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Jackie Dott-Mallory

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Edible pinwheels

 

Over the course my event planning, my Daughters first birthday morphed into a pinwheel theme. Maybe because they are easy to make or just so darn cute, its hard to say, but the idea of making edible pinwheels just wouldn’t get out of my head. Edible pinwheel cupcake toppers!! Could it be possible? Oh, I made it possible. It was quite a crafting adventure from start to finish and if you plan to attempt these, I hope that you can learn from my mistakes.

First, although I know that printed and colored rice paper exists, I wasn’t able to locate any in the short time I had allotted for the task, so I started with plain white sheets of rice paper that I cut with a standard paper cutter:

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To get the pinwheel in the right shape, you need a square piece of paper. I tried 4×4, 3×3 and 2.5×2.5. My favorites were the 2.5 squares, big enough to be put on an edible stick or to be used on its own. Because I wanted the pinwheels to match the red and aqua color scheme that I had going, I tried to paint the rice paper. Really, I wouldn’t advise this but if you want to attempt, it didn’t go horribly awry. I used a clean standard paint brush and put a small amount of gel food coloring in a small bowl. I put a small amount of vodka in another bowl. With all the squares on a sheet of wax paper, I dipped my brush just a tiny bit in the vodka and then mixed it into the gel just enough to make it spreadable. I then painted each side of the rice paper squares.

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Then I painted the other side and covered the painted squares with wax paper and flattened them so that they wouldn’t curl

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I let them dry overnight. To be honest, some didn’t survive. the ones that had too much food coloring stuck to the wax paper and tore when I tried to remove them. Not a pretty sight. I was able to save about 2 thirds of them, dried and ready for the next step. I have made so many pinwheels in the past few weeks that I just took out my scissors and eyeballed the cuts. But if you want to be a touch more accurate, you can draw a line from corner to corner, cut towards the middle leaving about 2cm between each corner cut. I just started at one corner and aimed for the opposite corner making sure to stop short of the middle

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Then I attempted to glue to corners into the center, one at a time, using some store bought icing in a tube that I had on hand

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It worked OK. I also made some royal icing and tried that as well. I was marginally more successful with that. I then placed sugar pearls in the center to cover up the ugliness left behind by the icing “glue”. Still, I wasn’t happy. The food coloring left inconsistent color variations and although technically edible, the excessive amounts of gel coloring left a flavor that I describe as “kinda yucky.” Next, I went back to the plain white squares of rice paper. I cut them the same way I did the red dyed ones but decided to “glue” the flaps to the center with melted white Wilton’s Candy Melts. MUCH BETTER!

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I added the sugar pearls again to cover the mess. Although this process was much easier and faster than the painting fiasco, they looked too plain. I had some Disco Dust on hand, as well as a mini spray bottle. I found the mini spray bottle at the trial size section of Target, but you can also over pay for them at cake supply stores. I filled the bottle with vodka. A little side note about the vodka: my double mention of liquor as well as its residence in travel size containers isn’t because motherhood has driven me to alcoholic tendencies, it’s a common practice among cake bakers. Vodka will evaporate completely (not a trace of alcohol left behind so it’s safe for the little one) so it won’t water down color or dissolve sugars the same way water will. OK, back to the pinwheels! I just sprayed one spray of vodka on the pinwheels and then sprinkled them with the aqua colored disco dust. I tried two sprays and that made the pinwheel curl up and there wasn’t anymore dust that adhered then with one spray.

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I loved them! I then decided to go on a mission to find some sort of edible stick to put them on. After wandering around the grocery store, I happened upon Pocky in the Japanese section of the market. YAY!! SO perfect, other than the fact that this is the one thing that deviated from my aqua and red color scheme, I was happy. Perfect size and actually yummy.

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I glued these on the back with the candy melts as well and they looked perfect.

cupcakesSo my lessons learned are:

If you want colored rice paper, buy it that way.

