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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Eyeball Cupcakes

This'll be one of the quickest blog posts ever, because, well, we have a party to throw! I have a feeling you can follow along with a minimum of text, anyway. Bake a batch of cupcakes… 
 …frost them with white frosting when they're cool…
 …press a green gummy apple ring in the center…
 …and press a black M&M in the center.
 Load a bag with red icing, such as Wilton Ready-to-Use Decorator Icing and a round tip (I used a #4). Pipe a scattering of veins around the perimeter on the white frosting (as usual, I'm inspired by the letters I, V, and Y when creating veins).
 Set these cupcakes anywhere near children and watch them disappear! Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spooky Rice Krispy Treats

Rice Krispy Treats are one of my favorite desserts for a crowd: they're cheap, relatively healthy, can be made in minutes, and always result in an empty pan. I stick to the classic recipe, more or less. You'll need 4 cups of FRESH mini marshmallows (or 40 large, which increases the melting time), 6 cups of Rice Krispies (I think it's worth it to splurge on Kellogg's; leave the generic on the shelf), half a stick of butter, and a very full teaspoon of vanilla. You'll also need a heavy pot, a wooden spoon, and a greased 13x9" pan. Keep some butter handy to grease your fingers during a later step. 
 Melt the butter over medium heat.
 Add the mini marshmallows…
 …and stir until they're melted.
 Add the teaspoon of vanilla (which should be in a mise en place bowl, so you don't need to fumble around with the vanilla bottle, the teaspoon, etc.).
 Add the Rice Krispies, remove from heat, and stir until evenly coated.
 Dump the mixture into the greased pan. You can use the knife from cutting the stick of butter in half earlier to remove every last bit of the mixture out of the pot (without scraping the pot, of course). Grease your hands and press the mixture flat into the pan.
 While the mixture is very sticky and still a bit soft, stud the surface with royal icing eyeballs, or any other decorations. You can also tint the marshmallows with food coloring at the same step when you're adding the vanilla. Stretch a piece of plastic wrap over the pan to keep the mixture chewy until you're ready to serve (this step is especially important if you live in a dry climate).  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Royal Icing Eyeballs Version 3

 I thought you'd like to see yet another way to pipe royal icing eyeballs (previous versions are here and here). Start by sticking a parchment square to a flower nail with a dab from a glue stick.
 Load a round #12 tip onto a bag containing stiff consistency white royal icing. Hold the tip at a 45 degree angle to and just above the surface and pipe a ball. Move the tip along while decreasing pressure. Stop pressure and pull the tip away.
 Touch a fingertip to a dusting pouch and tap the end smooth.
 Repeat the process for a second eye, making sure the two are touching.
If you are piping a lot of them, you may want to tape a piece of parchment paper to a cookie sheet instead of using a flower nail. 
 When the icing is completely hard, draw in some pupils with a food-safe marker like the AmeriColor Gourmet Writer. I think these would look really cool positioned on some sort of haunted house cake, peering out of a black window or through the bushes. They can also be used to add all sorts of personality to any small dessert like cupcakes.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Royal Icing Eyeball Version 2

I'll be honest; the blog's going to be way down low on my list of things to do over the next few days while I get ready for The Eye Ball. I'll do my best to get something up here for you folks who have been following along for your daily sugar fix, though! To pipe these flat eyeballs, perfect as a cupcake topper, all you need are stiff consistency royal icing in white, a set of AmeriColor Gourmet Writers (or any food-safe marker), a flower nail, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, round tip #12, a glue stick, and a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch. Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick. 
 Hold the #12 tip just above and at a right angle to the surface. Pipe a ring…
 …and then pipe a dollop in the center.
 Generously dust a fingertip by tapping it against the dusting pouch, and tap the surface flat into a disc. Allow it to dry thoroughly.
Alternately, you can tape a large piece of parchment paper to a cookie sheet and pipe as many eyeballs as you like at once. 
Draw the iris first; it's basically a Lifesaver.
 When the iris is try, draw the outline and the pupil. I like to leave a little of the white visible to suggest a highlight in the pupil.
 Finally, draw in the red veins. Whether I'm painting paper lanterns, piping cupcakes, or decorating white pumpkins, I usually think about the letters I, V, and Y; mix them up to be suitably random (or just write "ivy" again and again).
 I'm hoping to make a cookie pizza; these will be the "pepperoni"!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Royal Icing Crow

