Courage Never Wasted

USMC Groom's Cake



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dreaming of Spring




I am SO ready for spring. I know there are a few weeks left of winter. But even if there is snow on the ground and very few flowers to be seen, I can at least create a few of my own, can't I?

Flowers on a cake can create wonderful dimension.
  I want to share just how I create some interesting flowers on a cake.

2 Dimensional Fondant Flowers



Tulips

Take two shades of pink fondant, roll into sausages and twist together,
and mash together slightly.

Roll out thinly, and cut three petals with a rose petal cutter.

Cut a small V, using the v shaped end of your rose cutter,
on one petal ( as shown)

Creating the center of the tulip.
Press into an impression mat, then apply the center petal on the end of your
Piped or fondant green stem.

Press the other two petals into the impression mat and
place on each side of Tulip center. (as shown)



Trumpet flower

Take a small ball of lilac or pink fondant.
Press between thumb and forefinger as shown.

Using your ball tool, flatten end
of gumpaste and thin edges.

Roll pinched end of flower into a long funnel,
fold sides to back and roll the thinned
Edge over the front, creating a trumpet flower.

Apply on greenery on Cake.

Repeat the process in a lighter shade of pink or lilac and
Place on top of the first trumpet flower.








Photography and Tutorial by Jacque Benson
All rights reserved 2009.
Material in this tutorial cannot be reproduced for commercial purposes without
Permission from author.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sweetheart Cookies



Ready for Valentine's Day?

Here is a simple Jam-filled Butter cookie that is easy to make. They look beautiful and taste delicious!

Sweetheart Cookies

Ingredients

Butter Cookie Dough

1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt ( omit if using salted butter)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2-3 drops orange oil 
2 cups+2 Tblsp all purpose flour
1/3 cup finely ground almonds ( or almond flour )
2 Tbsp confectioners sugar

With an electric mixer, cream butter with granulated and brown sugar. Beat in egg. 
Add vanilla and orange oil. Gradually mix in flour.
Mix ground almonds with confectioners sugar. Add to dough.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill well for easier handling.
If when rolling or cutting with cookie the dough becomes too soft, simply chill for about 10 minutes.

Filling

1/3 cup seedless strawberry spread
1 tsp Grand Marnier (opt)


When ready to roll out, divide dough into 4 pieces. 
Place between sheets of wax paper and roll very thin, about 1/8".

Remove the top sheet of wax paper.

Using a 3" heart shaped cookie cutter, cut heart shaped cookies.
For every other heart, cut the center with a 1" heart shaped cutter, creating a "window" for the jam filling.


Flip over onto parchment paper and peel the wax paper from the dough.


Arrange the hearts on the parchment paper. Place on cookie sheet.
Gather scraps, wrap in plastic, chill and repeat process until all the dough is used.
Chill the cookies and the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before baking.


Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-9 minutes just until the edges of the cookies become a golden brown.
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack and cool completely.


Place the Window cookies on a rack and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.


Drop a spoonful of jam onto the center of the solid heart cookies.
Using a spatula, spread the jam towards the edges of cookie, 
leaving a generous amount in the center.

Top with the "window" cookie, as shown below to make
a jam filled cookie.


Place on a pretty serving dish for a beautiful Valentine's display.
Serve, with a kiss, to your favorite person in the world.
Happy Valentine's Day!


Tutorial and photography by Jacque Benson
2011 All Rights Reserved
This material may not be reproduced without permission from the author

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

 
I can remember the first time I tasted a brownie. In my mind, heaven no longer consisted of streets of gold --it was paved with delicious chewy chocolate brownies!!
Years later, when store bought brownies and brownie mixes hit the supermarket shelves, I always felt let down after tasting them.  They were a gooey chocolate mess. 
In 2003, Gourmet magazine published a recipe for brownies- It was a recipe originating from the beloved actress, Katharine Hepburn. Intrigued, I baked a batch that evening. 
I have never tried another brownie recipe since. These are so simple to mix and bake. They have a wonderful crunchy top crust and a delectable chewy interior. You just HAVE to try them!

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Ingredients:
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) I sometimes use pecans too.

1. In a saucepan, melt together butter and  unsweetened chocolate;
take the saucepan off the heat.

2. Stir in sugar, then eggs.

3. Stir in flour.

4. Add chopped walnuts ( or pecans, if you choose) with vanilla.


5. Pour into a buttered and floured 8x8" square baking pan.

6. Bake in 325 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.
Now for my sweetheart on Valentines Day,
I serve them warm out of the oven with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream.
That's the way he loves them!



But they are just as wonderful cooled completely and eaten solo!


However you choose to eat them, these brownies are always a treat!



For the original recipe, go to

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May the saint protect ye-
An' sorrow neglect ye,
An' bad luck to the one
That doesn't respect ye
t' all that belong to ye,
An long life t' yer honor-
That's the end of my song t' ye!