Sunday, July 13, 2014

Poached Eggs

This recipe comes from an article on the NPR website by Janet A. Zimmerman. This is the best way I've found to poach eggs! I just use a smallish pan and guess at the amounts of salt and vinegar. The problem is that I never can remember whether it's more salt or more vinegar!

1 1/2 tsp vinegar
1 T salt
Eggs--as fresh as you can get them

Crack the eggs into strainers to remove excess whites. Bring a sufficient amount of water to boil (at least an inch over the eggs when they sink down to the bottom of the pan). Add salt and vinegar and turn down the temperature. Simmer for three minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain briefly by touching the spoon to a paper towel. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Marshmallow Fonadant

I copied all of this from the Wilton discussion group. Everything you need to know about Marshmallow Fondant! Thank you to those wonderful people who share their knowledge!
Marshmallow fondant is fabulous! I love the taste and it is very easy to work with. Wilton fondant is wonderful to work with but just tastes awful!!!!! I can't bring myself to place it on a cake and go through all that work for someone to give a horrible "face" and peel it off and eat the buttercream icing that lies below.

The recipe is as follows:

Marshmallow fondant
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 tbsp water
1 1/2- 1 3/4 cup powder sugar

Place marshmallows in a standard 1 cup measuring cup and push down and pack them in. Place in a microwave safe bowl and add the water. Put in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Just long enough for them to soften and puff up. Take out and stir with a spoon until it is combined well. At this point it looks kind of soupy. Then add the sugar and mix and fold until all is incorporated and it is no longer sticky. I take it out of the bowl when it gets to the point where most of the sugar is incorporated and I knead it in my hands. This takes roughly about 5-7 minutes. Take a fondant roller or a regular rolling pin and roll out just as you would Wilton's fondant. You can get this fondant almost paper thin and it also repairs well. It's cheap, easy to work with, and tastes great too.

You can make a large batch of this fondant as well by doing this:

Large batch of Marshmallow fondant
1- 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows
2 tbsps water
2 lbs powdered sugar (8 cups)

Do the same procedure as above.

Tips for success from Bunny:
I add any flavor Lorann Oil flavorings to this. Something that will compliment my cake well. What I do is cut back on the water and add about 1/8 tsp Lorann flavoring. You can certainly add more (especially if I make the large batch) for a more of a pungent flavor, just adjust the water amount accordingly. *****The more liquid you add to this will make it stickier to work with. Try to be accurate in measuring the liquid.*****

If it is way to sticky to work with then cut back on the amount of liquid that you used by about 1/2 tsp. This will help.
Let it sit out and "air dry" for about 10 minutes.
Use a small amount of Crisco on your work surface and hands. A little goes a very long ways so don't go over board with the Crisco.

Knead the dough with a spoon!!!!! Do not attempt to pick it up and knead it too soon. This dough is hot when comes right out of the microwave!!!!! I say this because I have had people contact me saying they received a burn from it. I can almost knead it fully with a spoon.

Dough that is not in use must stay covered with plastic wrap or it will dry out. Or place it in a Ziploc bag. That works too.

Dried out Marshmallow fondant: place it back into the microwave and nuke it for a few seconds to revive it back to its original state. The bigger the batch the more time on the microwave. Example: small batch 3-5 seconds.......large batch about 10 seconds. Microwaves vary too so keep that in mind.

Coloring: well I have experimented with this several different ways. If I want to make the whole batch of Marshmallow fondant one color then I have added the color, just Wilton paste color, Americolors, or Chefmaster colors.....any will work for this, when I pull the bowl out of the microwave when it looks "soupy". Stirred it up and then added the powdered sugar. Otherwise I have added it after it has come together and kneaded it in by hand. I use plastic gloves too when I do this, because otherwise your hands are never the same!!!!

You can work with this just as you would the regular fondant. Pizza rollers cut this very well. Ribbon cutters work fabulous too for this. I can make bows and drapes, push molds etc with this. I love the taste of this stuff. Great on the pocketbook too!!!!!!

If I left anything out please feel free to contact me. If anyone wants to add to this message PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DO SO. This way newcomers and old timers here have a reference to do a "search" on.

The outer perimeter will dry somewhat, but it doesn't dry rock hard like I had happen to me with the regular fondant. I roll this very thin. Be careful not to add too much powdered sugar or you might have problems with cracking. To prevent the cracking issue just rub it with a tiny bit of Crisco. I usually put some Crisco on my hands, just enough to give it a gloss look to it, and then knead the dough a little and that helps if it wants to crack on me. You can add a couple of drops of water too to replenish it back.

For Chocolate Marshmallow Fondant:
Add 1 oz melted chocolate.
1 tbsp cocoa powder to the basis recipe.

