Hello all! Valentines Days is coming up, so here are some of the cutest treats from around the web to get you inspired.
Hope these give you some inspiration for the big heart day!
Hello all! Valentines Days is coming up, so here are some of the cutest treats from around the web to get you inspired.
Hope these give you some inspiration for the big heart day!
First off, thank you to Sharon for the opportunity to connect with her readers. I’m Sarah, and I work at CandyStore.com. We have a lot of experience helping people plan candy buffets for their weddings and events. I am excited to share this great tip to get you started. Here goes!
If you’re new to building a candy buffet, you may be intimidated by the prospect of building one yourself. Don’t be. The main reason people give up on having a candy buffet at their event is not money, it’s fear*. The solution to removing that fear is here. With one tip, we can soothe this savage beast.
“Fear?” you say. I ain’t scurred. Right, I’m not talking about grizzly bear fear or public speaking-type fear.
I’m talking more about the fear that it’ll take too much time to plan and fear that even after all that time it won’t turn out well. It’s that overwhelming, my-brain-just-turned-off feeling where you just think. I can’t even. But you CAN! Here’s the tip that will save you:
This is true in many avenues of life, even scientists agree. With candy buffets, it’s a little more nuanced. It boils down to choosing the appropriate size buffet for your event and budget. You don’t need to have a magazine cover-style Candy Buffet of the Year spread.
If building a diy candy dessert bar gives you anxiety attacks – are you ready? – use a small table.
You can see your shoulders dropping already. Your breathing is getting more relaxed. That’s it, thaaaaat’s it.
And yeah, a small table – that’s it! The beauty of a small table is that you can break it down in your mind more easily. It’s more doable in your head. It’s also less expensive, easier to plan and has just as much impact as a large table, if not more. Now that you’re nice and relaxed, here’s the rest of the plan.
The biggest decisions you have to make for a candy buffet have already been made.
You know the answer already. Since you’ll likely want to match the colors of your event, that takes care of that step. Bulk candy can be bought in most general colors now-a-days and even some more specific colors like maroon and aqua. Gold candy and dust are popular and fit within many events color schemes. Just be careful with the edible stuff.
Ok, this is already gaining momentum! You’re on your way.
You need 3 types. Big, medium and small. There we go with the bear metaphor again, goldilocks. A nice looking candy buffet uses zones to create depth and (sometimes just the illusion of) abundance. There’s more detail in my DIY candy buffet guide here, but basically, that feeling of abundance is harder to create over a larger space. Keep the table small.
Put the small containers – bowls, platters – in front and put your individually wrapped candy bars here. Other appropriate things to put here are baked goods and desserts that don’t ‘scoop’ and wrapped items that might get handled a bit. Larger, bulkier items tend to work best here. Cookies, cupcakes, etc.
Medium containers in the middle will contain some unwrapped candy that may need somewhat gentle handling. Gummy sharks, old-fashioned stick candy, chocolate covered espresso beans. Use tongs or scoops where appropriate.
In the back you put your tallest containers. Fill them up with wrapped or unwrapped bulk candy. Depending on how tall they are scooping may be awkward if people need to reach over the rest of the display. Consider wrapped candy that’s easily grab-able by hand if this is a concern. Foil-wrapped chocolate balls are great and come in a ton of cool colors. Alternatively, use single-color gum balls or another easily scoop-able candy item.
If you’re getting the hang of this and your brain is flowing with ideas, consider this. An optional centerpiece. If you wanna go the extra step, use a loaded up cupcake stand as a center piece and curve your zones around it. Cupcake stand, flower arrangement, or even the event’s main cake or dessert!
You may need a slightly bigger table for this, but by now maybe you feel like you can handle that. If not, stay small. A high and tight candy buffet looks much better than a loose-goosey arrangement on a bigger table.
This is the part you’re already good at. Once you have the layout all worked out, add some personal touches to the decor. Some ribbon around the containers, maybe some tasteful confetti will look nice, fresh flowers. A framed picture of the honored guest(s).
Tie it into your existing event decor. The dessert bar doesn’t need it’s own theme, it is merely an extension of the theme of the party it lives in.
