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This site is dedicated to sharing what we have learned with you! Enjoy our tutorials, and if you have a question please feel free to ask! I know one of our sugar enthusiasts will either know or try to find the answer.
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Life's A Beach!

Life's A Beach!
Celebrate Summer by Creating a Beachy Topper! Click on photo for tutorial!


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Monday, November 29, 2010

Cinnamon Chocolate Fudge!

With the Holidays fast approaching it’s time to start thinking about your favorite Holiday goodies!

I tried this new fudge recipe and it was delicious!
It’s very melt in your mouth- creamy goodness.
It’s also super simple.
Cinnamon-Chocolate Fudge!





Ingredients

Butter, for greasing the pan

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 pound (about 2 cups) bittersweet (60 percent cocoa) chocolate chips
(recommended: Ghiradelli) see Cook's Note*

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature

Kosher or flake salt, optional
*Note::::I used the bittersweet chocolate
And also sprinkled some of the flake sea salt on a few rows
of the fudge it was very good both ways!


Directions

Butter the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8-inch baking pan.
Line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper, about 14-inches long and 7-inches wide, allowing the excess to overhang the sides. Set aside.


In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the condensed milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.


Stir in the chocolate chips and butter. Put the bowl on a saucepan of barely simmering water and mix until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 6 to 8 minutes (mixture will be thick).


Using spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Sprinkle with salt, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm.

Run a warm knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the fudge. Remove the fudge to a cutting board. Peel off the parchment paper and cut the fudge into 1-inch pieces.


Store refrigerated in an airtight container or freeze.


*Cook's Note: The fudge can also be made using 1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) of semisweet chocolate chips. I suggest using the bittersweet the flavor is Amazing !

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis


Photography by Diane Marks-2010 all rights reserved.
The photos may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Easy Turkey Cupcakes



Need a quick Thanksgiving treat?  Here is an easy, but cute cupcake to add to your holiday table.

(I know the pictures aren't that great!!  I really had to do these in a hurry! Sorry!!)

With a #104 petal tip, pipe red icing in a ruffled wave around the outer rim of the cupcake.

With a #104 tip, pipe orange inside of the red icing.

Again with a #104 pipe yellow icing through the middle.


Using a #7 tip and brown or chocolate icing, start at the bottom, middle of the ruffles.  Let the icing build up a little and then move slowly drag your tip up through the middle, stopping before you get to the top edge of the yellow ruffle.  Add a little extra for the head.

With a #3 tip pipe an orange beak, a red waddle and white for the eyes.  With the brown or chocolate icing and a #1 tip, pipe small pupils on the white eye part.


Tutorials and Photos by Rhonda Christensen
2010- all rights reserved
This material may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies


These rich hazelnut shortbread cookies are great with a cup of coffee or a cup of hot cocoa!!

What you will need:

1 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted, divided*
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon double-strength vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread)
1 square unsweetened chocolate for baking, chopped



Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper, allowing 1 inch to extend past the sides; set aside.  Grate 3 tablespoons of the hazelnuts with a rotary grater or finely chop in a food processor.  Place butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl, beat on medium speed of electric hand mixer until creamy.  Gradually add flour and grated hazelnuts.  Mix on low speed until dry ingredients begin to blend with butter mixture.  Increase speed to  medium=high and beat just until mixture forms into a dough.

Distribute dough over the bottom of prepared pan.  Roll using a lightly floured rolling pin to create an even thickness.  Bake 43-45 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Remove pan from oven to a cooling rack.  Coll 10 minutes.  Invert pan onto a cutting board and remove parchment and immediately cut warm shortbread lenghtwise into eight rows and crosswise into sixths to make 48 small rectangles using a very long knife.  Spread rectangles apart slightly and cool completely.

Coarsely chop remaining hazelnuts using a food chopper and place in on a plate or tray.  Place hazelnut spread and chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl.  Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 60-70 seconds or until melted and smooth, stirring after 1 minute.  Dip one end of each shortbread rectangle into chocolate mixture and roll in nuts, coating all sides.  Place on parchment-lined surface to set.  If chocolate mixture begins to thicken, return to microwave 10-15 seconds or just until it thins but is not hot.

Store cooled, finished shortbread in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers for up to one week.

*To toast the hazelnuts, spread over a cookie sheet in a single layer and bake at 350 degrees for 8-16 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and fragrant.

Rhonda Christensen
2010
All Rights Reserved

This material may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Autumn Spice Cookies


There is nothing like the smell of cinnamon right out of the oven, especially when
the weather is crisp and cool outside.