For White chocolate Marshmallow fondant:
Add 1 oz (maybe 1 1/4 oz) good quality white chocolate, melted to the basic recipe above.
I use this if I want a white chocolate flavor and a "white" color.

1 cup of mini marshmallow = 100 small or 10 large

Chocolate fondant..........I add good quality chocolate to my marshmallow fondant. I prefer Lindt or Ghirardelli. It just makes it taste better. I want everything to be palate pleasing. You can add candy melts if you so choose. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Just depends on your taste buds.

Using big marshmallows? I have gotten a response back from a decorator and said that they tried it and had bad results. I have not personally tried it myself. I stick with the mini marshmallows. my grocery store the mini ones cost less too. Odd? I know........

Molding? YES!!!!!!! I have had great results with this. I use push in molds and basically anything I can get my hands on. I dust the ball of fondant with cornstarch before I push it in the mold OR I place a "gloss" of Crisco on my hands and roll the ball between my hands and then press it into the mold. This helps for easy release.

Cornstarch VS. Powdered sugar? Well I did an experiment after hearing RuthMarie had such great results with the cornstarch for rolling out the marshmallow fondant. This did work rather well for me. Big THANK YOU TO RUTH MARIE for posting her results and tip of the cornstarch. It makes total sense to use cornstarch as an alternative to powdered sugar as cornstarch is what is on marshmallows to begin with. Don't misunderstand me I still use the Crisco too when rolling, prevent stickiness.

I do want to clarify something here though. I AM NOT TAKING CREDIT for this recipe. I got this from a dear friend of mine by the name of Amie. I am not quite sure where she obtained this from. I met Amie at an Iowa Day of Sharing that I hosted......and we had a blast!!!! She brought all the supplies to make this and extra balls of fondant for all in attendance to play with that day. I was so intrigued by this I went home and "played" with the fondant. I wanted to see exactly what I could do with it. It has been a big experiment for me and allot of trial and error. I now just love this stuff. So the credit goes to Amie.

make sure you add extra water when you use the larger marshmallows

For starters please except my apology for not getting to this sooner. I am back up to the busy season at work and putting in 65+ hours a week, PLUS taking care of the kids, hubby, and house. I try to log back in on the weekends if I can to catch up, but sometimes things get a little hectic around my house. So I am sorry if this is late in answering your questions. If you don't hear from me just drop me a line at home and I get that daily with updates from my hubby.

Okay.........Marie Louise: I don't make a lot of large batches of the Marshmallow fondant. I strictly stick with the small batch as it fits my needs. I don't have a lot of orders for the whole entire cake covered in fondant. It is not a huge seller in my neck of the woods. I use it more so for decorations and molding and such. When I have made the large batch it has worked for me to do it just as the recipe states. I totally understand where you are coming from in your question. What you can do if you question the amount of powdered sugar is try to make it with less and see what results you have with it. Please keep me posted to your results as I love to hear the comments. Like I say......I haven't had a problem. I just stick to the recipe. As for the chocolate fondant....... I prefer to use melted chocolate. I like the texture that it gives. I have tried to use just the cocoa powder and did have good results with that. I sifted the cocoa first before adding it into the fondant. Then I have also tried to add both melted and sifted powdered cocoa together. That also did work fairly well for me too. I was just experimenting with it and what ingredients that I had on hand for that particular day. All worked well, but my choice is the melted way.

Jenn 2179: How are things going on the second attempt?

Misseyek: I use just plain old water to attach my fondant pieces to one another. It works like a charm. I have never had a problem doing it in this manner.

Christine: You're very welcome. I bet your cake will be the hit of the party. It sounds fabulous!!!! Your little one's face will light up and that is such a great feeling as a cake decorator......not to mention a MOM too.

Maggie: Most companies now a days list directly on their package that there is the risk of an allergen in their product. Whether or not you might think it shouldn't have say for instance peanuts/nuts in a product they always list on their package that there might be the risk of them in existence. It is a disclaimer. That way if someone gets sick (or violently ill) they can't be sued. In some companies they make more than one product and even though the production lines might be 100 yards away from one another there IS still that risk that it is floating in the ventilation system of the plant.
Some Wilton instructors require you to use the Wilton fondant. If that were the case then I would follow their guidelines. You will get the feel for how it is to work with and such and set the ground work for your knowledge with it. However, you can inquire that you have a new recipe and that you would like to try it in class. Never can hurt to ask right?
I store my fondant in a Ziploc bag OR I wrap it in plastic wrap. If it is unused and sits out.....uncovered........ it will dry. Same rules apply for this fondant as does Wilton's.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mocha Almond Petit Fours

Almond Cake:
8 oz almond paste
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ sticks butter, soft
4 eggs
½ cup cake flour
½ cup bread flour

--Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare 12x18 sheet pan by greasing and lining with parchment paper.
--Soften almond paste by beating it for several minutes with the paddle. Add a little egg to soften, then add the sugar and butter and cream till very light, about 7 minutes.
--Pour the eggs in very slowly, taking about 5 minutes over all.
--Stir in the flour and spread into the pan. Spread out and bake till firm, about 20 minutes.
--Remove from oven, let sit in pan 5 minutes and remove from tray. When cool, cut in thirds.