I’ll leave you with this one last thing. There are no rules. Have fun with your arrangement. If you get overwhelmed, dial it down. If you’re feeling empowered and want some more knowledge, we put together this amazing infographic (below) from my Ultimate Guide to DIY Candy Buffets. Pin it, print it out, use it to your advantage.
I’ll be answering any questions in the comments section, so let them fly. Also love to hear about how it went! So please let me know if you used these tips and how your candy display table turned out. Love to Sharon and SugarEd Productions!
(* You may be saying, fear isn’t the only reason people give up. They might also think it’s going to cost too much because they’ll have to hire someone to build the darn thing. This is a subset of the fear you have of doing it yourself. There’s no reason buying some bulk candy and some containers should be expensive. The bang for your buck is there if you can get past your fear!)
Hi sweet friends!
St. Patrick’s Day is this week! To get you ready for this festive holiday, here are some treats to inspire you!
I hope these treat ideas make you feel empowered with the Luck of the Irish!
Hey Y’all! It’s almost here – TURKEY time! If you’re like me and running short on time, you might like some help coming up with something creative I’ve rounded up some super cute and easy ideas to dress up your Thanksgiving table. I’ll be using a few of these cute ideas myself:
I hope some of these ideas help you come up with your own pretty table. I’d love to hear what you guys are making. I’m always in charge of all the desserts for my extended family gathering, cuz ….well…. I don’t cook very well. They let me do the only thing I do well, haha!
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at SugarEd Productions!
Hey guys! Today we have a guest post from the ever creative Kim Heimbuck of The Partiologist blog. She has the best ideas (be sure to check out her blog for serious cuteness), and this one is so clever! A unique spin on the traditional candy apple:
Beware of Pirates? Not this kind.
You probably didn’t know that there was such a thing as chocolate covered pears. Well, if I can help it, there will be chocolate covered everything, including pears.
Chocolate Covered Pirate Pear:
Start with as many pears as you plan to make.
Use white candy melts for dipping your pear.
Use the caramel apple sticks.
Insert sticks into the pears and dip into both white and green melted candy melts.
For the pirate, use a round cookie cutter to cut the headpiece.
Also cut an oval piece of fondant for the scarf.
Pinch the oval piece together for the tie.
Fold it in half.
For the eye patch, roll and cut black fondant with a No. 1 strip cutter.
Use a small oval cutter and cut another piece of fondant to make the patch and trim the top.
Layer the patch on top of the strip.
Using number tappits, cut zero’s and pull out the inside for the teeth.
First add the eye patch and then wrap the red fondant around the top of the pear and pinch together the side, add the additional red fondant piece. Also add the other eye, nose and teeth.
Cut out several white dots and place on the scarf.
Using the large number tappits, cut out a zero and use it for the earring.
Form it into a circle and let dry.
Add the earring to the pear, cover the wooden stick with a decorative straw and you’ve got yourself a pirate!
Chocolate Covered Frankenstein Pear:
Dip your pear in green candy melts and set aside.
Roll and cut a large piece of black fondant into a circle. Use a small oval cutter and cut pieces out around the edge of the fondant. Add the black fondant piece to the top of the pear for Frank’s hair.
Add candy eyes to the pear by sticking them on with a bit of frosting or melted candy melts.
Cut a strip for the mouth. Add a piece of the black fondant strip to the pear for the mouth. With black frosting, pipe frosting on the pear for stitches and eyebrows. Add a mini orange M&M for the nose and mini marshmallows to the sides.
Now you can do the monster mash!
Kim has a love for unusual and over the top parties. In 2011 she started her blog, The Partiologist, where she shares her unique and creative ideas. From cakes and cookies, to favors and tablescapes, her inspiring ideas flow freely. Forever fun loving, her mantra is “Life is short; party accordingly!” You can follow Kim on her blog or Facebook page.
One of my very favorite holidays is upon us. Halloween is a confectioner’s dream, as it provides an opportunity to make some of the cutest tasty treats evah. Let me share with you some I made this week. These were a lot of fun, and not very difficult nor time consuming. They get extra points for that!
Initial supplies used to make our cozy candy couple include yellow candy melts, green oil based candy color, marshmallows and sucker sticks. I highly recommend Merkens brand melts for optimum dipping performance. In this case I used the campfire roasting marshmallows. Have you seen those things? They are hugantic! They are as big as…..as ……as a giant marshmallow! I also suggest using the thicker sucker sticks, as these bad boys are heavy once they are done.
