Blogger has been down for a couple of days and I've lost some draft posts I was working on. I had intended to show you a few other things before letting you see my edible bouquet - but am not really in the mood for retyping stuff I've already done.
Still - I'm sitting on the sofa doing my blog post, looking out at an almost full moon with a big mug of tea and a candy fudge pop..... The house is in silence. Oliver is asleep and Steve is away camping. I've got the luxury of bed waiting for me upstairs when I finally decide to call it a day.
It's been a rather hectic week and I've not been in the office much as Oliver has been poorly.. I'm glad to report that he seems to be feeling a little better this afternoon. I've got everything crossed that he sleeps through the night. Almost every night this week, he's had fevers and been poorly which means no work or rest for me.
I'm trying to remember which day / night I started making this. It could have been Monday. At least, I think it was. I finished it on Thursday and sent it courier to my mum in Scotland. Thankfully, it arrived yesterday intact.
Since then, I've seen cake pops sprouting up EVERYWHERE. I think they look absolutely super - but I really really don't like the texture.
Recently, Ann @ AnncooJournal.blogspot.com made some cute looking cake pops and it made me want to try again. I knew I'd have to do something a little different though as the texture of cake pops literally makes them unedible for me.
First of all, I had a play last week with a 16 rabbit silicone bakeware mould and also a 15 rose mould. I made some chocolate hazelnut mini friands on sticks. Mega cute they were too and VERY yummy. Oliver liked them rather too much and they didn't last long enough to cover in candy melts.
I did try dipping the ones made in the 15 rose - but wanted a smoother, sleeker finish. I really liked the soap bouquet I came up with a year ago. Until a couple of weeks ago, I'd avoided Wilton Candy Melts - thinking they would taste like the really vile fake chocolate cake covering stuff you can buy in th supermarkets. Now that's what I call vile. Uggh.
Well, I had the opportunity to taste a Wilton Candy Melt and was truly surprised. It's pretty yummy stuff - tastes just like white chocolate - and comes in a super array of colours. It's easy to work with and sets much faster than chocolate.
Rather than make solid sweets, I decided to make up a batch of vanilla fudge. Truly sweet and tastes delicious.... but just to top it off - I'd cover it in the candy melts for that shiny pink finish..
First of all, melt some of the candy melts in your chosen colour. Put about a teaspoon into a cell in the 15 rose silicone chocolate mould. If you prefer, we also do a sunflower, flower and chrysanthemum version in the same size.
Use a paint brush and work it into the detail to prevent air bubbles. I'd normally do this but decided not to
faff about bother this time. The results after unloulding were not as good and left the finished item showing bubbles. Ooops... never mind.
Next step was to pack each candy shell with homemade fudge. I'd made the fudge the night before and it was ready waiting in the fridge. Recipe is below for convenience.
You will need a large, heavy based saucepan and a WELL buttered 8" square tin - or an 8" square silicone mould (unbuttered). It's also VERY important that you prepare your ingredients in advance for this recipe so everything is to hand. When you need them - there is NO time to spare !
3/4 cup of evaporated milk
2 cups of granulated sugar
200g white chocolate - chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract
Put the butter, evaporated milk, sugar and marshmallows into your saucepan. Melt together on a medium heat and bring to the boil - stirring constantly.
Set your timer - or check your watch. Keep at a boil for EXACTLY 5 minutes if you want a soft fudge leaves teeth marks as you bite in. This is how I prefer it.... However, if you prefer it crumbly, boil for 7 minutes. Don't worry about darker coloured flecks rising up. These disappear totally later. Just don't forget that you need to constantly stir as soon the ingredients are all melted
Take it off the heat and immediately add and beat in the chocolate and any dry additions. Quickly pour in to your square silicone tray mould or tin, scraping as much as you can fron the sides of the pan.
Leave to cool. I like to refrigerate overnight after cooling before cutting into squares.
I took pieces of fudge and softened in my hand, then packed it into the shells. I then inserted two cocktails sticks into each. This proved to be a pain when putting the final sealing coat of candy melts on, so I actually took them out again and then inserted straight after.
About a teaspoon of candy melts on top of each and wiggle the mould a little from side to side. The candy melts (or chocolate) will self level. Just do one or two at a time. This stuff hardens pretty quick.
They were a dawdle to remove from the moulds as you can see below.
To make the bouquet, you will need a polystyrene ball. The one I used was 4" diameter. I got a pack of them off Ebay a year ago before I made the soap bouquet and they worked out under £1 each back then.
As this was to be mounted on top of a tinplate watering can (£3.00 from ASDA). I used a serated bread knife to make a flat base on the ball.
Make sure you refridgerate these fudge pop thingys until they are good and hard. If you don't, the candy coating will break off as you try to push the sweets on to the ball. I wasted a few. Take say 3 or 4 out the fridge at a time and leave the rest in there as you work.
Use a clean kitchen towel to hold the sweets whilst you push them into the ball. Contact with your hands will melt the chocolate and they won't look good with finger prints :-P
Insert the sweets into the ball and cover it. Do about 1/3 to 1/2 the ball and put the ball back in the fridge for at least 30mins. When you turn the ball round to put the final sweets on, it's almost impossible not to put pressure on the rest. A few may break - so do have some spares. It's best to make sure the ones on the ball and cold and hard before you do this.
Once covered mine went in the fridge for a couple of days until I had to finish it in a mad rush to send to my mum. You see, I had a really silly accident and sprained my left wrist. Hell - it HURT for a good couple of days and I'll admit it was agony just trying to finish this. I couldn't have done it without the help of pain killers.
I did something really daft. Oliver was not as nursery as he was poorly. He had to come to work with me for a little while. Whilst we were there, he spotted a little scooter that I'd bought for him to take when we go up to Scotland at the end of the month. The steering is a bit weird. You put weight on the board to turn left or right. It's meant for kids a bit older, but he should manage.
Anyway, he wanted mummy to show him how... Here's this great heffalump on a toddlers scooter. The handlebars stopped at my knees. So I was scooting in the yard when the wheel jammed on a tiny stone.... que Heffalump goes fundamental over basic right over the handlbars. SPLAT. Geez it hurt !
I think I muttered many a curse in my head before regaining composure. Oliver (bless him) asked me what needed to be kissed better :-) I'd do it every day for Oliver kisses - they're few and far between !
I had the remains of a fake white rosebud bouquet in my stash. I snipped them off and inserted them in the spaces between the sweets. The polystyrene ball is much harder than oasis used for flowers, so I had to first of all make holes with a wooden skewer to be able to insert them.
That's actually all there is to it. The "ball" is just sat on top of the watering can. You could sit it on top of a nice vase if you prefer.
Makes a super sweet gift that any recipient will always remember. You could even make them for wedding table decorations that double up as favours !
That's it folks - it's 4am and I need some beauty sleep. Working these hours, no wonder I'm in need of a face lift ! I'll catch the blog up with some things I've missed very soon and next time I ride a kiddies scooter, I'll remember my crash helmet ....
Love to all,
Night Night x
Sarah-Jane Nash - http://www.siliconemoulds.com/ - the silicone bakeware cookshop