Hi! I'm taking a little break and it might take me a few days to reply to comments and emails. I'll be back soon! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quirky Fondant Pumpkins

Let's get something out of the way: fondant tastes like butt. It's not so much the flavor that is unpalatable, but the pasty texture from hell is hard to get down. But it looks so pretty! So I've been playing with fondant as a crafty hobby instead of using it as the culinary abomination that it is. It's fun! We basically get away with playing with Play-Doh and pass it off an adult activity. Do you like fondant? You can tell me if you do, I promise I won't think you're too weird.

Now that that's out of the way, let's have some fun with fun-dant! Sorry. I know I told you I wouldn't say fun-dant again. I promise I will stop trying to make fun-dant happen now. On with the cupcakes then!

Fondant Pumpkins

Aren't they cute? Except for the one in the back that looks like buttocks. That one's just wrong. This is the tutorial that I used as a guide. It's very easy to follow and you don't need any special tools, just a toothpick or a non-serrated knife and your fondant. You can also skip the curly vines and make jack-o'-lanterns by either using a food decorating pen or by dipping a brush in food coloring and painting on the spooky faces. 

That poor little guy is so scared he's actually signaling for Batman. As far as I can tell, both Wilton and AmeriColor food colorings seem to be vegan. As far as fondant goes, it looks like that both Wilton and Satin Ice are vegan. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong! I've been making my own fondant following this recipe and swapping the gelatin for agar. It's a good recipe if you intend to simply cover a whole cake with it, but I had to add some xanthan gum to use it to create shapes because it's not elastic enough. If you're interested, I will gladly share a veganized recipe as soon as I have all the ratios down to a science.

Next? Quirky fondant pumpkins inspired by the pumpkin patch in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Actually, they're not inspired by the pumpkins themselves but by the Spiral Hill!

Fondant Pumpkins

You like? The nice thing about these is that they're supposed to look scruffy and jagged, which is great for us who are not yet top-notch fondant masters. Here's a quick step-by-stepper:

Quirky Fondant Pumpkins Step-by-Step

Easy and fun! I had actually made a video showing you how to make them but my hands looked so dry and gross that I couldn't subject you to that horrific sight. You're welcome. These black and white pumpkins were the stars of my video tutorial, and they happen to be my favorite ones.

Black and White Fondant Pumpkins

Well, this is it for the Halloweegan posts this year. Are you going to any costume parties? This year I'm going as a couch potato. Except that I won't be going to any parties. It's just going to be me in my pj's being a couch potato. I hope everyone has a wonderfully spooky Halloween, whether you're going to a party or hiding out at home like me :)


Friday, October 24, 2014

Arachnophobia Cookies

Did you think I had forgotten about Halloweegan? How could I? It's kind of my thing! I had big plans for Halloweegan this year but life got in the way, and then something else got in the way that always keeps me from doing the things that I enjoy. Something to which, unfortunately, I know that many of you can relate. Depression. It's not something I've ever discussed publicly and it's fairly unlikely that I will ever mention it again after today. Unless I do. This post is not about my lifelong struggle with that burdensome beast though, I just thought I should very briefly explain why sometimes I disappear for long periods of time even when we're not traveling and I have plenty of time to blog. There, I said it publicly. Well, that was a bit liberating and also rather terrifying!

That was the most personal thing I've ever shared here since that time I reluctantly told you that I don't like pickles. Should we very awkwardly slide right off to the matter of the Halloween cookies? Yes, I think we're just going to fill the awkward silence with some screams from the arachnophobic crowd now.

Arachnophobia Cookies

Creepy crawlies! Honestly though, a grand total of three of my spiders actually look like spiders and the rest of them really look like dark brown crabs, don't they? Being covered in a swarm of crabs and three spiders does sound fairly scary too though, doesn't it? These are adapted from the Spider Infested Cookies that I blogged about last year, which were originally and brilliantly created by Beth of the Hungry Happenings blog. It just seemed natural to terrorize the poor gingerbread people with spiders because I do seem to enjoy torturing the poor dears. Remember the Man-Eating Burgers, the Spooky Dinner, and the Coffin Cake? And now I've unleashed a horde of spiders upon them. Just for fun. Because I am eeeeevil!

These are impossibly easy to make. All you need is a batch of your favorite cut-out cookies, chocolate chips, an extra handful of melted chocolate chips to draw the spiders' legs, and a simple icing of powdered sugar and water to draw the scared facial features. Here's a quick, slightly useful step-by-stepper:

Arachnophobia Cookies

* I used this Coconut Oil Shortbread for my cookies, but I used half regular sugar and half powdered sugar to keep them nice and tender (thanks for the powdered sugar tip, Mihl!)

* Instead of mixing the chocolate chips into the dough, I actually pressed them into the raw gingerdudes just before they went into the oven to create a "climbing up" pattern. The dough shouldn't be rolled out too thin or you won't be able to insert the chocolate chips all the way in. The coconut oil shortbread recipe yielded eight average-sized gingerbread men (or shortbread men) cookies.

* I used a toothpick to poke the fresh-out-of-the oven melted chocolate chips in a failed attempt to make them look furry, as pictured on the step-by-step thingie, but I'm not sure that was worth the effort. Don't bother with it if you don't think it would add any extra creepiness to your spiders.

* For the legs, I melted a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring in between each interval. Then I scooped the melted chocolate into a ziploc bag after it had cooled down for a couple of minutes, I cut off a tiny corner of the bag and used it as a piping bag to squeeze out the chocolate legs onto the cookies. My legs are too short and they look like crabs' legs! (Out of context that sounds strange!)

* If you've never made a simple powdered sugar icing before, all you need to do is mix about a half cup of powdered sugar with only a few drops of water until you end up with a pasty concoction. It should be fluid enough but not overly runny or your icing will not hold its shape when you pipe it onto the cookies. Then cut off a tiny bit of one the corners of a ziploc bag and scoop the icing into it. Now you can squeeze the icing out through the little hole in the corner of the bag and draw the shortbread men's facial features with it. You can use a drop or two of food coloring if you want to use different colors for the mouths and eyebrows. Or you can use carrot juice or beet juice or any sort of highly-pigmented fruit or vegetable juice to color your icing instead of using plain water. Or you can just leave it all white.

* My terrified cookies have a dot of melted chocolate chips on their eyeballs.

Just when these poor shortbread men think things could not get any worse, then you go and do this...

Arachnophobia Cookies

Ouch! Alrighty then, now I can say that I have contributed something to this year's Halloweegan festivities. What do you think? Are these arachnophobia cookies or are they really crabophobia cookies or whatever a fear of crabs is called? Either way, I hope you've enjoyed this spooky post!

There may be one more last-minute Halloween post coming up soon. It might involve fondant! Or should I say FUN-dant? No? Sorry. I'll never say that again.

Happy weekend! *POOF* (That was me disapparating.)