Other supplies used will be these candies and pre-made googly eyes, that you can get at most cake decorating places.
Let’s do Franque first:
Cut out a circle of black fondant and cut out notches along the outer edge. Do not cut them evenly or symmetrically. Franque does not have the most couture coif I have ever seen. Just sayin’.
Lay the toupee over his head and just press down all around the sides. (Hint: use shortening as your glue. Trust me. You will thank me for this later.) Glue on his googly eyes with melted chocolate. Cut a white Good & Plenty in half and glue in place for his bolts. Give the rest of the box to hubby because he loves those nasty candies. Oh wait, that is my hubby. Ignore that. Next use a paintbrush to drop a dollop of the same green chocolate on his handsome face to make a nose.
Next we need to bring out the big guns. OK just one small gun. Anyway, get your clay gun out, and using the smallest size circle disc, extrude a string of black fondant. Use that to make eyebrows and mouth. Again, using shortening on his face as glue will save you many bad words. And if you just cannot help yourself (like me), use silver luster dust mixed with vodka to paint his bolts. An edible marker (not shown) can be used to make his scar.
As with all ladies, we need to spend some time on the hair. Use your clay gun with the largest muti hole disc.
Extrude a length of purple fondant and apply to the side of her head.
Cut a few short pieces to make her bangs. The bob is very in this season in the witch world.
Now to make her face. Clay gun string again for the brows and mouth. Half of the green Mike and Ike candy for the nose. (Keep that box cuz we like those.) Another pair of google eyes.
To make the pointy part of her hat, start with a ball of black fondant.
Roll it into a cone shape initially, and then continue to elongate and shape it into a witch hat shape.
A circle of black fondant laid on her head, and then the cone part of the hat is attached to the top of that. A couple of purple clay gun strings will create a perfect hat band.
Happy Halloween everybody! Send me pics if you make these and I will post them on Facebook. Please tell all your friends to like our Facebook page.
Sugared Productions Online School
It’s almost that spooky fun time of year! Halloween is such a great holiday for making fun and creative sweets and treats. The possibilities are endless. It’s not to early to start planning, so here’s some ideas and tutorials you help get you kick started:
Mummy Cake by The Partiologist
Mummy Pumpkin Cookies by OMG Chocolate Desserts
Oreo Bat Truffles by One Sweet Appetite
Halloween Bundt Cake by Love Bakes Good Cakes
Reese’s Frankenstein Cupcakes by Your Cup of Cake
Haunted Cupcakes by Today’s Parent
Cake Ball Brains by Hungry Happenings
Vampire Cake Pops from Bakerella
Ghost Cupcakes from Better Homes and Gardens
Purple Candy Apples by The Kitchen McCabe
Aren’t these just the cutest? I can’t wait to see what you guys make; link me to your photos in the comments!
Sugared Productions Online School
Have you had enough of summer? I know I have. It’s hot as heck down here in the deep south.
Let’s dream about the upcoming Fall season. Here’s a round up of Autumn themed treats and recipes to help get us ready!
Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes from Sweetopia
Indian Corn Cookies from Sweet SugarBelle
Pumpkin Cake Pops from The Pink Whisk
Autumn Basket Cake from SugarEd Productions
Kitty Cat Pumpkin Cake from The Cake Girls
Chocolate Painted Cake from The Cake Blog
Slice of Pie Cookies from Cookie Crazy
Pumpkin Patties from Mom On Timeout
I can almost smell the scent of pumpkin pie in the air. I hope these got you inspired for Fall baking.
Guest Blogger, Summer Stone, from Cake Paper Party, shares more of her knowledge of modeling chocolate. In this part, she explains the differences bewteen white chocolate and candy melts. Have fun and take it away Summer!
Now that you have the ins and outs of how to make modeling chocolate (MC), let’s take a look at how to select the right product to make your MC out of. Everyone has different needs, and budgets and availability so my goal is to explain my observations without deeming one product superior. That way you can make the best choice for you!
For simplification I am going to analyze white chocolates and candy coatings at this time but understand that darker chocolates will also follow suit. The observations noted will include composition, price, color, ease to make, ease to fix, texture, and taste and mouthfeel.