Is there an official bird for the month of October? Because it probably ought to be the very cool, somewhat sinister-looking, crow. All you'll need to pipe a flock of crows (also known, rather poetically, as a murder of crows) are stiff consistency royal icing in black, round tips #12, #8, and #2, petal tip #101, oval tip #57, a flower nail, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, parchment paper squares, a glue stick, and a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch. Start by sticking a parchment square to the nail with a dab from the glue stick. 
 Hold the tip just above and at a 45 degree angle to the surface. Pipe a ball, then move the tip along a short distance before stopping pressure and pulling the tip away to form a teardrop. Allow this shape to firm up for a while.
 Switch to the #101 petal tip to pipe the wings. Keep the wide end of the tip toward the middle, just over the "spine." While piping out a wing, gently pulse the tip in and out to form a ruffle that suggests feathers. Repeat on the other side.
 Switch to the #8 tip to pipe the head, which is basically a ball. Touch a fingertip to the dusting pouch and tap down any peak that remains when you pull the tip away.
 Switch to the #55 tip to pipe the beak. Hold the tip against the surface, squeeze, move the tip away a short distance, then stop pressure and pull the tip away. You may need to taper/elongate the beak with dusted fingertips.
 Switch to the #2 tip to pipe two dots for eyes, which you should flatten slightly with a dusted fingertip. Place some of these alongside royal icing headstones for an homage to Six Feet Under. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Royal Icing Mummy Face

There sure are a lot of variations on the mummy cupcake; do a Google image search and see what you come up with! Here's how to make a tiny mummy face, suitable for petits fours, flat-sided cake pops, mini cupcakes, whatever; you could even pipe them directly on Nilla Wafers. You'll need stiff consistency royal icing in white, black, and whatever color you want for the eyes, round tips #3, #8, and #12, ribbon tip #44, a flower nail, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, a glue stick, parchment paper squares, and a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch. Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick. 
 Hold the #12 tip just above and at a right angle to the surface and pipe a ring with the black icing. Touch a fingertip to the dusting pouch and tap the icing into a disc. Allow it to firm up for a few minutes.
 Pipe two dots of yellow (or whatever color) icing with the #8 tip. Flatten them slightly with a dusted fingertip.
 Switch to the #3 tip on the black icing and pipe two dots for pupils. Piping the bandages with the #44 tip requires no instruction; pipe them any way you like. I figured I'd start around the eyes, slightly overlapping them.
 Continue piping strips of white icing until the black is covered. Don't worry too much about asymmetry, ragged edges, etc. When the icing is dry, peel away the parchment and stick this spooky face on any ghoulish dessert you can come up with!



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Royal Icing S'More

I've been doing lots and lots of Halloween projects lately (of course; it's less than a week away!). I'm not sure what would possess me to pipe a tiny little s'more right now during the buildup to this most momentous holiday, other than I think there's something very autumnal about them. All you need to pipe s'mores the size of miniature marshmallows are stiff consistency royal icing in light brown, dark brown, and white, round tip #12, ribbon tips #44 and #45, a glue stick, parchment paper squares, flat toothpicks, a flower nail, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, and a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch. Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick. 
 Pipe a square with tip #45 consisting of two short lengths of light brown icing that touch each other. This is your first "graham cracker."
 Pipe a grid of dark brown squares with the #44 tip for the "chocolate." Allow them to firm up for a few minutes before moving on to the…
 …marshmallow. Hold the #12 tip just above and at a right angle to the "chocolate" and move it in a circle while piping. Stop pressure and pull the tip away. Touch a fingertip to the dusting pouch to tidy it into this gently squashed marshmallow shape. Allow it to firm up for a few minutes.
 Piping the second "graham cracker" is the trickiest step; it doesn't really have anything to support the corners, so the icing needs to be really stiff. If the corners start to droop, lift them up gently with the side of a flat toothpick that you've touched to the dusting pouch.
 Lastly, use the tip of the narrow end of a flat toothpick to gently press a grid of "holes" into the surface. Don't push the toothpick all the way in; just leave a slight depression. These would be perfect for decorating s'more flavored cupcakes or any Girl Scout-themed dessert.