too soft; if you boil to the hard-ball stage, it will be hard to knead and difficult to melt when you want to use it).

Immediately pour the syrup onto the marble or pan or sheet. Let cool about 10 minutes, until barely tepid but not quite cold to the touch; when you press it lightly, you can see the surface wrinkle.

As soon as fondant is ready, start kneading it vigorously with the scraper, spatula, or turner: push it up into a mass, spread it out again, and repeat the movement for 5 minutes or more. After several minutes of kneading, the syrup will begin to whiten; as you continue to knead, it will gradually turn into a crumbly snow-white mass, and finally stiffen so that you can no longer knead it. It is now officially and actually, fondant. Do not be discouraged, however, it it takes longer than 5 to 8 minutes or even 10 minutes to turn to fondant; go off and leave it for 5 minutes; come back and knead it again- eventually it will turn. (you might have started to knead it before it was quite ready for you).

Although you can use the fondant immediately, it will have a better texture and sheen if you let it rest at least 12 hours. Pack it into an air-tight container, topped with a dampened cheesecloth, cover, and refrigerate. As long as the top is damp, fondant will keep for months and months.

When you are ready to use your fondant, you will want to combine it with a flavoring. Flavoring may be 1 or 2 Tablespoons of kirsch, rum, orange liqueur or strong coffee, or just a teaspoon of vanilla with a tablespoon of water. There is enough liquid in the liqueurs and coffee that more water isn’t needed; only with the lesser amount of vanilla is extra water needed.

Combine the fondant with your flavoring in a bowl that is in a pan of simmering water. Stir thoroughly, reaching all over the bowl as the fondant slowly softens and turns into a perfectly smooth, glossy cream that coats the spoon fairly heavily. Use immediately.

Because the sugar fondant keeps so well in the freezer, it really is a good icing for use on harder surfaced items like the napoleons (pate a choux) and cookies. For softer items like cakes, and you need a fondant, you should probably learn to use a Rolled Fondant.

Rolled Fondant

As I mentioned, I bought some rolled fondant at the Decorette shop and used it to form some decorations. I did not try to roll it out and cover a cake. They did tell me, though, that when you use it to cover a cake, you first frost the cake with a butter cream frosting under the fondant. I also know that the fondant dries very hard; Jenn and James said that their wedding cake had a smooth fondant covering and after the first day, the covering was so hard they could barely get through it.

Gum Paste

The final category I want to mention is Gum Paste. This is a product that is used to make decorations; the very realistic flowers that you find on cakes are probably gum paste. It is very moldable, and dries very hard; it will keep for years. So I find it non-eatable, and would not use it for decorations on a cake that will be shared with young children. They like to eat the decorations. But if you find the need for extremely realistic decorations, you might want to consider gum paste. You can buy many decorations already made at places like the Decorette Shop; because they do not go bad, the shop can afford to have them available for purchase.

Most ganaches are a combination of chocolate and heavy cream in equal parts. Sometimes you need to change the ratio, or add additional fat in order to get the ganache to set- be less liquidy. If you run into trouble because the ganache won’t set up, you can always reheat it and then add more chocolate pieces.

Ganaches


White Chocolate Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
16 oz. white chocolate
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp chocolate extract.