I tried to sample a variety of media (without going too crazy) that are widely available and you might be likely to use. They include Wilton candy melts, Ghiradelli baking chips, Wilton white chocolate, Ghiradelli baking bar and Callebaut callets (28% cocoa butter).
These are their differences as they relate to modeling chocolate.
1. Composition. The greatest divide between theses products comes in their fat composition. Both candy coating and white chocolate contain sugar, milk powder, lecithin and vanilla, but white chocolate uses cocoa butter for its fat while coatings and chips use palm oil. The palm oil is hydrogenated to make more solid at room temperature and more like cocoa butter. Above left is palm oil that is non-hydrogenated and remains creamy. It is likely that palm oil used in candy melts is more like the cocoa butter on the left. Cocoa butter is so solid at room temperature that it flakes rather than scoops.
2. Color. One of the most considerable factors in choosing a MC medium is color. Because cocoa butter is golden colored (see above) it imparts a pale yellow hue to white chocolate and the MC made from it. If you are looking for a natural color or a planning to tint your modeling chocolate a warm tone this is not a problem, but it can easily muddy and mute cool tones. Also, if you need a bright white it will have to be adjusted with white food coloring.
Palm oil on the other hand is white and produces a modeling chocolate in a tone that is easier to manipulate. Moreover, candy melts and coatings come in a wide variety of colors which means they don’t require time to tint or money to invest in coloring products.
3. Money. Cost is also an important consideration when choosing a product. Here is a list of approximate cost per ounce of the product that I used.
White chocolate can cost more than three times what a confectionery coating does.
4. Resistance to failure. Due to the fact that coatings and melts contain palm oil which has a higher melting temperature than cocoa butter it is less likely to break and leach fat than white chocolate it. Palm oil is also softer at room temperature than cocoa butter is so it is easier to work in fat that has leached out from the chocolate. For this reason candy melts are less likely to “fail” when mixed than white chocolate is.
5. Fixability. Maybe correctable is the appropriate word?? Either way, for the same reasons that palm oil products are resistant to failure they are more difficult to correct. A broken MC made from white chocolate is easier to work back into a smooth product because of the fact that cocoa butter has a lower melting temperature than hydrogenated palm oil.
6. Texture. Here is where we start comparing the actual MC product side by side. Above I have tried to give you a picture that indicates what the textures are like but in truth the differences are extremely subtle and can only be felt in hand (that is except for the white baking chips). Here are their properties:
7. Taste and mouthfeel. Not surprising, a modeling chocolate tastes like the product it is made from so it comes down to a matter of preference. I, in a shameful sort of way, liked the Wilton white chocolate. It was pleasant and simple and was not nearly as sweet as the Ghiradelli baking bar, which was so sweet that it sort of hurt my brain. Callebaut tasted more like cocoa butter but in a pungent way that was not for my taste buds. The candy coating and chips tasted sweet and vanilla-y. They were not unpleasant just lacking cocoa butter flavor; more neutral perhaps. This you will have to taste for yourself and decide.
Where candy melt MC was silky by feel, white chocolate MC is silky on the tongue. The lower melting temperature of cocoa butter allows the white chocolate MC to dissolve creamily in the mouth. The candy melts and chips were slightly gritty like small sugar crystals remained present. Again, these differences were barely perceptible but still there nonetheless.
So there you have it! All sorts of things to consider when choosing what to make your modeling chocolate from. I hope this helps your decision making process and you can move forward into modeling chocolate wonderfulness!
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Guest Blogger, Summer Stone, from Cake Paper Party, shares her knowledge of modeling chocolate. In this part, she explains 21 different ways to color it. Have fun and take it away Summer!
Finally color! I love color! With all of the products and techniques available to color cake related items, I wanted to run through the gamut and see which ones work best with modeling chocolate (MC) and its unique set of properties. Certain methods work well for a specific type of decorating and not for others; some colorants confer altered textures or consistencies. Here I will share with you my insights for picking the right coloring method for your project.
I wanted to try a wide variety of products for coloring to get a feel for many of the possibilities available so I used everything from grocery store liquid food color to petal and luster dust. Some of the options may seem redundant but I wanted to try some of the colorants in a variety of ways to see if there was an advantage or disadvantage to doing it a certain way. I am going to list them all so that you have a complete picture and understanding of the choices.
