Marshmallow Fondant

I’ve never worked with fondant before because I’m not a fan of the taste, but when I saw this adorable puppy I knew I had to throw my hat into the fondant ring. I’ve heard from a lot of people that marshmallow fondant tasted much better so I decided to go with that.

There are a variety of recipes out there, but I found this one to be the easiest to work with and the taste was great. When the cake was left out in the room and finally served, the richness of the chocolate cake and soft and sweet marshmallow fondant made a great combination! The key things to making and working with marshmallow fondant are that you want to have shortening nearby, that will help grease the fondant and allow you to manipulate it. Once you have made the marshmallow fondant, you will want to allow it to rest because the fondant is too warm to work with and decorate with it right off. You can choose not to use the corn syrup, but it does give the fondant some flexibility.

I am so pleased with the way this Puppy Dog came out. This was the first time I’ve ever tried anything with fondant and it was a labor of love by several of us the night before my daughter’s birthday party. I wont work with it often because I love butter-cream and piping, but I’m sure when it comes to her birthday cakes there will be a lot more fondant in our future! What little child wouldn’t love this puppy cake? I originally saw the picture of this puppy, in shades of blues, on Pinterest and had to hunt down the author/cake designer to find the book. The author wrote me back from England and within a week I had her book in my hands! This puppy would be my daughter’s birthday cake! :)

Links to the cake and butter-cream I used are listed below.

Marshmallow Fondant

Ingredients

  • 16 oz mini-marshmallows
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp corn syrup (optional)
  • 1 tsp extract (optional) We used almond, but lemon and vanilla work well also
  • 2 lb powdered sugar

Yields 3 lbs fondant

Place the marshmallows into a large, microwave-safe bowl and add water. Microwave until the marshmallows have softened up. This will take about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on your microwave.

Using a paper towel and some shortening, rub this on a wooden or plastic spoon to allow for easier stirring.

Add corn syrup and extract. Most of the marshmallows should be dissolved at this point.  If you choose to color tint your fondant, you can go ahead and add your gel food coloring in now. This will save some time and muscle, rather than kneading it in!

Gradually, add the powdered sugar in to the marshmallow mixture. Continue stirring and adding the powdered sugar until you have used about 2/3 of the bag. Once it has become difficult to stir with a spoon stop adding the powdered sugar, you’re all set.

Carefully, as the mixture is very hot, place fondant onto a greased surface. Begin kneading the fondant and slowly add in more of the powdered sugar.  Once the fondant stops absorbing the powdered sugar, you can stop kneading. You may not need to use the entire amount of powdered sugar.

Using a small amount of shortening, grease the outside of the fondant and place in a resealable plastic bag. You can also wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Let the fondant rest in the refrigerator for several hours, although overnight is best.

Once you are ready to work with your fondant, make sure to grease your work surface and your hands with shortening. If your marshmallow fondant is too hard to roll out, put it in the microwave for a few seconds at a time until you can knead it. Make sure you only microwave it to the point that it has softened and do not melt the marshmallow fondant.

You can choose to knead in gel coloring at this point if you’d like, if you haven’t already done so before allowing it to rest.

Marshmallow fondant will keep for about a month if it is kept in an airtight container. If the fondant does not soften up in the microwave, it is no longer good.

Source: Cake Boss, Debbie Brown Cakes, Chocolate Cake, Easy Vanilla Butter cream

 

 

Pink Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

These cookies are pretty in pink and wont disappoint. They are refreshingly sweet with just the right amount of tartness. Normally, lemon and limes are the go to when baking with citrus, but don’t forget grapefruit. After having these, you’ll wont to find more recipes to incorporate them into! My mother-in-law brought some grapefruit back up with her when she went to Florida and I knew immediately that some would go towards making these cookies. I decided Easter would be the perfect time to try them out. A nice,light sweet treat after a heavy meal. Plus, they just look like a goodie I’d love to find in my Easter basket!

