Grasshopper Bark

Grasshopper Bark

  • Melt one pound semi-sweet (dark) mint flavored chocolate
  • Add 1/2 bag (4 oz.) Tiny crisp rice
  • Spread chocolate and crispy mixture onto a parchment covered cookie sheet
  • Melt one pound green mint chocolate
  • While the dark mint mixture is soft but not runny, gently spread the green mint on top 
  • Let the layers dry together and break into pieces to serve

Swirled Icing for Cupcakes

For this technique you will need white decorator’s icing make sure it is as white as possible.  As for equipment, you’ll need some disposable icing bags and icing tips, I used 1 M and #18 and optionally a coupler.  You’ll also need a small, clean paint brush or a toothpick and some paste food colors. (It must be paste. Liquid won’t work.) Finally, grab a tall drinking glass, which will help to hold the bag for you.

Insert the tip into the bag. Drop about a pea- size amount of food coloring on to a plate.  Dip the brush or toothpick into the food coloring and starting at the tip of the bag and going up about 3-4 inches. If using 2 or 3 colors, paint two stripes of each color, alternating them.  Be sure to leave some space between each strip.

Fill the bag with icing.  The stripes of color will be very easy to see now.

Fold down the top edge of the bag.  Give it a gentle squeeze so the frosting moves into the tip.The food coloring will add a strip to about 12 cupcakes. You’ll need to start with a clean bag each time you need more icing and paint fresh stripes on it.

Tips:

  • If you make the cupcakes ahead of time, do not store them in airtight containers.  Believe it or not, while the top of the cupcake will feel tacky, the cupcake itself will dry out. If you have fancy fondant cupcake topper it may soak up some of the moisture, thus ruining the cupcake.
  • How do you keep those cupcake wrappers from pulling away from the cupcake?  Baking the cupcake fully is the key.
  • If using a box cake mix follow the directions EXACTLY.  Mainly the mixing time. If you don’t mix long enough the ingredients may not mix together completely and the result will be inconsistent, lumpy batter.  If you mix too long your cake will be too dense.
  • You may also use Wilton Sparkle Gel in place of the paste colors for a pastel effect.

Edible Fresh Garden Flowers

Sugarcoated edible flowers are a quick and easy way to add a little flair to many desserts and serving trays.  They need to be made in advance which is a real time-saver on party day.  Be sure your flowers are pesticide free and untreated with chemicals.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Teaspoons meringue powder
  • 2 Teaspoons water
  • 40 to 50 blossoms of your choice, such as rose petals, violas (Johnny-jump-ups), calendula petals (pot marigold) and dianthus. Remember that before using any flowers you need to verify that it is safe to eat.
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar……sugars can be colored to match the flowers by mixing in a little petal dusting powder.

In a small bowl dissolve meringue powder in water. Using a food safe paint brush lightly cover all sides of flowers to coat completely.  Sprinkle with superfine sugar.  Allow to dry on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet for 1 to 2 days.  Keep in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Use as a garnish for desserts.  Yield 40 to 50 candied flowers.

 

Royal Icing for Cookies

A thin coat of icing on a cookie will make a colorful foundation for decorating.  The royal icing will harden so cookies can be stacked or put in arrangements for cookie bouquets.

Recipe #1:

Mix: 6 Tablespoons of water and 3 Tablespoons of Meringue Powder

Slowly add:  4 cups Confectionery Sugar (1 Lb.) Optional: 1/2 Teaspoon     Cream of Tarter.

Beat all ingredients at low speed for 7-10 minutes until icing forms peaks or reaches desired consistency.

Recipe #2:

Purchase 1Lb. bag of Royal Icing Mix and add 5 Tablespoons water.  Mix 5-7 minutes until icing stands in peaks. Makes about 3 cups.

Notes:   Add 1/2 teaspoon of Glycerin for a “shiny” appearance.  May add flavoring as fresh squeezed lemon or vanilla flavoring (never a oil based flavor).

Royal Icing can be kept at room temperature for at least 1 week.  It must be kept covered and sealed as air exposure will dry out and harden the icing.

 

 

Chocolate-Caramel Pretzel Rods

Using one pound of caramel and one pound of chocolate you can make about 30-35 pretzel rods.

Slice caramel into pencil thin pieces and roll into a rope.  Attach to the top of a pretzel and spiral around letting the caramel stretch as you go down the pretzel.  Spiral about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way down the pretzel.  Set on parchment paper.  Do all desired pretzels in the same manor.

Melt chocolate in the microwave on defrost or 30% power for 30 seconds; make sure you stir for 1 minute between each heating. Continue microwaving (30 seconds) and stirring 1 minute until fully melted.