For all of the examples I started with white modeling chocolate to have a true sense of each colorants ability to color but starting with a MC made from a basic colored coating or candy melt can be a great option as well.
I divided the coloring into three categories:
Let’s start with Pre-coloring techniques!
Pre-coloring is probably the easiest way to color modeling chocolate. The color easily swirls into your liquid of choice and then all you have to do is mix up your modeling chocolate as usual. The downside is that you end up with one full batch of a certain color and sometimes it is difficult to determine what color your final product will be until it is made in full. For this reason, I recommend pre-coloring when you are going to use a large quantitiy of one color of modeling chocolate and if you have an idea of the intensity your food color will impart. The following is a list of ways to pre-color MC.
1. Liquid or gel into corn syrup. In this first method gel or even inexpensive liquid food coloring is added to your measurement of corn syrup or liquid glucose, mixed up and the stirred into melted chocolate or candy melts. Here I added 2 drops of liquid food coloring (which spread across the surface of the corn syrup). I did not notice any change in the texture of the modeling chocolate.
2. Candy coloring into candy melts or chocolate. Oil based candy food coloring is stirred into the melted chocolate or candy melts and then blended with the corn syrup. This created a lovely silky final product but since I added so much coloring (oops, slip of the hand!) it was a little softer than that made with other colorings. I recommend making a firmer than usual MC if you plan to use candy coloring.
3.Gel coloring into candy melts or chocolate. Gel coloring is dropped into melted candy melts or chocolate and stirred before corn syrup is blended in. I don’t recommend this method. The melts seize before the corn syrup is stirred in. You can still make a modeling chocolate via this method but the MC is disjointed, losing all of its stretch (you can see the crackles in the MC if you look closely). It also cools very firm and is crumbly when returned to. If for some reason you feel the need to do this, add extra corn syrup to keep in smooth and together.
4. Powdered food coloring into melted candy melts. A small scoop of powdered food coloring was added to melted melts and stirred in before mixing with the corn syrup. Using this method the powder did not dissolve completely leaving speckles in the final product even after it was kneaded. Perhaps if you are making robin’s eggs this would be desirable but for uniform color another method is advisable. If you choose to use powdered colors I suggest dissolving it in vodka or lemon extract and then adding it to the corn syrup if you wish to color in the pre-mixed phase.
Next we will move on to the Mid-coloring methods. These methods are the most practical and applicable for every day needs. They allow you to color from a small amount to a large amount of modeling chocolate and enable you to adjust the colors easily as you go. They also provide uniform coloring for nice solid color applications.
5. Candy color into MC. Candy food coloring is blended into the mixed modeling chocolate. The candy colors give nice smooth saturated colors but they do soften the modeling chocolate a bit so it is best to start with a firm MC recipe if using the candy colors.
6. Gel color into MC. Gel color blends into the MC nicely and in moderate amounts does not affect the texture of the modeling chocolate greatly. This is probably the best general method for coloring modeling chocolate.
7. Gel color plus cornstarch into MC. If you need to achieve a very saturated color that requires the addition of quite a lot of gel color, the addition of cornstarch can help maintain the texture of the modeling chocolate by absorbing some of the moisture from the food color. The addition of cornstarch does dry the MC some and it may require an extra bit of working or a touch of shortening after storage.
8. Liquid color into MC. Basic grocery store liquid food coloring is kneaded into modeling chocolate. This is probably the method that surprised me the most. I expected the liquid to cause the MC to break, but it didn’t. It actually worked very well and generated a nice bold color. This is a great option if this is the type of food coloring you have on hand or need to buy some in the wee hours of the morning at your local market. If you are going to add large amounts you may need to add some cornstarch to counter act the softening effects of the liquid.
9. Petal dust into MC. For this I scooped a small amount of petal dust onto the MC and kneaded it in. It didn’t work as well as some of the other methods as far as blending and saturation is concerned but I feel like this is a good option if you are coloring a base that is later going to be dusted with the same color petal dust. Such as for flower petals or other items to be shaded in gradient.