2.5 inch squares are the perfect size for cupcake toppers

Candy Melts make better glue than icing

How To Make Homemade Paper Lanterns

I started making these a few weeks ago for my daughters upcoming birthday party and I’m at a loss for what to call them. Paper Orbs? Lanterns? Balls??? Whatever name they end up taking, they are really easy to make and turned out pretty darn cute. I hope to have some great pictures of them to share after my daughters party, I made 15 to hang from the patio awning. Here is my step by step DIY:

To start, the materials you will need are

2 pieces of 12×12 scrapbook paper, 2 brads (long ones), a hole punch and a paper cutter

Cut each piece of paper into about 10 strips each, for a total of 20 strips (these can also be made with using only 10 strips, like on my Baby Shower post). I just pushed the page flush with the edge of the paper cutter to begin with, making each strip about 3 cm wide and I ended up with about 10 evenly sized strips

 

Then, punch a hole in both ends of each strip

Stack up the 20 strips and put a brad through the holes on each end

To open the thing (orb? lantern? ball?) place it in a "C" shape and gently pull each strip out, in order, until they are all evenly spaced

 

Then attach at string to the brand, making a loop and tying it again above the brad so that it hangs level to the ground

 

You can add a flame-less candle (please, no actual fire, just LED’s) if you are going to use them for evening outdoor parties. It is pretty cold and rainy right now so the idea of evening parties on my patio makes me happy enough to add them just for the hope that it will happen soon!

 

 

Competitive baking

I have a strong resolve to actual WIN a recipe contest some day. I only enter the big ones, Cooking channels, big time cooking magazines, national competitions, I don’t bother with the little guys. Possibly a very flawed strategy, but if I win, I want to win big. This year, I was a finalist in the Scharffen Berger/Tootii Foodie/Food Network Magazine Cupcake Adventure contest. Not exactly a win, but I am working my way towards the top. Here is the link as proof of my upward climb:

http://www.chocolateadventurecontest.com/2010_Finalists.aspx

I know, I AM towards the bottom, but making the list made my week! Next, I’ll be attempting to "Make the List" for three other contest this year, more about that at a later time. For now, here is the recipe for my "I made the list" Cupcakes:

Churros Con Chocolate Picante Cupcakes

Churros:

1 Stick of butter

½ cup filtered water

½ cup whole milk

¼ tsp salt

1 tbs sugar

1 cup all purpose flower

2 tbs cinnamon

5 eggs

Butter flavored cooking spray

Metallic Cupcake Papers

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp chili powder

Chili Chocolate Mousse:

¾ cup butter

2 tbs chopped red chili peppers, seeds removed

6oz of a Scharffen Berger 70% Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Bar, chopped

¼ cup coffee, brewed with Sumatra beans

¼ cup Chocolate liqueur

4 eggs, separated

3/4 cup sugar plus add. 2 tbs, divided

Spiced Whipped Cream:

1 tbs chopped red chili peppers, seeds removed

1 ½ cups heavy cream

¾ cup sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg

2 tsp Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder

Make Churros:

Put the oven rack at the lowest position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a good quality saucepan, bring the butter, water, milk, salt, and sugar to a slow boil then turn heat to low. Add the flower and stir until combined. Move the flower mixture to a stand mixer and add cinnamon then each of the 5 eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined between each egg. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers (remove the paper liner and just use the metallic part), lightly pray each paper with the cooking spray. Drop two tbs of the dough into each cup. Mix the next 4 ingredients together in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp of the sugar mixture to the top of each dough filled cupcake paper. Bake until the top of the cupcakes have puffed completely, about 30-33 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Make the mousse:

Put the butter and the chili in a saucepan over medium low heat and heat until hot but not boiling, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes, then strain the butter removing the chilies and discarding them. Put the chocolate and the coffee in the top of a double boiler and heat until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the strained butter until well combined and then set aside. In a double boiler, beat the eggs yolks, chocolate liqueur and ¾ cups of sugar beat until the mixture is pale yellow and well combined. Remove from heat and continue to beat until thickened and cooled. Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and stir until well combined. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then slowly add the 2 tbs sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Gently and slowly fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture using about ¼ of the egg whites at a time. Cover the mousse and chill for at least two hours.

While the mousse is setting, make the whipped cream. In a sauce pan, heat the chili and the cream until hot and steamy but not boiling. Stir over low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Strain cream, removing and discarding the chili, and then chill in the refrigerator until completely cool, at least two hours. Combined the cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and coco powder in a bowl and beat on high until set, about 4 minutes. Set aside.   Gently spoon the mousse into a piping bag with a metal tip. Most of the cupcakes should have holes in the top, revealing a large cavity in the center of the cupcake (like a popover). If no holes appear, make a small slit in the center. Pipe in the mousse into the center of the cupcakes, filing the cavity, refill the piping bag as needed. Top cupcakes with the whipped cream.