Pink Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

For the cookies:

  • 1 stick butter, at room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 large grapefruit, zested and juiced
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the filling:

  • 1 stick butter, at room temp
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp grapefruit zest, unpacked
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp grapefruit juice
  • 1 drop red food coloring, optional

Zest and juice the grapefruit. Reserve 1 unpacked tablespoon of zest for the filling and add the rest of the zest to the mixer bowl. Cream butter, zest, and sugar on high for 3 to 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Add the egg yolk and mix, scraping down the bowl of the mixer.

Whisk together the flours, salt, and baking powder. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl, followed by 1/4 cup of grapefruit juice, and then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing each addition until thoroughly combined.

Turn dough out onto plastic wrap and press into a 1-inch thick disk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Flour your work surface and divide the chilled dough into quarters. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thick and cut using a 2-inch round cutter. Repeat until all of the dough is used, you should get roughly 60 cookies.

Transfer to prepared baking sheets and bake in batches, 8-12 minutes, until puffy and the cookies are just barely beginning to brown around the edges. Let cool a few minutes on the pan and then transfer to a rack to cool complete.

To make the filling, cream the butter, powdered sugar, salt, and grapefruit zest on high 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tiniest drop of red food coloring and the grapefruit juice and mix for another minute.

Spread 2 tsp to 1 Tbsp of filling onto half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies. The browned bottoms of each cookie should be touching the frosting. Store in an airtight container in layers separated by wax paper.

Yields: 30 sandwich cookies

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride, Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Spinach Alfredo Pizza

Back when I lived at home my mom and I would head down to the Isle of Palms and Charleston to go shopping. One day, while looking for a place to eat lunch, we saw a man standing with a sandwich board advertising a pizza buffet for $2.99. Sure, that cheap lets give it a shot. What we found was CiCi’s Pizza. The buffet was extensive, the restaurant was clean, and you couldn’t beat that price. Here’s the thing. It was an hour and a half drive from us and we were addicted to the Spinach Alfredo Pizza. Growing up in NY, I had some great spinach pizza when I was young and this just trumped it. Mmm gooey Alfredo sauce!

Living in Maine, we don’t have CiCi’s and my husband hears me whine whenever we see a commercial. I’m not sure why it took me so long to hunt out a recipe. Usually, it’s my first instinct to copy something. When my mom and niece were visiting I decided to try this out since my husband would never eat spinach or Alfredo sauce! I popped the pizza in the oven and prayed that it tasted half as good as CiCi’s. After taking a bite I knew I had nailed it and then my niece commented that she thought it was better. We had some more the next day and it was just as good. Now, I crave that pizza and it’s only been a week! It’s going to be dangerous trying to convince myself that the spinach outweighs the Alfredo, but it’s just so good. What makes this recipe work is the Alfredo sauce. It’s a nice, mild sauce that doesn’t overwhelm like many white pizza sauces do. Go ahead, eat your spinach!

Spinach Alfredo Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1/2 package frozen spinach, thawed, water squeezed out
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 recipe Alfredo Sauce (below)
  • 1 pizza crust, unbaked

Lay the pizza crust out on a stone or flat baking sheet. Spread a thin layer of the Alfredo sauce on the dough, then top with as much spinach as you’d like. Finish off by sprinkling on the cheese and bake until the cheese is bubbling and just starting to brown, 12 – 15 minutes.

Secret Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 oz. grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the salt and pepper. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil, stirring. Once it boils, remove from heat and allow to rest until ready to make the pizza. When ready, add the Romano cheese, stirring until melted.

Source: The Mom Chef

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Sweet Fruit Dip

Most know I’m a big fan of dips, sweet or savory, it makes no difference. This is a light and refreshing dip, perfect for fruit, chocolate, and cookies. Serving it at the end of March, it brings to mind Spring and its arrival.

Sweet Fruit Dip

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Beat the first 4 ingredients at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add sugar, beating until creamy. Cover and chill at least  hour or up to 3 days. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Serve with cookies, berries, and chocolate.

Source: Southern Living, April 2008