10. Coloring with colored MC. Use already made solid colors of modeling chocolate to blend or tint your base color. This is a nice option because you will not affect texture at all and you will have a fairly good idea of the direction you are going with the colors you are trying to achieve. I like to have brown or chocolate MC on hand to mute and soften my modeling chocolate colors as well. If you have a basic rainbow of modeling chocolate colors on hand you can blend at whim to achieve any color.
11. Coloring with colored fondant. A small amount of commercial colored fondant is used to color the MC. If you are working with a colored fondant sometimes it is advantageous to color your modeling chocolate with the fondant to reach a complimentary shade. This works well if you keep your fondant to around 25%. Much more than that and you will lose some of the lovely characteristics of MC and it will start to act more like fondant.
12. Coloring fondant with gels and adding to MC. Gel color is added to a small amount of fondant which is then added to the modeling chocolate. Adding gel to fondant first serves two purposes. First, it offsets some of the effects of the adding excess liquid to modeling chocolate. Be sure your fondant is firm or add extra cornstarch before you start. Second, it enables you to create a hypersaturated target color that you can then blend with the MC. This reduces the risk of color overshooting by directly adding color to your final product. Once again, it is advisable to add only 25% fondant to your modeling chocolate.
13. Coloring fondant with candy color and adding to MC. Candy color is added to fondant and then added to the MC. The reasoning is the same as above with a similar result. Once again the candy color has a slight softening effect so start with firm modeling chocolate or add a touch of cornstarch.
Here are the Post-coloring effects. These methods are best used for artistic touches such as dusting petals, painting details or accentuating texture.
14. Dusting with petal dust. Dust on a layer of petal dust over a rolled out, cut or shaped decoration. This method works well for solid color effects as well as gradients and soft shading. The oils in MC adhere well to the petal dust for both dramatic and subtle coloring. For strong color effects use freshly shaped MC which has oils on the surface.
15. Dusting with luster dust. Luster dust works similarly well with MC as petal dust but the color saturation is not as strong due to the translucence of the shimmer particles. For solid color shimmer pieces, color the modeling chocolate first and then dust with a complimentary shade of luster dust.
16. Painting with petal dust and lemon extract. Mix a small amount of petal dust with lemon extract and paint onto a cut or shaped piece of modeling chocolate. I feel that dusting gives a smoother effect. I had some slight clumping when painting, but this is also an option and gives very solid saturation.
17. Painting with gel color. Apply gel color directly to the modeling chocolate with a paint brush. It beads up initially but as you stroke across the surface repeatedly it starts to set. This might be advantageous for accentuating texture such as wood grain. You could paint the color on and wipe off the beaded gel from the raised points before it is absorbed into the MC.
18. Painting with candy color. Brush candy color across the surface of the MC with a paint brush. Candy color smoothly coats the surface of the modeling chocolate. Some brush strokes are slightly noticeable but this might be desirable if you are going for an artistic painted look.
19. Sponging with gel color. Using a cosmetic sponge and a binder clip, dip into a small amount of gel and tamp to absorb (see Coloring Wafer Paper). Then sponge onto the MC for solid color or shading effects. This technique avoids the beading up associated with painting the gel on. The gel color seems to soften the modeling chocolate slightly.
20. Sponging with candy color. As above, load a cosmetic sponge with a small amount of candy color and sponge onto modeling chocolate. This gives a lovely solid finish, or you can sponge a blend of colors or achieve a gradient of color. This technique would work well on petals. The surface dries well after a few hours and does not soften the MC pieces.
21. Coloring with food safe markers. Color on a set piece of modeling chocolate with food safe markers. Allow your modeling chocolate to dry for a few hours before using this coloring method. You will not achieve solid coloring but it can be used to add small details or achieve a coloring book look. This may also work for adding wood grain texture or grass effects.
22. Spraying with food color spray. Can spray coloring can be used to lightly mist modeling chocolate that has been set to dry for a few hours (left). If you mist too heavily it will bead up (see right). This technique could be useful to accent texture or shade organic looking pieces. A similar effect could possibly be achieved using an airbrush but I did not explore this technique.
Phew! There they all are! I apologize for the longest post ever, but I wanted to provide as much information as possible. This is also the end of my current series on modeling chocolate. I hope this helps you on your way to many modeling chocolate adventures!
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