Pour melted chocolate into a tall glass and dip each pretzel with caramel into the melted chocolate to coat.  Option:  Hold pretzel over melted chocolate and ladle chocolate over the pretzel.  Let the chocolate drip off the pretzel until it stops dripping then place on parchment paper to set.

After doing 3-5 pretzels and before the chocolate has set add sprinkles.  Or you can drizzle with different colored melted chocolate.

When dry place into cello bags and tie with ribbon or use twisters.

High-Humitdity Buttercream

Cream together the following ingredients and whip until light.

  • 2 cups Sweetex (found at Sarah’s)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Butter Flavor
  • 3 Tblsp. Dream Whip
  • 1 Tblsp. Almond Flavor
  • 1 Tblsp. Vanilla

Add 1lb powdered sugar and 1/4 cup water and whip.  Add another 1 lb. box of powdered sugar and 1/4 cup water, whip until light.  Then cream on low speed until a very smooth consistency.

Note:  1/2 cup white oleo may be used in place of 1/2 cup of the Sweetex omitting butter flavoring.

Melting Chocolate Coating in Crock Pot

  • Use at least 5 lbs. of Chocolate Coating when melting with the crock pot method!  Any less will burn in your crock pot!!
  • Put 5 lbs. of Chocolate Coating in a crock pot at low heat until melted.  This should take about 1/2 hour.  Keep a close eye so it doesn’t overheat.  Stirring often will speed the melting process.
  • Once melted—Unplug cord from outlet.  A plugged in crock pot may still generate heat.
  • Chocolate Coatings should stay melted for about 1-1/2 hours before a slight re-melt.
  • You may also melt Peter’s Caramel (5 lb. block) in the crock pot following the same method as Chocolate Coating.

How to melt Chocolate Coatings

Microwave Method:
  • For 1 lb. of Confectionary Coating, place in a glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds on defrost; stir 1 minute.
  • Continue microwaving (30 seconds) and stirring (1 minute) intervals until the Confectionary Coatings are fully melted.
  • It is important to stir Coating a full minute at each interval.
  • When melted in the microwave, the Coatings will retain their wafer shape until stirred.
  • The heat from the bowl should be what is melting the Confectionary Coating. The first 30 seconds is basically just heating the bowl.

Double Boiler Method:

  • Heat water in the bottom of the double boiler just until steaming, do not let the water come to a boil.  You should always be able to touch the water without burning your hands.
  • Take pot off the stove and place a bowl or pot on top of the hot water with about 1 lb. of Confectionary Coating.  Stir until melted.
  • Do not leave on the hot water for more then 15 minutes, as it will overheat causing white streaks in your chocolate.
  • Chocolate should stay manageable for 30-45 minutes before needing to re-heat.

Things to remember:

  • Chocolate Coatings are oil-based, so never let water come in direct contact with them.
  • If you are adding flavors, they must be oil-based.  ( Sarah’s recommends Lorann Oils).  Remember most extracts are water based.
  • The working temperature of chocolate Coating is 90-92 degrees F.  If the coatings are too thick add a small amount of Paramont Crystal Flakes, (lecithin) until the right consistency. Usually just a pinch will be needed.
  • White and Colored Chocolates are more sensitive to heat then Milk or Dark Chocolate.

Storing Chocolate Coating:

  • Store in a cool, dry and odorless environment.
  • Do not place in refrigerator or freezer because condensation will develop when removed.  This will add water to the coating and they will become thick when melted.

Sarah’s Sugar Cookie Recipe

Cream together the following ingredients at medium speed:

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup Sweetex or Crisco (Sweetex is a better name brand of Crisco available at Sarah’s)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla flavor
  • 1 Tablespoon butter flavor

Mix the following dry ingredients and add gradually to mixture above.  Mix until blended

  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Variation:  Can add orange or lemon zest for added flavor. Chill 6 hours or overnight. ( This dough keeps for 2 weeks if wrapped well and refrigerated)  Bake cookies at 325-350 degrees until cookie looks slightly brown at edges.

Yields:  40 medium (3″) cookies – bake 8-12 minutes or 25 large (4″x1″) cookies – bake approximately 20 minutes.

HELPFUL HINT:  Roll dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper; cut cookies and place on parchment paper to bake.  As cookies bake, you can prepare a new sheet of cookies to make a “quick switch” as cookies are done.

 

Tiger Butter

  • 10 ounces of White Guittard Vanilla wafers
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 10 ounces Merckens Coco-Dark wafers

Melt the white wafers then add the peanut butter and stir until well blended.  Add melted dark chocolate and swirl with a knife to get a marbled effect.  Use a spoon to fill the mold cavities, tap the mold on the counter to remove bubbles then freeze mold for 5-10 minutes.  Chocolates will release when the mold is inverted.  Also, may make into a bark, pour out on parchment paper till hardened then break into pieces.