Monday, November 30, 2009

Stenciling again

My pal Ed over at Stencil1 has a supercool new book out. The stencils included in the pack are larger-scale than his last round, making them ideal for larger surfaces like walls or floors. The official release party for press and media is this Thursday at a real klassy chocolate shop in Manhattan. Then the BIG party that's open to the public is this Saturday, December 5 from 4 - 6 at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn (37 Main St., in DUMBO) - stop by, meet Ed, eat some of my baked stuff, and enjoy a little DIY crafternoon! If you've never been to powerHouse, you should go check it out. It's pretty cool and offers a great view of the Manhattan skyline.

So I've once again been brainstorming for some ideas of how to get these patterns and images onto to edible items. I've been racking my brain to come up with something - anything - easier and more professional looking than last year's event. Those were nice, but I really love these new patterns in Ed's book and wanted to do something less organic-looking and more structured and tight.

So I was watching Ace of Cakes last night while recovering from a seriously bad stomach problem (sorry, Eric!), and it hit me. Use fondant. While I've never I've never used fondant, never made fondant , and never even liked fondant, I was sure that this was the best way to go.

Fondant is basically a thick sugar paste that you roll out and drape over a cake for a smooth, satin-y finish. Wedding cakes are usually covered in fondant because it's so smooth and pretty. The problem is that it usually tastes like ca-ca-doo-doo. People hate it so much that they even sometimes peel it off the cake and leave it on the plate! What a waste.

I'm not one to waste anything in kitchen (and I certainly don't want to see anyone peeling my cookies apart and throwing the pretty part away - how awful!), so I decided to flavor the fondant with vanilla and almond for one batch, and chocolate for the other. Duh - so easy!

I used this recipe, primarily because I had these ingredients in my cabinet. Well, I didn't have the glucose, but since I didn't know what that did anyway, I just omitted it (maybe it's a flexibility ingredient or something).  The recipe worked well and I turned out a batch of vanilla/almond and a batch of chocolate fondant within an hour. I probably kneaded it longer than necessary, but I like kneading, so whatever.

My ingredients:

I forgot to photograph the kneading process, probably because I LOVE kneading things!

Anyway, I rolled out a bit of the chocolate fondant and tried the stenciling process using powdered sugar on one and red royal icing on the other.

While I like both effects and will likely use both techniques, I was really excited by the red icing. It looks great, retained  the sharp lines of the stencil, and has already hardened to a durable finish.


So that's the end of experiment day 1. Tomorrow is dough day, when I'll be making the cookie doughs for these patterns to go on. I hope this all works out, because I have no time for a do-over by Thursday.


Off to work now.


Unknown said...

Hey how much vanilla/almond flavoring did u use in this fondant recipe? I love the way u used the stencils, fantastic idea!

Christian said...

I didn't make a large batch of fondant, Tanya, so I used 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract for one batch, and maybe a little more vanilla for another batch.