Monthly Archives: March 2016

2016 Monthly Challenge: Fondant

It’s that time again!

I made a quasi-resolution to challenge myself every month to try a new technique or recipe that I’ve been scared to do before.

In January I made funnel cakes. On January 31st. In February I made granola bars. On February 29th. I’m happy to report that my March challenge was completed on March 30, with one day to spare! Small improvements people.

For March I made fondant.

In case you don’t know, fondant a paste used to cover cakes to give them that smooth perfect look. It’s also used as decorations, cupcake toppers, and sometimes on cookies. It’s edible, but typically not very tasty.

Homemade fondant is made out of marshmallows. Way tastier than store bought stuff!

I have never even worked with fondant before, so everything about this was new to me. I watched a couple how-to videos before getting started. This video by Lisa of The Bearfoot Baker helped me prepare my cake. I also used Lisa’s fondant recipe. I watched this YouTube video to get the technique down for covering my cake.

Fondant

Ingredients:

1 lb mini marshmallows

2 tbsp water

2 lb powdered sugar

**Lisa’s recipe called for vegetable shortening. I had some but it was bad (oops) so I just did without. It still worked fine, but it probably would have been a little easier. 

Directions:

1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt marshmallows and water, stopping to stir every 35 seconds. (It took me 3 rounds of 35 seconds.)

2. Dump most of the powdered sugar on a mat for kneading, creating a well.

3. Pour the melty mallows into the powdered sugar well. My well was not big enough and it spilled over and stuck to my mat. Make a big well.

4. I stirred with a spatula at first because the mallows were HOT. After a minute or so I was able to use my hands. No vegetable shortening means a big sticky mess. Knead sugar into marshmallows.

  …after a bit it finally started to come together. Still sticky gross hands.

5. Keep kneading until all of the powdered sugar is incorporated and there are no little powdered sugar balls.

This is how it looked once all of the powdered sugar was incorporated. My hands were still messy but not too bad!  6. Roll out the fondant as smooth and flat as possible, turning 1/4 turn after every couple rolls (to keep it from sticking). The diameter needs to be wide enough to cover your cake. H+W+H. I had a 6″ cake that was 3″ tall so I needed it at least 12″ wide. This recipe make probably 2x as much fondant as I needed.

7. Lift the fondant up and over the top of your cake. I had to get my husband’s help with this part.

**Shhh no peeking at the cake. That will come later!**

  8. Immediately smooth out the top to make sure there are no air bubbles…
  …then use your hands to start molding the fondant down the sides of the cake, starting at the top. 9. Then use the smoother to smooth out the sides as much as possible all the way down.

10. Use a knife to cut as close to the cake as you can around the bottom, and remove the excess. (Store airtight. I wrapped in cling wrap then put in a ziploc bag.)

 11. Voila! Not as hard as I thought it would be! It’s DEFINITELY not perfect, but I am proud of it! 
I used a stencil and a can of Wilton Color Spray to decorate the top.


 Can’t wait to share what’s on the inside!! 😛

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2016 Monthly Challenge: Granola Bars

So this one time I made a fakey New Years resolution to push myself to try 1 new thing a month on this blog.

Month 1 – I made Funnel Cakes on January 31st. Barely squeaked by on that one.

Then it got worse.

February. Wanna guess what day I made these Granola bars? You guessed it, the last day of the month. BUT. It’s a leap year. So it’s even that much worse. I made these on February 29th. Commence eye roll. I’m ridiculous.

Then. THEN. I waited 3 weeks to type it up to tell you all about it.

Anyway.

Granola Bars.

As usual, I didn’t follow directions very well. I used the cool infographic on this blog post to make homemade granola bars. If I would have actually read the blog post I would have learned you have to do 1/2 rolled oats and 1/2 quick oats, otherwise the granola bars are too soft and crumbly and don’t even stay together well enough to cut. Oh well. They were for my kiddo and he LOVED them. I bought quick oats so that I can make these again and hopefully they will be more “bar” like. Don’t be like me. Use 1/2 and 1/2. 🙂

This is a SUPER adaptable recipe. You can substitute in any kind of nuts (or leave them out if you are a nut-free home), any kinds of fruits, even chocolate chips or other small goodies. Maybe it’s my crazy postpartum nursing mom brain, but I totally see lactation potential here. Just sayin’.

The following is the version that I made and my kiddo loved.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Bars

Ingredients:

5 cups oats (I used all rolled. It would be better to use 1/2 rolled and 1/2 quick)

1/2 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup honey

2 tbsp almond milk

1 1/2 cups raspberry jam

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*.

2. Mix together oats and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. Mix together the rest of the ingredients. It will be a wet sloshy sticky mess.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

5. Combine all ingredients and pour into prepared pan.

 

6. Spread as evenly and flat as possible.

7. Bake for 20 minutes then let cool completely in pan. I actually left mine overnight.

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8. Lift out of pan with parchment paper and cut. (Mine was so crumbly it wasn’t even solid enough to lift out. I had to cut it in the pan.)

I thought I took pictures of them cut buuuuuut guess I didn’t. Oh well.

Next time! 😀

The recipe made a lot. If you have multiple kiddos it may not last long, but for us it was a lot. I froze some for later.

 

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Monster Truck Cookies

Syler was having a monster truck party this year for his 5th birthday. (4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st birthdays)

I thought I had a truck cutter that I could modify, but I didn’t. I have a tractor, train, van, car, and 57 chevy… the car ended up working the best. Here is how I pieced it together:

 I filled them in bright colors, just like real monster trucks – red, blue, and green. Added a cage on the window and big black tires…

Then I decided to try a new technique. I piped an outline on top of the dried cookie, then filled it just like I did for the first layer.  

I had some problems with bubbles and craters, but overall I think it turned out really cool! I especially like the flames. 


 I hope Syler liked his cookies! They were fun to make – his mama always keeps me on my toes with the cookie ideas! 😉

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