Prepare simple syrup:
½ cup hot espresso
¼ cup sugar
3 T cream de cocoa
--Mix all ingredients till the sugar is dissolved.

Prepare the ganache filling:
8 oz bittersweet chocoate
2 oz milk chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

--Boil the cream and then pour over the chocolate. Stir till combined and let cool to room temperature.

Assemble the petit fours:
--Brush one cake layer with simple syrup and then spread some ganache on it. Top with next layer and repeat twice.
--Freeze cakes overnight.
--Cut cakes into desired sizes.

Prepare ganache fondant:
2 cups cream
2 cups bittersweet chocolate
2 tsp vanilla

--Boil cream, pour over chocolate and combine. Add vanilla.

Pour ganache over cakes, which have been placed on a wire cooling rack. Decorate as desired. Suggestion: chocolate covered coffee bean.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Black Forest Petit Fours

½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 ½ cups sugar
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 large eggs
¼ cup strong coffee (or 3 T espresso powder and ¼ cp warm water)

¾ cup yogurt

  • Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare 2 9 X 5 loaf pans by greasing and lining with wax paper.
  • Combine all the dry ingredients together. Add softened butter and beat for 2 minutes on low.
  • Combine all the wet ingredients together. Add these to the flour-butter mixture one-third at a time, beating for 2 minutes on medium speed between each addition.
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake for 50minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a rack and cool completely.

simple syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup kirschwasser

  • Heat and stir till sugar is dissolved.
  • Set aside to cool. When cooled add kirschwasser.


1 jar tart cherry preserves

  • Mince in food processor.

  • When the cakes are cool, cut them into ⅜” slices and brush the tops with syrup.
  • Spread a thin layer of cherry preserves over half of the slices and top with the other slices.
  • Place slices on cookie sheets and put in freezer.

ganache fondant:
2 cups cream
2 cups bittersweet chocolate
2 tsp vanilla

  • Boil cream, pour over chocolate and combine. Add vanilla.
  • Reheat on low as needed.

1 cup water
2 tsp almond extract
2 tsp clear vanilla extract
2 tsp butter flavor
3 cp Crisco
¼ tsp popcorn salt
2 T meringue powder
4 T cornstarch
4 lb powdered sugar

  • Pour flavorings in a cup. Add water to equal 1 cup. Stir in salt.
  • Cream Crisco till smooth.
  • With mixer on low, slowly add flavorings and water.
  • Add meringue powder and cornstarch. Cream together well.
  • Add sugar in two batches, stirring to incorporate.
  • Beat till smooth.


  • Drain juice from maraschino cherries and place on paper towels.
  • Remove cake slices from freezer. Using a 1 ¾” round cutter, cut each (sandwiched) slice into four rounds.
  • Place rounds on cooling rack over a rimmed cookie sheet.
  • Pour ganache over cakes, making sure all sides are covered. When pan is empty, move the cooling rack over to the other cookie sheet and scrape the fondant back into the pan. If there are any crumbs, pick them out with a knife or toothpick.
  • As soon as the cakes are dried, slide a thin metal spatula underneath them and transfer them to a parchment-lined cookie sheet for decorating.
  • Pipe a swirl of buttercream on each cake and top with a maraschino cherry.
  • Makes 24 1 ¾” petit fours.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Susan's Ratatouille

This recipe comes from a book Susan bought in Germany called Knoblauch Kueche, which means Garlic Cuisine, and everything is made with garlic. We enjoyed this recipe many times and she made it for me again when I was in NZ visiting her. It is simple but so good!

For 6-8 people.

2 big onions, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed
4 T olive oil
2 medium-sized eggplants, cubed
3 big red bell peppers, seeded and cut in strips
2 medium-sized zucchini, sliced
650 g ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 T sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley, minced
Cheese, grated (parmesan) (optional)

Saute the onion and garlic over medium heat ca. 15 minutes till translucent. Add eggplant, red pepper and zucchini .Stir and then let cook 30 minutes covered, till the vegetables are soft. Add tomatoes and sugar and simmer another 5 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle with parsley and cheese (optional).