And these Autumn Spice Cookies fill the house with a wonderful aroma while baking!
They are easy to bake and very tasty!

 Ingredients:


1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1/2 cup salted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
*Icing to outline cookies
Autumn Leaf Cookie Cutter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, confectioners sugar, cream of tartar and baking soda; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix egg and brown sugar. Add melted butter. Slowly incorporate flour mixture and add vanilla.  Wrap cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill well for several hours.


Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.


 When dough is firm, roll out on a lightly floured board and cut
cookies using a leaf shaped cutter.


 Place cookies on parchment covered cookie sheet.


 Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture over every cookie.


 Place in preheated 325 degree oven and bake for 9 minutes.
Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.


 *At this point, you can use buttercream icing, royal icing or melted chocolate to outline the leaves.
I used chocolate/caramel buttercream to outline my cookies and it added a
wonderful layer of flavor to the cinnamon cookies.


These are perfect for the holidays or for a special treat when the kids come in from school. 
Enjoy!



Makes 3 dozen 3" leaf cookies.

Tutorial and Photography by Jacque Benson
2010 All rights reserved
This material may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cake Boards- First layer of Foundation


I know that most of you experienced decorators out there now how and why you should cover your cake boards, so this is for the decorators that are just starting out.

I see many cakes that are being used with the cardboard disks that are not covered or are covered in tin foil.  Uncovered boards will get greasy and flimsy.  Foil covered boards will tear when the cake is cut and really doesn't look that attractive.  Here's just one way that I do mine.

I use different board types depending on what I want to do and the look I want to achieve.  I have used the cardboard cake rounds, foam board* (my favorite!), particle board that I have my neighbor cut for me, and the heavy precut rounds or square wood from the hardware store.  But no matter which one I use, they are always covered with contact paper to protect the boards and to keep them from getting yucky.  You can also use Wilton Fancy Foil, plastic wrap, press and seal wrap, but I have found that none of them hold up as well as contact paper.

A little info about using contact paper.....always use the white or the clear contact paper.  Using contact paper with colors or dyes in them can be unsafe.  If you wish to be creative with your cake board, you can always use some kind of fun paper or gift wrap on the board, but always cover it with the clear contact paper.

First, start by measuring how much contact paper you need.  I just place a circle or square on the contact paper and cut it out a few inches larger.

For a round, cut off each corner to make a circle.


Flip it over and with a bench scrapper, smooth out the bubbles that have formed on the top side of the board.


Flip it back over and cut slits with scissors all the way around the board.


Starting at one end, start folding the cuts up to the bottom of the board, overlapping them a bit.


Finished board.

This picture shows one half inch foam board and as single cake circle.  I used the thin one for under the cake.  After it was iced, I attach it to the thicker foam board for more stability and this one was used for the base of the cake.

On this one, I used double sided tape to stick the cake to the base cake board.  You can also use the tape runners that are used for scrapbooking.

At this point, you can either put an icing boarder around the base of the cake to hide the board that the cake is sitting on.

I covered the board that this cake is sitting on with Mame's modeling chocolate.

These leaves are also made from modeling chocolate and dusted with luster dust.  The chocolate doesn't pick up the colors as well as fondant or gumpaste would though!

The leaves where used for a top border for the cake.  Pumpkins were also cut out and used.

  Now the most important part is to hide the contact paper creases.  Double sided tape was used again around the bottom board.  Then starting in the back of the cake, add some ribbon that will compliment the colors of your decorations. 
Make sure you pay attention to the cake boards when you are looking around at cakes.  They usually always have a finished look.

*Foam board can be purchased at most craft stores.  Investing in a hot knife is also very useful, but the foam boards can be cut with a serrated knife.  A hot knife cuts through the board like butter!!


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Here are some of the different techniques that I used:


Wall-E's board was 1/2 inch thick foam board covered with 12x12 inch scrapbook paper and then covered with clear contact paper.

This 1 inch wooden board with covered with contact paper, that was covered with fondant and embossed with patchwork cutters.  The pattern was lightly dusted with luster dusts.

Square wooden board covered with contact paper, then fondant.  A mixture of gel paste colors and corn syrup and water was brushed on the surface to give it a watery look.

This board was a heavy wooden board covered with contact paper and fondant.  The lining technique can be found here.





Tutorial and Photography by Rhonda Christensen
All rights reserved- 2010
This material may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

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The Tutorials This Week Were Generously Shared by

SHARON ZAMBITO, BOBBIE NOTO, RHONDA CHRISTENSEN & JACQUE BENSON

Thank you
thank you pictures

And to ALL of our Readers...

ENJOY EACH DAY!

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