Handmade candy to decorate your cupcakes! and its REALLY easy! You can WOW your friends and family and best of all- you don't need any artistic talent to do it!! Wouldn't these look AMAZING for a little girl's birthday party? or a baby shower? or any occasion at all?
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DISCLAIMER The recipe I used has raw egg whites which has the potential for Salmonella food poisoning. The risk is small using proper food handling technicques (i.e. not allowing the egg white to mix with the exterior of the egg shell.) Here is a website with a lot of great information http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/EggPasturization.htm and it even talks about how to pasturize (kill bacteria) in egg whites. If you use raw egg whites its at your own risk!
But there is GOOD NEWS - there is an alternative reicpe that uses meringue powder instead of egg whites. I will post this alternative recipe at the end of this instructable. I didn't have any meringue powder so I opted for the egg whites :-)
Step 1: Gather Materials
You will need
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted (measure three cups first, then sift) HINT I used a fine mesh colander
mixer- NOTE the Kitchen Aid mixer shown is my Mother's, but I'm hoping to win my own!! (hint, hint)
air tight storage container
decorating bag with coupler and a #3 round tip
phone books (optional)
printed images to use as templates (optional)
food coloring, sprinkles, etc (optional)
cup of tea (optional, coffee or wine may be substituted where age appropriate)
Step 2: Mix Ingredients
Prepare the royal icing by first beating the egg whites and lemon juice until well mixed
Add the sifted powered sugar a cup at a time until its all added
Mix at medium speed until the right texture is acheived- some reicpes say mix 5-7 minutes but I usually mix mine for 2 minutes with good results. You will know you have the right texture when you stop mixing- if the surface of the icing immediately 'melts' into soup you need to beat it more, if the icing has little 3D valleys and hills than its perfect!!
If you want you can use food coloring to change the color of the icing. Spoon the icing into several small, airtight containers and dye each one a different color- keep the lids on so the icing doesn't start to dry out.
Step 3: Prepare Decorators Bag
Prepare the decorator's bag- the coupler fits INSIDE the bag, place the #3 tip on the outside of the bag snug with the coupler, place the collar of the coupler over the tip and tighten. Make sure its fairly snug so the tip doesn't come off in the middle of your project! Roll the edges of the bag down like you would roll your sleeves up.
Using the rubber spatula, spoon some of the royal white icing into the bag- DO NOT fill the bag the whole way to the top. Leave at least an inch and a half. Now fold in the two corners and roll the edge until you get to the icing. As you use the icing keep rolling the edge down- this will help you keep nice, steady pressure and makes less of a mess!
IMPORTANT Put the remainder of the white icing into the airtight container and store it in the fridge BEFORE you move on to the next step as it dries and gets crusty really quickly
Step 4: CREATE!! (The FUN Part!!)
Lay out sheets of waxed paper and go nuts!! Anything you can imagine! Butterflies are my favorite but flowers, stars, hearts, abstract squiggles- the sky is the limit!! If you want to add sprinkles or jimmy's do so while the icing is still wet. Allow the icing to dry a full 10-12 hours before trying to remove it from the waxed paper. This stuff dries in the bowl in minutes but takes forever to dry on waxed paper. (Go figure!) Here are some things to remember....
DO try to make lines a uniform thickness
DO use toothpicks to make minor touch ups as needed
DO leave the candies to set for 10-12 hours
DO NOT make images that are too large as they tend to break easier
DO NOT make images that are too elaborate as they also tend to break
DO NOT try to make lines that are too thin, believe me- the candy will be beautiful regardless!!
Step 5: No Artistic Talent? No Worries!
Go online and google "tribal butterfly" then click on the "Images" option.... getting inspired yet?? Print out some of your favorite images- nothing TOO complex or TOO big....
Tape a piece of waxed paper slightly larger than your image to your work surface and slide the image underneath. Ta-da! Instant template!! and the best part is you can pull the template out and slide it under another piece of waxed paper to make MORE!! Simply trace the image!!
Step 6: Making 3D Candies
Wondering what the phone books were for?? 3D art!!
Open the phone books to roughly the middle. Fold a piece of waxed paper so theres a nice crease running down the middle and line that crease up with the crease in the book. This is an excellent way to make 3D butterflies but use your imagination- a cup turned on its side will give you curved images or scrunch up some aluminum foil to make your own three-dimensional template (just make sure you cover it with waxed paper first!)
That last image shows my attempt to make curved icicles and lace just MOMENTS before I bumped the coffee can and it rolled off the counter- WHOOPS! but you get the idea...
Step 7: Removing the Candies From the Waxed Paper
This is, without a doubt, the most difficult part of the process! It takes a light touch and a steady hand to remove these delicate candies. You will probably break a few so start with your ugliest candies first!! DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE THE CANDIES UNTIL THEY ARE FULLY SET!! It takes 10-12 hours for these candies to set so be patient!! Its worth the wait!!
I like to CAREFULLY cut around each candy before I try to peel the waxed paper off- that way my hand doesn't slip and destroy a whole tray.
Lightly hold the waxed paper underneath the candy and SLOWLY peel the waxed paper back. Remember- the waxed paper is flexible, the candy is NOT. I try not to grasp the candy itself but with a featherlight touch you can.
Step 8: Just Add Cupcakes!!
Cupcakes, full sized cakes, sorbets, how about making these candies to decorate a plate or a table setting?? Planning a wedding? Make a template of the couple's initials and place a custom made candy at each place setting!! Once you start making these you won't want to stop!!
You can also use this icing on cookies but you should pipe it directly on the cookie because once it hardens it won't stick. Also makes a great gingerbread house 'glue.'
Step 9: Tips for Success
Practice making these candies at least once before your special occaison- they're very easy to make but better to practice!
Make lots of extra candies- you'll want to have plenty in case some break (and they WILL!)
Try not to move the pieces of waxed paper until the candies are fully set. If you think you will have to move them set the pieces of waxed paper on cookie sheets or books so they stay flat when you move them.
The royal icing can be made up to two weeks in advance- keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.
If you don't have a decorator's bag and tip/coupler- invest in one! You can try putting it in a ziplock baggie and snipping off the end but you will HATE both the process and the results.
If you are transporting these don't put the candies on the cupcakes until AFTER you reach your destination- they don't travel well once they're on the cupcake!
Don't hesitate to try new designs or techniques!! Push the limit and post your own instructable!!
Step 10: Egg White FREE Recipe
Royal icing using meringue powder (taken straight from the Joy of Baking website)
4 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon extract (vanilla, lemon, almond) recommended to improve the flavor of the meringue
1/2 - 3/4 cup warm water
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder until combined. Add the water and beat on medium to high speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form (5 to 7 minutes). If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more powdered sugar or water.
Read more: http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html#ixzz1GLpAQw8O