Saturday, February 26, 2011

Looking Forward to Spring - Petit Fours

Somehow, I am still obsessed with Petit Fours.  Last time I made the poured fondant from scratch, and while not impossible, it still seems like a lot of work and I'd like to get the process down so that I can glaze the tops of cupcakes.  I have seen a few people on the web using a Martha Stewart recipe that seemed interesting because it is semi-heated.  I tried it this week and it sure is pretty close to the real thing.  There is a hint of the chewiness that I like, but unfortunately there is still a wee 'gritty' feeling that comes from the icing sugar.  Maybe I am being too picky and perhaps as few have ever tried the real thing, the loveliness of the dessert will overwhelm any sense of them not being 'exactly' right.  I think next time I am going to add a few sprinkles before the glaze sets as these seem too plain to me.  Or perhaps the blossoms need a hint of petal dust for oomph.  Not sure, but I will work on it!
Last time I made the marzipan to top the cake and for the life of me I can't remember which recipe I used????  There are a lot to choose from out there and I bookmarked a bunch of recipes, but forgot to note which I used.  So I bought some for these.  Something to be said for not having to make everything!

I've rewritten the glaze recipe, because there is an irritating ad to skip over before you can view the recipe on

Petit Fours Glaze

9 cups sifted icing sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup water
gel paste colouring

In a heatproof bowl set over (not touching) simmering water, mix sugar, corn syrup, water, and extracts together until they are warm and smooth.  Stir in enough food colouring until desired tint is reached.  Do not overheat.  Let cool about 8 minutes before pouring

This recipe says it is enough for 32 Petit Fours and I was only making 16, so I halved it and still had lots left over.  In order to try this, I found that the batter left over from a cake I was baking, put into a 6" square pan, was a perfect amount to split and make the Petit Fours about 1"x 1" each.  This way I wasn't dipping all night and faced with way more sweets than I could handle.  Eventually, I think even my co-workers may want to call a timeout from the sugar!!

Here you can sort of see the sheen on the glaze, which is nice - that's what I'm looking for in the finish.  The photos aren't the best  - I find trying to take these at night with regular lights, even if I compensate with the white balance - doesn't take nice pictures.  I hope to get some done one night before a day off, so that I can photograph them in natural light.  
On a side note: I had to trim some cupcake wrappers for them to fit nicely, mini sized ones were too small and regular ones were too tall.  I took off less than 1/4 inch.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sweet Valentine's Treats

I realize it is a few days late, but when it comes to sweet things - better late than never right?
The Vanilla Bean Sandwich cookies are from a recipe on the food blog Smitten Kitchen.  I love this recipe because it is versatile and freezes well.  I've even substituted a gluten free flour and the texture of the cookie remained wonderful snap crunchy.  Instead of flattening balls of dough, which does give lovely edges, I rolled and cut out hearts for the holiday.  Some were filled with a vanilla bean butter cream and the other half with a dark chocolate ganache - like a Fudgeo, but better!

 These above are a smaller bite-sized cookie.  I do have a slightly bigger cutter that is almost a 'folk art' style heart and that is the one I really like to use.  They turn out a perfect sized cookie.  Glass of milk anyone?

For the folks at work I made some chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing.    I dug a small divot into each cupcake and filled it with the remaining ganache.  It was either that or squeeze it into my mouth and I had already exceeded my sugar intake for the month eating the remaining sandwich cookies.  I am still trying to find the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe.  This one is close, but I think I could still get them a little more chocolately.
 I am also struggling to get those perfect domed tops.  I tried playing with the oven temperature to see if that worked.  They did dome up better, but were lopsided!  I know it's not an uneven heating because the direction was different on various's a mystery.  I hope that my cupcake class at the Cordon Bleu school this weekend with give me a chance to get some answers.

The white chocolate heart toppers were super easy to make with Merkins wafers and a disposable piping bag.  I just piped loads of them in different shapes and picked the ones I liked best.  If you pipe them so that the bottom of the heart is a little elongated, it makes a perfect stick to anchor the heart in the icing.

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!!!